BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- One figure has dominated this Copa America. The shadow of Sergio Markarian, the balding, bespectacled Peru coach who had such an influence on the philosophy of the sides who finished first, second and third, lurked in the background, but the man of the tournament was the tall, grey-haired figure with the limp who calmly wandered around shaking hands and exchanging hugs at fulltime in the final, as his players cavorted in one great mass of celebration.
On Tuesday night, Oscar Washington Tabarez limped across the pitch in La Plata and paused, his knee injury apparently making him wary of progressing too far on the sodden, uneven surface. He looked at his celebrating players as though determined to soak in the spectacle and as they slowly broke off to trot in to the dressing-room, each made a point of going over to him. Tabarez's second coming as national coach has already been glorious, but on Sunday it might get even better.
When Fenerbahce last featured on these pages last June after celebrating their centenary by winning a record 17th Turkish title, it was suggested that the next goal facing the Istanbul club would be to establish itself as a serious challenger for European honors.