Saturday, July 13, 2024

Uruguay 0-0 Brazil (4-2 pens): Selecao crash out of Copa America on spot-kicks

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jul 2024

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Brazil were dumped out of the Copa America by 10-man Uruguay, who survived Nahitan Nandez’s red card to win on penalties after a bad-tempered, goalless quarter-final.

Marcelo Bielsa’s team played the final 16 minutes a man down after Nandez was dismissed for a reckless lunge on Rodrygo, but with star winger Vinicius Junior suspended, Brazil were unable to find a winner and were made to pay in the shoot-out.

Sergio Rochet saved from Eder Militao before Douglas Luiz struck the post, and though Jose Gimenez squandered Uruguay’s first chance to win it, Manuel Ugarte made no mistake with their next attempt.

They will now face Colombia in the last four after James Rodriguez inspired Los Cafeteros to a 5-0 rout of Panama, while Brazil’s wait for a 10th Copa title goes on.

Brazil struggled to match Uruguay’s intensity early on and survived a couple of close calls. Darwin Nunez saw a header hit Militao and drop just wide of the left-hand post before Mathias Olivera powered over the crossbar from the resulting corner.

The Selecao’s first opening came just before the half-hour mark as Endrick intercepted a loose back pass from Matias Vina before finding Raphinha, who was just unable to get his shot off.

Uruguay lost Ronald Araujo to a hamstring injury 33 minutes in, and though the game became littered with fouls, both sides carved out chances before the interval.

Nunez should have done better when he headed Nandez’s glorious right-wing cross over, then Raphinha twice shot straight at Rochet after scampering in behind.

Federico Valverde fired over after the break as the blood-and-thunder nature of the game continued. Referee Dario Herrera repeatedly dipped into his pocket as the challenges became ever more rugged, and with 74 minutes played, he brandished a red card.

Originally booked for catching Rodrygo in full flight with his studs high on his opponent’s ankle, Nandez was given his marching orders following a VAR review.

Penalties were Uruguay’s goal from then on as they sacrificed Nunez for an extra defensive body and sat deep, and they got over the line as Endrick sent a tame effort straight at Rochet, making it three of four Copa quarter-finals to go to a shoot-out this year.

While Uruguay’s first three kicks were perfect, Rochet got down to palm Militao’s effort away and Luiz struck the left post, putting La Celeste on the brink.

Captain Gimenez was denied by a fine stop by Alisson, but Ugarte kept his nerve to blast his kick home and win the tie.

Uruguay battle through

Alongside the vibrant atmospheres and silky skills on display at the Copa America, the tournament is often characterised by a little rough and tumble.

That was certainly the case on Saturday, with Uruguay’s 26 fouls committed the highest figure recorded by any team at this year’s tournament, the previous high being 20 (by three teams).

Endrick and Rodrygo were bullied out of the contest, even failing to make their mark after Nandez’s terrible challenge on the latter gave the Selecao a one-man advantage.

While Uruguay have won plaudits for their free-flowing approach under Bielsa at this tournament, it was their old grit that got them over the line on Saturday, with South America’s great overachievers punching above their weight once again.

Penalty pain for toothless Brazil

Penalties were Brazil’s nemesis at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as they were stunned by Croatia at the quarter-final stage, and it was a similar story here.

It was their failings in regulation time, however, that cost them.

After Nandez’s 74th-minute dismissal, Brazil only managed two shots of any description. The first came from the free-kick that resulted from Nandez’s foul, and the second was a tame 20-yard attempt from Endrick.

Endrick, remarkably, played the full 90 minutes and only completed one pass, from kick-off.

In total, the two teams managed just 21 touches in the opposing penalty areas, the joint-fewest in any game at this tournament, alongside Costa Rica versus Paraguay.

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