CONMEBOL: Shock eliminations ensure open championship
The Copa America is defying all expectations as tournament hosts Argentina and defending champions Brazil both went out at the quarter-final stage this weekend. Even when one takes into consideration Venezuela’s progress to their first ever semi-final and Peru’s extra-time triumph over Colombia it is fair to say that this year’s tournament is one of the most open ever staged.
As reported yesterday Uruguay defeated Argentina on penalties, a fate which was to befall the Brazilian national team on Sunday night after they failed to score past a defensively determined Paraguay. Despite numerous chances to score in 120 minutes Brazil just couldn’t find a way past keeper Justo Villar who performed heroics in what must have been one of the games of his life. The ensuing penalty shootout saw Brazil fail to convert any of their kicks, a fact which the Brazilians blamed on a poorly laid penalty spot. Paraguay scored two of their three attempts to seal their first semi-final place for 28 years. The final quarter-final saw Venezuela’s wonderful adventure continue with a 2-1 win over Chile in the only one of the last eight matches to be decided in the regular ninety minutes. Goals from Oswaldo Vizcarrondo and Gabriel Cichero saw the Vinotinto secure their best ever Copa America performance. Their previous best came in their maiden tournament in which they finished fifth in 1967.
The semi-finals will see Uruguay play Peru tomorrow night in La Plata with the other game between Paraguay and Venezuela playing on Wednesday in Mendoza