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Former Uruguay forward and coach Cubilla dies at 72

Oct 2, 2012
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Former Uruguay forward Luis Cubilla, who played in three World Cups for his country and as a coach won the Libertadores Cup twice with Paraguay's Olimpia, has died at the age of 72.

The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) confirmed on its website (www.auf.org.uy) that Cubilla, one of the country's most successful and influential players, had died of stomach cancer in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion where he lived.

As a player, Cubilla took part in the 1962, 1970 and 1974 World Cups, with his side reaching the semi-finals on the second occasion before losing 3-1 to Brazil

He was memorably involved in Uruguay's last-gasp extra-time winner against the Soviet Union in a 1970 World Cup quarter-final, tenaciously winning a ball the Soviets thought was going out of play to set up Victor Esparrago for the only goal.

Cubilla played for both Uruguay's major clubs, Penarol and Nacional, winning four domestic championship titles with each, plus one more in the twilight of his career with rank outsiders Defensor Sporting.

He also played for Spain's Barcelona for two seasons, winning the Copa del Rey, and River Plate in Argentina.

As a coach, he was well travelled and worked in Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala as well as his homeland.

He had five stints with Olimpia, winning the Libertadores Cup at the first attempt in 1979, the first time a club from outside Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay had won the competition.

He led them to the title again in 1990, midway through his third spell at the club. No other club from Paraguay have ever won the competition, which is South America's equivalent of the European Cup.

Altogether, he coached Olimpia for a total of 15 years, winning eight Paraguayan championship titles.

His major disappointment as a coach was with the Uruguay national team, which he led at the 1991 and 1993 Copa America tournaments.

Results were uninspiring and he quit before the 1994 World Cup qualifiers.