Uruguay marched into the Copa semi-finals with a 4-1 demolition of hosts Venezuela. Tonight, transformed, they looked a completely different team to the one that sneaked out of the weakest of the three groups scoring just one goal along the way.
The 14-times Copa champions dominated this game and imposed themselves on Venezuela from the start. They could have been several clear within half an hour after creating a host of chances nearly all missed by Diego Forlán. He made amends with a goal in the 38th minute, latching onto a Pablo Garcia free kick.
Venezuela equalised two minutes later to go in level at half-time, Arango blasting a free kick through a shabby Uruguayan wall. But the equaliser and half time was nothing more than a temporary reprive.
Uruguay retook the initiative in the second half and got their just reward when man of the match Pablo Garcia bent in a pearl of a goal from outside the box after some neat build up play. As coach Oscar Tabárez could clearly be seen screaming on the sideline, it was a golazo.
Venezuela tried to get forward but the tournament lost its host because while neat they lack any cutting edge in attack. Uruguay showed them how, adding two more late goals, Cristian Rodriguez scoring another beauty after picking up a pass in the box from Forlán who scored his second from a rebound right at the death.
Next up for Uruguay is the winner of Chile-v-Brazil neither of whom have shown enough yet to be able to feel too comfortable about facing a team that looks reborn after their pitiful showing in the group stages.
Tabárez deserves some credit for switching to three at the back and so dominating midfield with plenty of runners able to get forward and support the attack.
And there was something else different about them tonight. Uruguay played with passion. And as Garcia showed by lifting up his sleeve after his goal and pointing out to the camera his tattoo of Uruguayan independence hero José Artigas there was a huge amount of pride in this performance as well.
Uruguay are back.