Lucas Barrios

FOLLOW LIVE — Copa America: Brazil vs. Paraguay for the last semifinal spot

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Argentina is already through to the semifinals, where they’ll face the winner of Saturday’s fourth and final 2015 Copa America quarterfinal matchup, between Brazil and Paraguay.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Copa America coverage ]

The two sides will face off in Concepcion, Chile, where they’ll be gunning for their 30th and 22nd South American Championship/Copa America semifinals appearance all time, respectively.

Brazil are still without Neymar, whose four-game suspension following Brazil’s second group stage game will see him play no further part in this tournament. In his absence, Thiago Silva and Liverpool new boy Roberto Firmino stepped up and scored a goal each in a 2-1 group stage victory over Venezuela. A victory over Peru and defeat to Colombia began Brazil’s group stage adventure.

Brazil vs. Paraguay — 5:30 pm ET — FOLLOW LIVE 

Meanwhile, Paraguay have relied heavily upon Lucas Barrios (two goals) and Roque Santa Cruz, who is still yet to bag his first goal of the tournament. Paraguay advanced from Group B as runners-up to Argentina, with whom they drew 2-2 in their first game, before beating Jamaica and drawing Uruguay in their group stage finale.

Uruguay 1-1 Paraguay: Draw sees both sides through to Copa America quarterfinals

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The 2015 Copa America quarterfinal round will include both Paraguay and Uruguay as second- (likely) and third-place finishers in Group B, respectively, when it kicks off this Wednesday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s Copa America coverage ]

Thanks to the two sides’ 1-1 draw in their final game of the group stage, Paraguay can finish no lower than second in the group (Argentina face last-place Jamaica later on Saturday and a win would secure top spot in the group), while Uruguay can finish no lower than second among the three third-place finishers during the group stage.

Jose Gimenez put Uruguay into the lead with just under half an hour on the clock, when the 20-year-old Atletico Madrid center back rose above the crowd and headed home Carlos Sanchez’s corner kick in the 29th minute.

Set pieces giveth, and set pieces taketh away — that’s what Uruguay learned less than 15 minutes later, when Lucas Barrios equalized for Paraguay through a powerful header of his own, sending Edgar Benitez’s corner kick into the back of the net.

[ MORE: Brazil to appeal Neymar’s 4-game suspension | Chile 5-0 Bolivia | Mexico 1-2 Ecuador ]

If Paraguay finish second in Group B, a quarterfinal date with the winners of Group C (perhaps Colombia or Brazil?) looms on the horizon, while Uruguay would face Chile if Argentina finish atop Group B, no matter whether they finish first or second among third-place finishers.

Argentina 2-2 Paraguay: Aguero, Messi goals canceled out in Copa America opener

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And that’s why they play all 90 minutes.

Following a dominant 45 minutes to open their quest for 2015 Copa America glory, Argentina blew a 2-0 lead — first-half goals scored by Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi — and drew Paraguay, heavy underdogs coming into the two sides’ Group B opener, 2-2.


Aguero opened the scoring in the 29th minute, when he jumped all over a wayward Paraguayan back-pass, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home from a tight angle to put La Albiceleste ahead.

The Argentine lead was doubled just seven minutes later, when Angel di Maria was taken down just inside the edge of Paraguay’s penalty area. Up stepped Messi, who slotted the ensuing penalty kick just inside the post and just out of reach of Anyony Silva.

[ RELATED: Ranking the top 20 superstars on show at the 2015 Copa America ]

The comeback began right on the hour mark, as Nelson Valdez unleashed a thunderbolt from more than 25 yards out. Valdez’s blast swerved and dipped much of way to goal, where it dipped under the crossbar at the last possible moment and found the back of the net. It stands as the goal of the tournament so far.

Paraguay continued to press and create chances as the game reached the latter stages, and finally, in the 90th minute, they were rewarded for the endeavors. Nestor Ortigoza sent a long free kick into the Argentine penalty area, where Paulo da Silva head the ball back toward the top of the box for a late-arriving Lucas Barrios, who hammered a first-time effort low and inside the near post for the Paraguayan equalizer.

As things currently stand, Uruguay sit atop Group B thanks to their narrow victory over Jamaica earlier on Saturday, while Argentina and Paraguay sit behind them, level on a point a piece. Argentina face the Reggae Boyz on Tuesday, while Uruguay have a date with Paraguay.