Paraguay thrashes Brazil in Copa America quarterfinals
Concepcion: Paraguay defeated Brazil 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Copa America, handing the five-time world champions yet another disappointment a year after the humiliating World Cup elimination at home.
Midfielder Everton Ribeiro and striker Douglas Costa each missed penalties for Brazil, and Derlis Gonzalez converted the winning spot-kick for Paraguay, setting up a match against Argentina on Tuesday. Chile will face Peru on Monday in the other semifinal.
It was the second consecutive time that Paraguay eliminated Brazil on penalties in the quarterfinals of the South American tournament. It went on to lose the 2011 final to Uruguay.
While Paraguay will try to reach the final for the second straight time, Brazil will go home still yet to achieve a success that would help bury the memory of the humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany at its home World Cup last year. The Copa America was the first official competition for Brazil since.
"Nobody believed in us but we showed that we are more united than ever and we want more," Gonzalez said.
Brazil opened the scoring with a goal by veteran striker Robinho in the 15th and maintained the lead until the 72nd minute when Gonzalez converted a penalty awarded for handball by defender Thiago Silva.
In the shootout, Ribeiro missed his penalty wide right, and Costa sent his shot over the crossbar. Veteran Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz had the chance to end the contest but also fired his shot high, before Gonzalez sealed victory at the second opportunity.
Without the suspended Neymar, Brazil again struggled to create scoring opportunities. It controlled possession but had difficulties getting close to the Paraguayan area during most of the match. Paraguay wasn't able to threaten much, although it had a few good chances on set pieces and counterattacks, especially in the second half.
"Unfortunately we didn't play as well in the second half and ended conceding a goal in a silly mistake," Robinho said.
Paraguay's equalizer came after Silva touched the ball with his hand while jumping to clear a cross into the area, prompting the penalty that Gonzalez converted with a firm right-footed shot into the lower right corner of Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson.
Robinho had put Brazil on the board with a right-footed shot from close range after a low pass across the area by Daniel Alves.Robinho was substituted near the end and was not available to participate in the shootout. He was replaced by Ribeiro, who missed one of Brazil's penalties.
Coach Dunga said Robinho was tired, but the veteran striker said he "wanted to stay in the match" for the shootout.Dunga put some of the blame of Brazil's loss on a viral infection that affected many of the Brazilian players during the week and "limited the team's training."
Paraguay had already come close to equalizing with a firm header by Paulo da Silva off a corner in the 61st, forcing a difficult save by Jefferson. The Brazilian goalkeeper also had to work hard in the 81st to stop a cross shot by Gonzalez.