Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez pointed to history as evidence his reigning champions will again be contenders at the Copa America.
Tabarez led Uruguay to the title at the 2011 Copa America – the country’s 15th – while he has previously taken his nation to the last four in 1989 and 2007.
The 68-year-old reckons that his record, plus Uruguay’s historical dominance at the Copa America, means the title-holders deserve respect in Chile.
“Concerning the statistics, I tell you it will be my fourth Copa America and I always played semi-finals and two finals, one time I got a win, and the other one I lost,” Tabarez said on Friday.
“But, this is history, it is something that happened.
“It could be a historical trend. This one is Copa America number 44.
“Thirty-seven out of those 44 were won by three countries [Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil]. So, obviously that’s not something to take into account to the recent performances or current realities, but it should have some value.”
Uruguay sit just ahead of Argentina (14 titles) in the all-time Copa America standings, while Brazil (8) are third.
But while Tabarez is confident of Uruguay’s chances ahead of their tournament opener against Jamaica on Saturday, the veteran coach insists the South American championships will be tight this year.
Tabarez used the hosts’ 2-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday as an example.
“I think Chile won well. They had a plan. I believe they created more goal opportunities, but they found an opponent, who worked very well and stopped them,” he said.
“Their [Ecuador’s] defence did well, especially both centre-backs, so that means that every team improved, not only the favourite ones. Like Ecuador that I believe can give a lot more in this Copa. And we’ll see the rest of the games, but probably they will be of the same trend.”
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