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Copa America Roundup: Brazil Fall to Paraguay

AFP Photo

Copa America keeps on delivering some great soccer, and was full of nail biting drama in the quarterfinals. The host nation Chile is through to the semifinal after a late winner by Mauricio Isla. Peru took care of business against Bolivia. Argentina needed penalties to dispatch of Colombia, and Paraguay pulled off the upset when knocking out Brazil on penalties.

Chile was looking to be the first hosts to get past the quarterfinal stage since Colombia in 2001. They played a tight and heated game against Uruguay on Wednesday, but managed to grab a late 1-0 victory. Mauricio Isla scored the winner in the 82nd minute for the Chileans.

Chile dominated possession and had over 70 percent of the ball throughout the game, combined with seven shots on goal. Uruguay didn’t have much to come with in the attacking half, and things got even worse when Edinson Cavani got sent off in the 63rd minute.

Cavani received his second yellow after hitting a Chilean player in the face, but there’s no doubt that the Chilean player “helped” in making sure that Cavani would get a second card. The incident happened after the Chilean players grabbed Cavani on his buttocks.

Isla became the hero of the night when he scored late in the second half. Isla got the ball just inside the penalty area after a bad clearance by the Uruguayan goalie, and smashed a low shot into the back of the net.

Peru had the easiest opposition on paper of all the quarterfinals as they went up against Bolivia on Thursday. The Bolivians had done a great job just in reaching the quarterfinals, but Peru was clearly the better team in this one.

Paolo Guerrero had a magical night, scoring a hat trick. The 31-year-old Flamengo striker scored in the 20th, 23rd and 74th minute. Jefferson Farfan had a shot that went off the crossbar, so the lead was only 2-0 at halftime.

Guerrero added his third of the night before Marcelo Moreno pulled one back for Bolivia in the 84th minute from the penalty spot. Peru will go up against Chile in the semifinals, and that will be a real test for the team as the Chileans will have a massive support in the stands.

Argentina dominated the game against Colombia on Friday, but they were unable to convert the major ball possession into scoring opportunities and goals. Out of Argentina’s 10 shots, only three of them hit the net. Colombia meanwhile, only managed one shot on goal during the game.

But that mattered little, as Colombia kept Argentina at bay for 90 minutes and took the game to penalties. The penalty shootout ended 5-4 in Argentina’s favor as they move onto the semifinals where they will take on Paraguay.

Carlos Tevez came on for Sergio Aguero in the second half, and he was the one who scored the final penalty for Argentina. Tevez is heading back to Argentina and Boca Juniors after playing nine years in Europe and representing clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus.

Paraguay and Brazil met up in the last quarterfinal on Saturday. Brazil didn’t impress during the group stage, but still managed to win their group. The big talking point when it comes to Brazil has been Neymar’s sending off against Colombia in the second group game and the four-game suspension he was handed by the South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL).

Without Neymar in the lineup, the Brazilians have struggled and it could very well be the reason why they didn’t made it past Paraguay, and was sent home after a penalty shootout.

Robinho gave Brazil the lead in the 15th minute. The 31-year-old Santos striker was paired up with soon-to-be Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino in a awkward looking 4-2-2-2 formation. Paraguay showed great determination throughout the game and it paid off in the 72nd minute as they were awarded a penalty.

Derlis Gonzalez converted from the penalty spot, and it must have been quite the magical moment for the 21-year-old midfielder.

After the penalty shootout, Paraguay were the winners 4-3, after a couple of bad misses from the Brazilians. Paraguay will now go up against the big favorite in Argentina.

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