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Uruguay hold edge in semis

sports Updated: Jul 19, 2011 00:17 IST

Highlight Story

A surprise appearance in a World Cup semifinal, now beating the hosts to reach the last four of the Copa America -- it just keeps getting better and better for Uruguay.

If a semi-final in South Africa last year was not enough, the Uruguayans came up with another sensational result on Saturday, beating Argentina on penalties to eliminate the heavily favoured hosts and longstanding rival.

The entire country will now be hoping that they overcome Peru in the semi-final on Tuesday to remain on course for their first Copa America title since 1995, when they won at home.

The two teams had played a 1-1 draw in the league phase and has had a contrasting journey to the final.

While Uruguay remained unbeaten, Peru lost to Chile 1-0 to make it to the knockout stage as one of the third best teams.

Their progress to the semis in Copa 2011 is symptomatic of their fortunes in the Continental competition thus far.

Uruguay have been the dominant force having won 14 titles, Peru have won the crown twice, in 1939 and 1975.

However, Tuesday will be a new day with both teams hoping to progress to the final and add a new chapter in their rivalry. Spearheaded by star forwards Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, Uruguay advanced to the quarterfinals after finishing second to Chile in Group C.

It drew Peru 1-1 in its opener, than drew Chile by the same score and beat Mexico 1-0.

They stunned hosts Argentina in penalties on Saturday, playing with a man down for nearly an entire

half after Diego Perez was red-carded in the 39th minute. Argentina captain Javier Mascherano was red carded near the end of regulation time to level the numbers.

Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was the key man in frustrating a star-studded Argentina forward pack that included Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.

He made several difficult saves throughout the match to keep Uruguay in the match until the end. He is expected to play a crucial role on Tuesday.

Uruguay looks the favourite to reach the semi-finals thanks to their superior firepower. But stranger things have happened in this Copa America.