Copa America: Brazil, Uruguay in semis

Defending champion Brazil thumped Chile 6-1 and Uruguay eliminated host Venezuela 4-1 in the Copa America on Saturday to set up a semifinal clash.

updated: July 09, 2007 16:12 IST
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Barquisimeto, Venezuela:

Defending champion Brazil thumped Chile 6-1 and Uruguay eliminated host Venezuela 4-1 in the Copa America on Saturday to set up a semifinal between two of South America's heavyweights.

On Sunday, Argentina will seek to join its longtime rivals with a win over Peru in Barquisimeto. Guest side Mexico takes on Paraguay in the other quarterfinal, in Maturin.

Uruguay and Argentina remained alive with a chance at becoming the first side to win 15 Copas.

However, Uruguay will have to overcome Brazil at Maracaibo on Tuesday. The Charruas haven't beaten Brazil in the Copa since the 1995 final at home in Montevideo.

Since then, Brazil gained revenge in the 1999 final, and won again in the semifinals three years ago in Peru.

At least both teams have rediscovered their scoring touch in time.

Following criticism for its lack of offense in the first round, Brazil's thrashing of Chile put to rest any doubts that coach Dunga's young team has the wherewithal to reach the finals.

"Jogo bonito" fashion

Brazil's blowout began in characteristic "jogo bonito" fashion, when a leaping Julio Baptista brushed a corner kick that Juan put away with a beautiful double-header after 11 minutes.

After Baptista scored on a breakaway six minutes later, Robinho added the first of his two goals in the 27th to allow Brazil to go into halftime with one foot already in the semis.

With a tournament-high six goals, Robinho had a shot at equaling Pele's record eight-goal count in the 1959 tournament.

Josue and Vagner Love added goals in the second half while Humberto Suazo looked glum after scoring Chile's lone goal in the 75th.

Earlier in San Cristobal, Uruguay crushed host Venezuela's illusion of building upon what's already been its best-ever tournament finish.

Uruguay crept into the quarterfinals with just one first-round goal - the lowest production of any of the 12 teams in the tournament.

However, thanks to two goals by striker Diego Forlan, in the 38th minute and during second-half injury time, Uruguay's offense finally awakened against an inexperienced Venezuela that held the Charruas to a scoreless draw in their group meeting only four days ago.

"We didn't play well in the first round and some thought we'd end up a disaster, going home early, but here we are with a strong chance of reaching the finals," Uruguay forward Cristian Rodriguez said.

Undefeated Mexico

The Vinotinto, playing its first-ever Copa quarterfinal, threatened after a Juan Arango free kick made it 1-1 after 41 minutes. But a charging Pablo Garcia gave Uruguay the lead for good in the 65th on a driving shot from the area's half-circle.

Rodriguez scored Uruguay's third goal with three minutes remaining after Venezuela's attack lost much of its steam.

In Sunday's quarterfinals, Argentina was the only team to finish the first round with a perfect 3-0 record and a tournament-leading nine goals.

Coach Alfio Basile on Saturday held out the possibility of tinkering with the offense, but said he'd have to "consult with his bed pillow" before settling on his lineup. Although Basile didn't reveal names, it's possible that Carlos Tevez will see action from the start.

Undefeated Mexico goes into the match against Paraguay emboldened by its 2-0 shock win over Brazil in its Group B opener and to the point that coach Hugo Sanchez has already predicted his team will win.

But Paraguay is no walkover, having scored eight goals in the first round, and losing only to Argentina in its final match with several starters resting.