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Copa America: Brazil And Argentina Are Eliminated

If you weren’t watching the U.S. women’s national team lose to Japan, chances are you were watching the Copa America quarterfinal match between Brazil and Paraguay (we streamed this match while we watched the Women’s World Cup on television). Or, if you’re like the rest of the American population, you didn’t watch either, which is a shame because the South American tournament saw some seriously surprising upsets over the weekend.

Saturday saw Argentina, the tournament’s host and one of its favorite, lose to Uruguay. Was it really that much of a surprise, though? If you read Grantland–more specifically, Chris Ryan’s recent piece in which he claims that Messi & Co. were back in full form– then this match was a bonafide upset. If, however, you’ve been following the tournament, then La albiceleste‘s shootout loss is yet another example of how the team never really found their rhythm. During the group stage, they tied at 1-1 with Bolivia, got a 0-0 draw against Colombia (who were eliminated by Peru), and won 3-0 against an U-22 Costa Rican squad. So, no, their quarterfinal loss to Uruguay wasn’t that big of a shocker.

What did come as somewhat of a surprise was Brazil’s Sunday loss to Paraguay. Brazil, much like their longtime rivals Argentina, started off their Copa America with two lackluster ties (0-0 against Venezuela, and 2-2 against Paraguay) but got their act together in the final match to beat Ecuador 4-2 and emerge atop of Group B.

Of course, that last win didn’t matter against Paraguay. Despite having Pato, Neymar, Ganso, and a bazillion other great athletes on their roster, the Seleção weren’t able to muster a single goal on 16 shots (8 on target). Paraguay was even quieter on the offensive front, only shooting the ball four times, and being on the mark once. None of that matter for Paraguay, however. Goalkeeper Justo Villar stood his ground for 120+ minutes of play (8 saves), and he stood his ground during the penalty shootout (blocking one of Brazil’s three misses). The Samba Boys missed not one, not two, but three of their penalty kicks, advancing the Guaranis to the semifinals.

Elsewhere, Peru eliminated Group A winner Colombia with a 2-0 victory, and the historically bad Venezuela shocked Chile 2-1. For this last match, we have a feeling that Hugo Sanchez‘s words served as extra motivation for the vinotinto and that the former Mexican superstar/current Univision commentator is eating crow.

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