Down goes Brazil! Down goes Brazil!
Dunga’s Brazil side, severely weakened without captain and talisman Neymar for the rest of the tournament, were knocked out of the 2015 Copa America in the quarterfinal round by Paraguay. Following 90 minutes that ended with the sides level at 1-1, La Albirroja advanced to the semifinals after five rounds of penalty kicks.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Copa America coverage ]
It wasn’t all bad for Brazil, who went ahead early on, when Robinho opened the scoring in the 15th minute. The former Real Madrid and AC Milan man hammered home the right-sided cross of Dani Alves which made its way all the way through the box and found Robinho at the back post. Roberto Firmino had a chance to control the ball at the near post, but wisely opted for the dummy and let the ball run on for Robinho.
Paraguay were undeterred, though, as Ramon Diaz’s side happily chased the game in which Brazil were content with meaningless possession and showed little interest in venturing forward in search of a second goal.
In the 72nd minute, Paraguay’s equalizer arrived in the form of Derlis Gonzalez’s converted penalty kick after Thiago Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball inside his own penalty area.
As is the case in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of Copa America, the game went straight to a penalty shootout after the 90 minutes ended with the two sides level at 1-1.
[ QF RESULTS: Argentina 0-0 (5-4 PKs) Colombia | Chile 1-0 Uruguay | Peru 3-1 Bolivia ]
Fernandinho converted Brazil’s first attempt, which was followed by Osvaldo Martinez’s successful spot kick for Paraguay. Brazil’s Everton Ribeiro was the first to miss when he pulled his penalty attempt wide of the right post. Victor Caceres converted Paraguay’s second attempt to give the underdogs a 2-1 lead in the shootout.
Miranda converted Brazil’s third attempt, briefly bring his side level at 2-2, until Raul Bodabilla hammered one into the upper-90 to reclaim Paraguay’s lead at 3-2. Douglas Costa was next up for Brazil, and the Shakhtar Donetsk attacker skied his well over the crossbar. With a chance to clinch Paraguay’s place in the semifinals, Roque Santa Cruz skied his well over the crossbar as well. Still 3-2, Paraguay.
Philippe Coutinho stepped up and converted on Brazil’s fifth attempt, keeping his side alive and hopeful. Gonzalez stepped up to the spot for his second penalty of the game, and the 21-year-old Basel man showed all kinds of composure in converting his spot kick and sending Paraguay into the semifinals, where they’ll face Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and the rest of Argentina’s star-studded squad.