Copa America: Edinson Cavani cracks Chile code
Uruguay star Edinson Cavani scores winner and praises team's attitude in overcoming champions Chile
Rio de Janeiro: Uruguay demonstrated a winning attitude and mentality in their 1-0 Copa America success over Chile on Monday that gave them top spot in Group C, match-winner Edinson Cavani said.
Uruguay began the game in second place in their pool behind the reigning champions and facing a daunting potential quarter-final tie with Colombia, the only side to go through the group stage with three wins.
But Cavani's header eight minutes from time from Jonathan Rodriguez's cross propelled Uruguay above Chile and into, what looks on paper at least, an easier last eight challenge against Peru.
"In some moments, we played well, in other moments less well, but always with the [right] attitude and mentality we were able to snatch the game," said Cavani, 32, who scored his 48th goal for his country.
But the Paris Saint-Germain forward insisted thoughts of a potentially easier quarter-final draw played no role in Uruguay's approach.
"We wanted to win the group without knowing what would come next, to show a good image in the group and continue with this attitude," he said following the match at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana Stadium.
Captain Diego Godin said this win "is important for confidence, to rediscover the feelings after Japan" in which they were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw.
Veteran coach Oscar Tabarez admitted there was little between the two sides. "It was a keenly contested match with few spaces. We managed a little bit better than our opponents," he said.
Tabarez happy to rest
More so than avoiding Colombia, Tabarez was most pleased that Uruguay will get an extra day of rest ahead of their quarter-final, against a Peru side that has had two extra days to recover from their pool efforts, on Saturday in Salvador.
Chile will face Colombia the day before in Sao Paulo. "One extra day of rest is useful, it's important, because we're on the limit," said Tabarez.
Paraguay in quarters as Ecuador hold Japan
Rio de Janeiro: Japan and Ecuador were left heartbroken as their 1-1 draw in Belo Horizonte on Monday saw them miss out on the Copa America quarter-finals, with Paraguay qualifying instead. Japan and Ecuador faced a must-win match in their bid to reach the knock-out stages as one of the two best third-placed finishers. Peru had already secured their spot from Group A while Paraguay, in Group B. Shoya Nakajima gave Japan the lead on 15 minutes with a goal validated by VAR, but 10 minutes from half time, Angel Mena equalized for Ecuador. It meant Japan missed out on goal difference while Ecuador came up a point short. Paraguay will play hosts Brazil in the first quarter-final on Thursday in Porto Alegre.
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