Tabarez: 2014 qualifiers tougher than Copa

BUENOS AIRES - Winning the Copa America is wonderful but gives no guarantees of success in the World Cup qualifiers, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said after his team's record triumph on Sunday.

Uruguay confirmed their status as South America's best team with their 3-0 victory over Paraguay in the Copa America final after reaching the last four in the 2010 World Cup.

"This is very gratifying, very nice, but a qualifying series is something else because it's not played at one venue, where presumably the only ones with an advantage are the home team," Tabarez said.

"To have won the Copa America has no bearing on the qualifiers, it's no guarantee," he told a news conference at River Plate's Monumental stadium where a crowd of 55,000 watched his team win the final.

The South American qualifiers, a nine-nation, 18-round series spanning two years, are just around the corner, kicking off in October.

Uruguay, twice world champions in the first half of the last century, have struggled over the years to qualify for the finals but Tabarez, in charge for five years, has built a team that has put Uruguay back among the leading football nations.

"We have to have faith in our things, we prepared for the [Copa America], we did it well," said Tabarez.

"We went improving our form during the competition. The studies we did showed us that against Argentina we were in very good form," he said of the victory on penalties against the hosts in the quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.

"Today, perhaps we weren't quite as good as in that match but we were good enough to play a final the way we did," the 64-year-old said.

"What the scientific studies say is a reflection of our preparations and we'll follow the same course [for the qualifiers].

"In the qualifiers there are distances [to travel], climate factors, all those things that come into play and on top of that in each country there is a national feeling fans convert into a desire to reach the World Cup and that makes it, for me, much more competitive than a Copa America."

Tabarez said winning the trophy for a record 15th time was a boost to the team's confidence but they would keep their feet on the ground and not believe it would improve their World Cup chances.

"There's no comparison with coming to play in Argentina or matches at the Centenario [in Montevideo]... we're not going to say [to rivals] look, we won the Copa America."