Venezuela

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Josef Martinez scores two more in win, including sensational solo work

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Josef Martinez scored his 25th and 26th goals of the MLS season, and if he challenges his MLS record of 31, he may also stare down soccer royalty.

The Venezuelan striker scored two more on Wednesday in a 2-0 defeat of FC Cincinnati in Ohio to give him goals in 15-straight league contests.

He now has 76 goals in 80 MLS games, which is good.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

On the season, he’s six goals shy of matching the Major League Soccer record he set with last season’s 31 regular season goals.

According to MLSSoccer.com, he’s six games shy of tying Lionel Messi’s world record for consecutive league matches with a goal.

Even that’s a little tricky: Messi scored in 21-straight games in which he was eligible for selection, but 19-straight before missing two matches for injury. In that remarkable run of 21, he also had a run of six-straight braces.

It’s not really worth it to attempt to compare the two streaks: If Martinez gets to 21 (or even 19), it’s amazing stuff and worth celebrating on a worldwide level. Everyone has a bad game every now and again, but Martinez still finds the score sheet in ’em.

Look at the magician’s tricks he used for this one, including a back heel first touch and two freeze-frame cut moves. That’s not even mentioning the finish.

Copa America roundup: Chile wins in penalties; Argentina will meet Brazil

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Another day, another round of penalty kicks in the Copa America in Brazil.

Chile won the 2015 and 2016 versions of the tournament, beating Argentina in penalties both times, and kept the possibility of three-match open for July.

Colombia 0-0 (4-5 pens) Chile

A handball denied Chile a goal in regulation, and it sat 0-0 in regulation.

Club Leon’s William Tesillo’s fifth round effort was the first miss of the shootout, and Alexis Sanchez rolled in the ensuing kick to keep the champs alive.

Chile gets the winner of Uruguay and Peru, who kickoff at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Venezuela 0-2 Argentina

Lionel Messi admits he hasn’t been in top form during this Copa America, but Argentina is now two wins from helping him lift his first true international prize.

“It has not been my best Copa America,” Messi said, according to AS. “The pitches are really very difficult. They’re not conducive to good football. They’re in bad condition.”

Lautaro Martinez scored a clever redirection and Spurs target Giovani Lo Celso also bagged one as La Albiceleste set up a meeting with Brazil in the semifinals.

Watch Live: Venezuela v. Argentina, Copa America quarterfinals

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Venezuela and Argentina do battle at the Maracana on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET online via Telemundo Deportes) for a place in the Copa America semifinals.

[ STREAM: Venezuela v. Argentina on Telemundo Deportes ]

Lionel Messi and La Albiceleste have hardly hit top form so far in the competition, but snuck through to the last eight where they face a solid Venezuela side led by Salomon Rondon up front.

Whichever teams wins will face hosts Brazil in the semis in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Can Messi go one step closer to winning the first-ever trophy of his international career? Or will it all end in tears for Argentina once again?

Remember: You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBCSports App. All you have to do is click on the link above.

Copa America: Brazil destroys Peru to join Chile, Colombia in QF (video)

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A roundup of Saturday’s action from the final round of Group A play at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil…

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Norway tops Australia on PKs | Germany reaches QF ]

Peru 0-5 Brazil

Brazil put five goals — from five different goalscorers — past a helpless Peru side in Saturday’s Group A finale to emphatically seal their place in the quarterfinals, alongside fellow South American powers Colombia and Chile.

Following a hiccup in game no. 2 — a scoreless draw with a quickly rising Venezuela side — Brazil restored a bit of order with a thoroughly dominant performance rom the opening whistle.

Casemiro made it 1-0 in the 12th minute, followed quickly by Roberto Firmino in the 19th and Everton in the 32nd. Dani Alves continued regular service in the second half and made it 4-0 in the 52nd. The fifth and final goal came from Willian in the 90th minute.

As the winners of Group A, with seven points, Brazil will face one of the third-place teams in the quarterfinals before a potential rematch with Venezuela — or a showdown with Argentina, should they advance — in the semifinals.

Bolivia 1-3 Venezuela

Venezuela secured a second-place finish in Group A and booked their place in the knockout rounds with a comfortable victory over Bolivia to round out group play.

Darwin Machis bagged Venezuela’s first two goals (2nd and 55th minutes) before Leonel Justiniano pulled one back for Bolivia in the 82nd. Atlanta United star Josef Martinez restored the two-goal advantage just five minutes later.

Sunday’s Copa America schedule

Group B

Qatar v. Argentina — 3 p.m. ET
Colombia v. Paraguay — 3 p.m. ET

Watch Live: Copa America — Group A finales

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
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Group A finishes its Copa America run in Brazil on Saturday with the hosts aiming to get the draw or win to keep them in the catbird seat for the knockout rounds.

[ LIVE: Watch every single Copa America game ]

Brazil and Peru both have four points leading into the meeting, but the hosts have a one-goal lead in differential. The first place team in Group A avoids the Groups B and C winners until a potential final.

Venezuela can still win the group if Brazil and Peru draw and it beats Bolivia by more than three goals.

Bolivia can advance via third place, but it needs to beat Venezuela.

You can watch every single game from the tournament live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBC Sports App. All you have to do is click on the links below.

2019 Copa America schedule

Group A: Bolivia v. Venezuela – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Group A: Brazil v. Peru – 3 p.m. ET – STREAM LIVE