Uruguay won the Copa America for a record 15th time after beating Paraguay 3-0 on Sunday from two goals by Diego Forlan and another from Luis Suarez.
Suarez scored in the 12th minute while Forlan hit the target in the 42nd and final minute of the match.
"We played as a group," said Suarez, who was selected as the best player of the tournament. "I think when groups are united like this, everyone together and going for the same thing, you can get things done."
The victory gives Uruguay its first Copa America title since 1995. The small country of 3.5 million also reached the World Cup semifinals a year ago, surpassing the performance of continental powerhouses Brazil and Argentina.
"This is not the most important thing in the world, but it is very important for the Uruguayans," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. "It allows us to be united."
Argentina and Brazil were upset again in the quarterfinals of this tournament. Uruguay ousted Argentina on penalties and Paraguay eliminated Brazil, also in a shootout.
Argentina has won the title 14 times, Brazil eight. Brazil had won four of the past five titles.
"Before coming to the match I was already thinking that I wanted to dedicate (the victory) to all the players and coaches who had won the other 14," Tabarez said.
Uruguay was the clear favorite going into the final, wrapping up a tournament filled with surprises.
Not only had Brazil and Argentina been sent home early, but Venezuela reached the third-place match on Saturday before losing 4-1 to Peru. Those two countries have been the weakest in the region in recent years, but they suddenly look formidable going into the regional World Cup qualifying later this year.
Uruguay's squad featured 20 of the 23 players it took to the World Cup a year ago, showing teamwork and unselfish play with none of the vast star power of Argentina or Brazil.
"The important thing was getting started well," said Suarez, who had four goals - one fewer than Peru's Paolo Guerrero. "With two goals in the first half, I think it was very difficult for them to come back."
Suarez gave Uruguay the lead in a match it dominated in the opening minutes. Receiving a pass in the area, the Liverpool forward beat defender Dario Veron to score from a deflected left-footed shot that went in off the far post behind 'keeper Justo Villar.
Uruguay could have even led in the second minute, when Villar stopped Diego Lugano's point-blank header.
Forlan, who was voted the best player at last year's World Cup, made it 2-0 by lashing a left-footed shot from 12 meters (yards) that left Villar flat-footed. He was set up after teammate Egidio Arevalo Rios had stolen the ball from a Paraguay player near the midfield.
The Atletico Madrid striker had not scored in his 12 previous matches for the national team.
Sebastian Eguren almost made it 3-0 in the 74th, foiled when Villar stuck out his left arm with the ball headed for the net.
Forlan notched the final goal in the 90th, taking a pass from Suarez and scoring into the far corner.
"This has been a lot of work, going back many years," Forlan said. "It's been a job of doing things well and it's yielded results."
Paraguay defender Paulo Da Silva added: "Uruguay won fairly and played better. Uruguay is a beautiful champion."
Paraguay, which seldom threatened, play without injured forward Roque Santa Cruz and winger Aureliano Torres. Paraguay Coach Gerardo Martino and top assistant Jorge Pautasso were suspended from the match after being sent off for repeatedly arguing with the referee in Wednesday's victory over Venezuela.
Martino, an Argentine, is seen as a leading contender to take over Argentina's national team. The Argentine federation was to meet Monday and decide on the future of coach Sergio Batista, who is reported to be on the way out.
"More than anything, I think it was decided in the first half when Uruguay had more intensity than we did," Martino said. "In a game like this, Uruguay had the edge in most areas."
Paraguay won Copa America titles in 1979 and 1953 and reached the second round at the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA President Joseph Blatter and CONMEBOL head Nicolas Leoz, the leader of the South American confederation, were booed and jeered when they were introduced at 50,000-seat Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.