Old masters, South American sensations
© AFP

The fall-out from the Copa America dominates FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, with mixed fortunes for Diego Forlan and Sergio Batista catching the eye along with the feats of veterans Alexsandar Duric and Rivaldo, youngster Ralf Faehrmann, and the ending of Corinthians’ long unbeaten run.

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years, 11 months and 11 days was the age at which Aleksandar Duric struck a decisive double in Singapore’s 5-3 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win over Malaysia on Saturday. The veteran striker, who competed in kayaking for Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country of his birth, at the 1992 Olympics, has represented Singapore for the past four years, having established himself as the most prolific striker in the history of the S-League. Even now, as his 41st birthday approaches, Duric is joint-top of the division’s scoring chart, having contributed 18 goals to the league-leading Tampine Rovers’ title charge. The evergreen frontman, who has now scored six times in nine FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances, can also reflect with pride on maintaining his adopted country’s historical edge on their oldest rivals, with Singapore now boasting 22 wins to Malaysia’s 20 in the countries’ 58 meetings.

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goals for Uruguay, the two most recent of which came in Sunday’s Copa America final, have established Diego Forlan as his country’s joint-record goalscorer. The 32-year-old’s brace took him alongside Hector Scarone - a star of the first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1930 - and was crucial to securing a record 15th South American title for Uruguay, and their first in 16 years. The Atletico Madrid striker also became his country's leading appearance holder - with 82 - during the competition. Forlan endured a difficult campaign at club level last season but made a spectacular return to form in Argentina, registering more shots (24) and setting up more (22) than anyone else at the tournament. Three generations of the Forlan family have now tasted success in the Copa America, with Diego following in the footsteps of his father, who won it as a player, and his grandfather, who triumphed as a coach. Uruguay, who are now unbeaten in their last eight matches, succeeded in moving beyond Argentina’s tally of 14 Copa Americas despite boasting the competition’s lowest pass completion average (68.5 per cent). However, their triumph did follow a historical pattern, with each of La Celeste’s previous five continental conquests - 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987 and 1995 - having come in the year directly following a FIFA World Cup. As for Paraguay, who advanced to the final despite failing to win a single match, their long wait for a victory in the knockout rounds continues, with 22 years having now passed since La Albirroja’s last success in the competition’s latter stages.

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matches was all that Sergio Batista oversaw during his brief reign as Argentina coach. Not since Vladislao Cap, who took charge of ten during 1974, has an Albiceleste coach enjoyed such a short-lived tenure, with Batista removed from his post just eight months after being appointed on a permanent basis. Argentina’s poor showing on home soil at the Copa America sealed the fate of the 48-year-old, who departed having won just 48 per cent of his matches at the helm.

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months and 11 days after their last Brasileiro loss, Corinthians finally succumbed to a top flight defeat on Sunday. Cruzeiro were the team to end O Timão’s long unbeaten run, with Wallyson’s solitary goal - his fourth in three appearances - inflicting the Sao Paulo outfit’s first reverse since 13 October 2010. Corinthians, who had previously survived 18 successive Brasileiro matches without defeat, had also been protecting a seven-match winning streak, and were within one more of equalling the record – held, ironically, by Cruzeiro – since the league adopted its current format in 2003. The all-time record is held by Guarani, who racked up 12 straight victories between 1978 and ’79. Also in the Brazilian headlines this week was Rivaldo, who – 95 days after celebrating his 39th birthday – became the week’s oldest goalscorer with a fine header in Sao Paulo’s 2-2 draw with Goianense.

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shutout and 2 saves in the resulting penalty shoot-out saw Schalke debutant Ralf Faehrmann emerge as the hero of Sunday’s German Super Cup final. The 22-year-old, whose previous spell in Gelsenkirchen was spent in the shadow of Manuel Neuer, returned to the club from Eintracht Frankfurt during the summer following Neuer’s €18 million move to Bayern Munich. And far from being overawed by the task of replacing Germany’s No1, Faehrmann excelled, thwarting Borussia Dortmund to end the champions’ 100 per cent record in this competition – and secure Schalke’s first-ever Super Cup success.