Brazil out in the quarters as Paraguay progress on penalties

Brazil are eliminated from the Copa América at the quarter-final stage after losing 3-2 on penalties to Paraguay following a 1-1 draw.

Paraguay celebrate

Derlis González scored an equalising penalty in normal time and scored the winning goal in the shootout to lead the 2011 runners up to the semi-finals for just the third time in 26 years.

Brazil failed to make amends for their crushing World Cup heartbreak last summer as they drop out the competition – at the same stage, against the same opposition and in the same manner as four years previous – and now question marks loom over Dunga’s managerial longevity after just 13 games in charge.

Brazil looked on course to meet fellow South American heavyweights Argentina in the next round when experienced forward Robinho, brought into the side following Neymar’s suspension, scored inside 15 minutes.

The former Real Madrid forward begun the move before finishing Dani Alves’ low cross at the far post on his 99th appearance for his country. It was his first goal for his country in over five years, when he also netted against the same opponents.

Interestingly, Robinho’s strike was Brazil’s only touch made in the opposition half in the first 45 minutes.

Robinho goal brazil paraguay

Robinho netted with Brazil’s only touch in the opposition box in the first half

The last-eight clash lacked rhythm following that early goal and both sides were happy to re-group following the interval, whereby Paraguay returned the keener of the two sides to create openings.

Pablo Aguilar twice went close with headers from corners and Gonzalez saw his acute shot well parried by Jefferson as the second period progressed and eventually their sustained pressure found reward. A looping ball into the box was unnecessarily swatted away by Brazil captain Thiago Silva and the referee boldly pointed to the penalty spot.

It was a clear turning point in the match and a confident decision against the most successful South America footballing nation. Replays showed the PSG skipper’s body was turned away from the ball as it struck his outstretched arm but the decision was a correct one.

21-year-old Gonzalez, with whom so much of Paraguay’s future national hopes lie, looked bright all game and confidently stepped up to strike his spot-kick into the bottom corner and away from the Seleção number one.

Paraguay Gonzalez

Gonzalez would later net the winner in the shootout

With twenty minutes to play, La Albirroja looked the more likely of the two sides to snatch a second goal and the ever-pessimistic Brazil boss Dunga was even forced to introduce defensive playmaker Everton Ribeiro to shore up the midfield in the final minutes.

And the Al-Ahli man was the first to blink from the spot as he struck his effort wide. Paraguay netted with all three attempts and after Douglas Costa blazed over the bar, it was left to captain Roque Santa Cruz to seal his countries place in the next round.

However, the former Blackburn Rovers attacker was unable to capitalise and t was left to his apprentice Gonzalez to crash hope the decisive spot-kick and send Paraguay through to the final four.

Tragic news followed the full-time whistle with Gonzalez’s 44-year-uncle suffering a fatal heart attack celebrating his nephew’s winning penalty and national team boss Ramón Díaz must now have an honest chat with his young attacker over his mental state ahead of the semi-final clash with Argentina.

Brazil lose penalty Paraguay

Different year, same result. Brazil are out after penalties with Paraguay.

Following Brazil’s disappointing quarter-final exit, real questions will be asked of head coach Dunga, who confessed 15 of his players had suffered from a virus in the build up to the clash. After 13 games in charge, Dunga’s second stint has already hit a serious wobble.

The Seleção are dull to watch, lack invention and harness too much responsibility on the shoulders of Neymar. Without their star player, Brazil lacked any threat in the final third and they exit the competition having failed to banish their World Cup blues. Paraguay go on to play pre-tournament favourites Argentina in the second semi-final.

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