Brazil’s quest for a ninth Copa América title was brought to an end in the quarter-final after they suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Paraguay in Concepción, Chile.
Despite missing their talismanic captain and striker Neymar, Brazil began the match on the front foot and took the lead after 15 minute mark with a well-executed move involving Dani Alves and new Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino.
Firmino attacked Alves’ near post cross but rather than going for goal himself allowed the ball to drift to the back post where Robinho, rejuvenated in Neymar’s absence, was on hand to slot into the net.
Rather than pressing on with their advantage, Brazil were largely frustrated by Paraguay, who were determined to reach the half-time whistle with the match remaining in the balance and they nearly levelled with a long range strike from veteran centre forward Roque Santa Cruz just missing the target.
They started the second the more assertive of the two teams with Paulo da Silva’s header forcing Brazil’s goalkeeper Jefferson into a smart save, but eventually the Paraguay pressure told and Jefferson saw his goal breached.
A looping cross towards Santa Cruz was handled by Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva inside the penalty area and from the resulting penalty Derlis González restored parity by finishing confidently.
Following a goalless two periods of extra-time, penalties were required to separate the two teams for the second straight Copa America quarter-final, with Paraguay triumphing in the 2011 edition of the tournament.
History would be repeated as Brazil were not able to show the composure of their arch-rivals Argentina, who had beaten Colombia on penalties yesterday, with Everton Riberio and Douglas Costa missing their efforts from 12 yards.
They were given respite momentarily as Santa Cruz blazed his penalty over the crossbar, but any hopes of a Brazil comeback were extinguished by Gonzalez, who scored his second penalty of the evening to ensure his side progressed.
Paraguay are now set to face favourites Argentina in the second semi-final in Concepción on Tuesday (June 30), with hosts Chile’s tie against Peru set to take place a day earlier in Santiago.
June 2015: Argentina progress to Copa América semi-final on penalties after goalless draw with Colombia
June 2015: Guerrero hat-trick sends Peru into Copa América semi-final
June 2015: Hosts Chile edge holders Uruguay in bad-tempered Copa América quarter-final
June 2015: Brazil advance to Copa América quarter-finals with victory against Venezuela
June 2015: Messi earns 100th cap as Argentina seal first place in Copa América group