Brazil 2 -2 Uruguay. Penalties: 5-4.
It was lights out for Uruguay.
On a night when anything was possible, the winner of the first semifinal was decided by penalty kicks. Doni, who clearly jumped several feet forward, stopped Lugano’s shot and ended Uruguay’s dreams. In truth, the penalty should have been retaken since Doni wasn’t anywhere near the line, but the referee decided it was ok and the Brazilians are through.
Tonight, Brazil will party hard!
The game itself was exciting, very exciting if you consider it was Uruguay who was playing. El Chino Recoba was absolutely brilliant and brought a threat from each and every corner kick. He had some great shots on goal but Doni came through with the saves. Brazil struck first in a lucky minute 13 with a great play between Julio Baptista and Vagner Love. Carini saved Vagner’s shot but Maicon came up for a rebound which he nailed back for a goal. A great goal for a great player who hasn’t been getting the credit he deserves.
What happened next is something which you can only expect in Venezuela, a power outage in a nation with a large excess of fossil fuels. Play would resume some 14 minutes late and surprisingly the tempo didn’t slow. Uruguay equalized off a great goal by Diego Forlan. I have been very critical of Forlan’s play this tournament but he scored a big one that tied the game and raised the morale for the Celestes. Uruguay took that momentum to play strong for the remainder of a really long first half but it was Brazil who surprised with a late goal when they were playing their worst. Again Maicon, this time on a cross, found Julio Bapista who was in the right place at the right time. All alone and with the ball going his way Baptista just chipped it in for a 1-2 carioca lead. Brazil played well but perhaps not well enough to be leading. Robinho was completely absent tonight and the team in yellow was dependent on Maicon and Love. Either way, they weren’t complaining about winning. With that score the teams headed to the locker room for halftime.
The second half was a completely different game. Uruguay made some subs and tactical changes, bringing on a sensational Abreu. Dunga for his part brought some new faces in hope of breathing some fresh air into their game. But the football in the second half was more rusty than the first and not much happened, until out of nowhere, El Loco Abreu found himself with a pinball style goal. Again, Uruguay equalized. The rest of the second half was a game of nerves. Brazil with an untested Fernando and Afonso didn’t want to risk. Uruguay – steep underdogs – were now brinking on the edge of a Copa America final. The air was rife with tension. And we would head to the penalties to decide the game.
One of the most exciting PK rounds in recent memory. Truely epic.
Robinho – sensational 1-0
Forlan – fails. Doni Saves 1-0
Juan – clinical shot. 2-0
Andres Scotti – soft touch, great under pressure 2-1
Gilberto Silva – all location, no power. 3-1
Ignacio Gonzalez – copies gilberto silva’s shot. 3-2
Afonso – hard, to Carinis right and nails the POST. ouch. 3-2
Cristian Rodriguez – whew, made it. 3-3
Diego – perfect shot. unstoppable. 4-3
Abreu – cheeky!!! lobs it in. beautiful!! long live the copa america! 4-4
Fernando – again the right post!! oh no! 4-4
Pablo Garcia – for the win!….. too strong. hits the left post! Uruguay wilts. 4-4
Gilberto – hard over Carini, well struck. 5-4
Diego Lugano – stopped by Doni!! Doni walks 3 feet forward and stops a badly taken PK. 5-4. ITS OVER. (see video)
The scrum which followed later between both teams was unfortunate but it had to happen. Doni was way off the line, and a heartbroken Uruguay had to complain. No matter the pentas though. Brazil celebrates under the fireworks as they barely make the finals for Copa America 2007.
Nothing will tell the story of today’s game better than the reaction Uruguay’s coach Oscar Washington Tabarez to Pablo Garcia’s missed penalty.
The penalty that would have given Uruguay an epic victory over their much larger neighbor.
That would have sent them to a Copa America final after so many years.
That would have erased the pain of so many recent failures for a team with so much history.
That would not go in. So it ends.
No caption needed
Cristian Rodriguez. F, Uruguay.
They call him La Cebolla Rodriguez, which means The Onion. Reason being, he makes defenders cry. Although C. Rodriguez didn’t get a score during regular time, he was all over the Brazilians and wrecked havoc. A great effort and performance by the kid from PSG.
The Ugly Duckling(s)
Pablo Garcia and Diego Lugano. M, D Uruguay.
Both played very well during the game but missed absolutely crucial penalty kicks when the pressure was on. Pablo didn’t get his country into the finals when he had the shot, and Diego sealed their fate one kick later. No doubt they will be tossing and turning in their beds tonight.