Some kind of divine intervention played a hand in Copa America 2011, as it presented fans world over with four shockers and a strange record that former Champions Brazil would never be proud of. Against all odds, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru and Paraguay sailed to the semi-finals – a ‘Betters’ Delight’ indeed!

Falcao doesn’t do any justice to his International Price-Tag!

Columbia 0 – Peru 2 (Carlos Lobaton 101’, Juan Manuel Vargas 111’)

In the first of the upsets, super-star Radamel Falcao’s Columbia lined up against “relative” minnows, Peru. With so much of talking doing the rounds in the International transfer market, Falcao could have handed his side a 1-0 lead if he hadn’t squandered a penalty on the half-hour mark. Both teams had their share of chances before the referee blew the whistle for 90 mins, stuck at stale-mate till then! It was the 101st minute when the deadlock was broken. A free-kick led to a complete misunderstanding in the box when the keeper collided with team-mate Mario Yepes and Carlos Lobaton not letting the opportunity to go by, sent a scorcher to the top corner of the net. Yet another mistake from the Columbian keeper, a flimsy clearance which led to Peru’s second goal in the 111th minute, Juan Manuel Vargas calmly providing the finishing touches to elevate Peru’s stature in American football, for the time being.

Catch the goals here.

Juan Vargas - Applying the finishing touches!

 

Messi – Not the best player on the planet after-all!

Argentina 1 (Higuain 17’) – 1 Uruguay (Diego Perez 5’) (Pens: 4-5)

Both the teams managed to open the scoring quite early in the first half at the Estadio Brigadier Estanislao Lopez. Sergio Romero did manage to keep out Caceres’ header from a Diego Forlan free-kick but he failed to hold onto Diego Perez’ rebound. Barcelona and Real Madrid combined as a fantastic cross from World Footballer of the Year, Lionel Messi, found striker Gonzalo Higuain, the latter finishing it to make the score-line 1-1. Just before half-time, Uruguay dealt a huge blow as goal-scorer Perez got his marching orders thanks to his two bookable offenses. Both the teams had their chances in the second half, most dangerous being Liverpool’s Luiz Suarez, being a constant goal-threat.

Just before the end of the second half, Javier Mascherano did his opponents a huge favor by earning a red to make it 10 on 10 in the final 20 minutes. The extra-time was a cautious affair for both teams, which also saw Lionel Messi getting a golden chance to put his team ahead. It would be the dreaded penalty-shootout again that would decide the second finalist. Messi, Burdisso, Pastore, Higuain all kept their cool for Argentina while Forlan, Suarez, Scotti, Gargano and Caceres played their part in keeping Uruguay still in the run. It would be Man-of-the-Match Muslera’s save off Carlos Tevez’ penalty that would decide the winners of the night!

Catch all the goals here.

Muslera - Another great showing at an International tournament!

 

Gone are the days of Salas and Zamorano!

Chile 1 (Humberto Suazo 69’) – 2 Venezuela (Oswaldo Vizcarrondo 34’, Gabriel Cichero 80’)

San Juan was the host to underdogs Venezuela and former South-American show-stopper Chile. So far, goal-keeper of the tournament, Venezuela’s Renny Vega continued his good form as made a few saves to keep his team in the tournament. In the 34th minute, it was Center-Back Vizcarrondo’s neat header off a Juan Arango free-kick that gave Venezuela the lead. Barcelona target Alexis Sanchez had his chances but he failed to give his side the all-important equalizer. Though, he made a mark in the 69th minute as a cut-back from the Udinese player saw Suazo free, who scored the all-important equalizer. So far unbeaten in the tournament, Venezuela scored again; this time Arango’s free-kick found Cichero on the rebound. This was Venezuela’s best showing in a Copa since they started playing in 1963.

Catch all the goals here.

Arango - Dead-Ball Specialist does the trick!

 

Mother of all Upsets – Bring on Larissa already!

Brazil 0 – 0 Paraguay (Pens: 0 – 2)

The perennial giants of world football, Brazil took on Paraguay, with an eye on the semi-final berth. It was to be a match of flair and flamboyance from the Brazilians with no end-result. Flag-bearers of the future of Brazilian football, Pato and Neymar, both got their chances to shine, but failed to give Mano Menezes’ Selecao the much-needed lead. With a bit of drama in the extra-time resulting in the dismissal of Lucas and Alcarez from either sides and a lot of determination from Paraguay to keep off the Brazilians, the match ended up in the third penalty-shootout of the Quarter-Finals. The next 10 minutes was the most horrifying chapter in the history of Samba Football – The Brazilians somehow managed to miss all their spot-kicks, with Elano, Thiago Silva, Santos and Fred being the culprits. The Paraguayans had to score just two to make a place for them in the semi-finals of the Copa.

Catch all the goals here.

Elano - Worst Spot-Kick in the history of the game?

Best Keeper of the QF

– Nestor Muslera (Uruguay)

Best Defender of the QF

– Cesar Da Silva (Paraguay)

Best Midfielder of the QF

– Juan Arango (Venezuela)

Best Striker of the QF

– Forlan (Uruguay), Lobatan (Peru)

Team of the Quarter-Final

Nestor Muslera Micol , Zanetti , Thiago Silva, Cesar Da Silva, Cesar Gonzales, Moreno, Juan Arango [CAP], Juan Vargas, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Forlan, Carlos Lobatan


Team of the QF (3-5-2)

Semi-Final Line-Up

20-07-2011: Peru v Uruguay

21-07-2011: Paraguay v Venezuela