Five-time World Cup champions and defending Copa America champions Brazil crashed out of the tournament Sunday in a stunning loss to Paraguay in penalties. While the result was jarring for a team expected to vie with the host nation of Argentina for the title, the manner in which they went out was even more shocking.
Brazil missed all four of its penalty shots — with opposing goalkeeper Justo Villar only saving one — and Paraguay advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1983 to fill out a surprising foursome that also includes Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay.
ESPN’s commentators diagnosed a problem with the penalty spot, and you’ll see nearly ever player examining the shoddy turf beneath his feet after skying the ball over the crossbar and pushing it wide. “It hasn’t been a master class of penalties, it has to be said.”
No, it certainly has not.
Despite playing with 10 men from the 39th minute on — including extra time — plucky Uruguay took Argentina to penalties on Saturday and prevailed 5-4 in the shootout.
Venezuela reached its first semifinal with a 2-1 victory over Chile Sunday while Peru knocked off Colombia 2-0 in extra time on Saturday.
The upsets mean that for only the second time since 1987, the tournament final will not include Argentina or Brazil — two teams with a combined 22 Copa America titles between them .
But hey, look on the bright side, Samba boys and La Albiceleste... at least it wasn’t the World Cup final.