Reigning champion Brazil booked a place in the quarterfinals of the Copa America, the South American championship, with a 2-1 victory over Mexico yesterday in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

The match may not have been as one-sided as Brazil's opening 7-0 victory over Venezuela, but Brazil's play was clearly superior to that of Mexico.

The pairing up front of Italy-based Ronaldo and Amoroso was inspired. It was Parma's Amoroso who raced to receive a pass from the Inter Milan man to put the Brazilians in front after 19 minutes, beating Mexico's flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos.

Meanwhile, Mexico's attack of Luis Hernandez and Cuahtemoc Blanco could not trouble the Brazilian defense.

It was emerging talent Alex, who plays for Palmeiras, who made it 2-0 for the favorites when he unleashed a ferocious shot from 25 yards in first-half extra time.

Mexico, who is competing as a specially invited guest alongside Japan, made a better show in the second period.

Substitute Isaac Terrazas, who replaced Paulo Cesar Chavez at halftime, put Mexico on the board in the 73rd minute to make it 2-1. But Brazil held on for the victory over its Central American counterparts, booking its quarterfinal place with a group match with Chile still to come.

CHILE 3, VENEZUELA 0: Ivan Zamorano and Jose Luis Sierra scored in the fourth and 21st minutes, leading Chile to victory in a game in which it was outplayed by the Venezuelans. It was Zamorano's first international goal in more than a year. Edson Torterolo added an own-goal in the 70th minute. Chile has three points, tying Mexico in Group B. Brazil leads with six points. With this win, Chile kept hope alive to advance to the quarterfinals.