Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said experience and stability were the key factors behind his side's run to the Copa America final after Los Charruas saw off Peru 2-0 in Tuesday's semi.
Although the Uruguayans started the tournament in unspectacular fashion with group stage draws against the Peruvians and Chile, they began to fire up with a win over Mexico before a penalty shootout success over hosts Argentina. The River Plate battle against Argentina was a huge psychological boost as both sides had gone into the event with 14 Copa titles, and now Tabarez's men can secure a record 15th if they see off either Venezuela or Paraguay on Sunday.
Tuesday's win over Peru - with both goals coming from Luis Suarez - was Uruguay's first at the Copa in 28 years and Tabarez was delighted to have ended the run. "We had to draw on all our experience. The group have known each other a long time," said Tabarez, who has been in the job almost six years - by far his longest coaching post after a string of mainly short-term club appointments.
We are very very happy to be in the final - but Sunday is still a long way away. We will need to maintain our organisation and discipline.
"We are very very happy to be in the final - but Sunday is still a long way away. We will need to maintain our organisation and discipline," said Tabarez, who added it was vital to have a strong element of continuity through from the younger teams up to the senior squad. "Lads have to study, learn about football and being competitive," he told reporters.
Of his possible opponents, Tabarez saluted Venezuela for bringing a breath of fresh air to the tournament with their surprising run. "What they have done is historic and very well deserved. Paraguay, meanwhile, have their historic style which is always difficult to play against."
While Tavarez provides continuity in the dugout, Diego Forlan provides it on the pitch and won his 81st cap having broken his country's appearance record against Argentina with an authoritative showing. However, the Atletico Madrid man stressed there was still a lot to do to win the cup, despite being favourites after Brazil and Argentina's flop. "People will make us the favourites - but we know we have a difficult task ahead," insisted the 32-year-old.
Midfielder Alvaro Pereira also warned that over-confidence could be as big a problem as their opponents come the final. "This is an important win, but we must keep our feet on the ground," Pereira said.
Peru's Uruguayan coach Sergio Markarian congratulated his compatriots. "We have to accept that it's the end of our adventure. But we go out with our heads held high. I was pleased with my team. We have shown we are competitive. It hurts to lose but we must congratulate Uruguay."