Samba boys tumble
South America's football hierarchy was hit by an Andean tremor as Venezuela stunned Chile 2-1 and Paraguay shocked holders Brazil by eliminating them from the Copa America on Sunday. Talking points | Quoteshootsports Updated: Jul 19, 2011 01:31 IST
South America's football hierarchy was hit by an Andean tremor as Venezuela stunned Chile 2-1 and Paraguay shocked holders Brazil by eliminating them from the Copa America on Sunday.
"It's a historic achievement but our players aren't satisfied with that, they want more, above all because we said we would beat Chile," Venezuela coach Cesar Farias told reporters.
The semi-finals were left devoid of South America's big two, Brazil and Argentina, who had meet in the two previous finals both won by the Brazilians, and also Colombia, who had emerged as title contenders until they were upset by Peru on Saturday.
The semi-final line-up has Uruguay, on course for a record 15th title, facing Peru in La Plata on Tuesday and Paraguay against Venezuela in Mendoza.
Peru have been one of the weaker teams in the region for decades, while Venezuela had never been this far before.
Brazil, who drew 2-2 with Paraguay in the group phase, dominated their quarter-final in La Plata from start to finish.
But the Brazilians, who scored six goals altogether, failed to put away their many chances while Paraguay clung on with dogged defence and a brilliant performance from goalkeeper and captain Justo Villar.
Brazil fluffed their lines badly in the shootout with three penalty misses and one saved by Villar, while Paraguay did enough converting two of the three they needed to take to go through.
It would be great to be able to say we planned it like that but all we can say today is there was a lot of sacrifice, heart, a good percentage from the goalkeeper and lots of luck."
Neymar and Alexandre Pato, who scored two apiece in the 4-2 win over Ecuador, missed chances and Villar saved from defenders Maicon and Lucio and playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso.
Brazil's Lucas Leiva and Antolin Alcaraz of Paraguay were sent off for fighting near the end of extra time.
In San Juan, where Chile enjoyed virtual home advantage just across the Andean border from home, centre back Oswaldo Vizcarrondo put Venezuela ahead with a header from a Juan Arango free kick.
First Published: Jul 19, 2011 00:11 IST