Monday, July 9, 2007

Goal fest at the Copa America

The 2007 CONMEBOL Copa America quarter-finals produced an avalanche of 22 goals this weekend in Venezuela.
Much fancied Argentina's comprehensive 4-0 dismissal of Peru in Barquisimeto was the lowest-scoring of the ties. Attacking ace Juan Riquelme notched a pair of goals while Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano added to the second half blue and white windfall.
The prize for Argentina is a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Mexico, the revelation of the tournament. Their semi-final is a chance for the Central Americans to bounce back after the USA pipped them 2-1 to win June's CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as an opportunity to extract revenge from Argentina for eliminating them by the odd goal at last summer's World Cup in Germany.
Holders Brazil were the first to be hit by the Mexican wave when they went down 0-2 to the CONCACAF guests in their opening game.
Los tricolores then maintained their rich vein of form with a 2-1 win over Ecuador and a 0-0 draw with Chile, before blasting Paraguay away 6-0 in Maturin on Saturday, with Olimpiakos' Nery Castillo registering his third and fourth goals of the tournament.
Brazil also made it to the last four by thumping Chile 6-1 in Puerto la Cruz, with Robinho's sixth goal of the tournament taking him to within two of Pele's record eight strikes in 1959.
In the semi-finals, the sele├žao will face a resurgent Uruguay, who having scraped into the last eight after scoring only one goal in their group games, coolly dispatched the hosts Venezuela 4-1 in San Cristobal, with Diego Forlan bagging a brace.
Beyond the successes, a big disappointment were World Cup stars Ecuador, who lost all three of their group games, as did the second-string USA team.
Bolivia also missed the quarter-final cut after two draws and a loss, while Colombia's revival remains on hold after they failed to make it out of their group and were thrashed 5-0 by Paraguay, who themselves would succumb so heavily to Mexico.

COPA AMERICA SEMI-FINALS

URUGUAY v BRAZIL 10th July, Maracaibo

MEXICO v ARGENTINA 11th July, Puerto Ordaz

The 3rd place play-off takes place on the 14th of July in Caracas with the final a day later in Maracaibo.

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(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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