Uruguay Beat Brazil on Penalties to Reach Copa America Semi-finals

Uruguay celebrated a penalty shoot out victory over Brazil in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday. Robyn Beck / AFP
Uruguay celebrated a penalty shoot out victory over Brazil in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday. Robyn Beck / AFP
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Uruguay Beat Brazil on Penalties to Reach Copa America Semi-finals

Uruguay celebrated a penalty shoot out victory over Brazil in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday. Robyn Beck / AFP
Uruguay celebrated a penalty shoot out victory over Brazil in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday. Robyn Beck / AFP

Uruguay beat Brazil on penalties (4-2) to reach the semi-finals of Copa America after an ugly game ended goalless on Saturday.
Uruguay, who finished the game with ten men after Nahitan Nandez was sent off in the 74th minute, will face Colombia in Charlotte, North Carolina, in their semi-final on Wednesday, said AFP.
Colombia, now unbeaten in 27 games, beat Panama 5-0 in Saturday's other quarter-final earlier in Arizona.
The other semi-final, in New Jersey on Tuesday, will see world champions Argentina face surprise package Canada.
For five-times world champions Brazil it was a disappointing early end to a tournament in which they never truly clicked, and a lot of work remains to be done if Dorival Junior's team are to be in shape to compete for the title in the 2026 World Cup.
In a city better known for boxing than for the beautiful game, it was a bruising contest with little quality play and a tournament high 41 fouls.
A poor quality playing field hardly helped with both teams struggling to produce their best football on an uneven surface.
The first - and best - chance of a game of few opportunities came in the 35th minute when Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez had a clear header in front of goal but mis-timed his effort which flew wide off his shoulder.
Within moments, Brazil created an opening of their own with Raphinha breaking clear, but Uruguay keeper Sergio Rochet stayed tall and made a vital save.
Marcelo Bielsa's Uruguay were as tenacious as always, harrying Brazil in midfield and never afraid to interrupt their flow with a foul.
Brazil resorted too often to long balls forward but with only their 17-year-old talent Endrick, in for the suspended Vinicius Junior, as a central striker they lacked the physical presence to make that approach effective.
The game deteriorated the longer it went on with foul after foul, not deterred by lenient refereeing.
But Uruguay's hopes of wearing Brazil down were dealt a blow when Nandez hacked down Rodrygo with a dangerous slide into his ankle and after a VAR review the defender was sent off.
From then on it was clear that Uruguay were simply trying to make it to full-time and penalties and with no extra-time in Copa America, they were able to achieve their aim.
Tight game
After Federico Valverde scored with the first spot kick, Eder Militao saw his effort saved by the diving Rochet.
When Douglas Luiz hit the post for Brazil, they trailed 3-1 and Jose Gimenez had the chance to clinch the game for Uruguay. His effort was superbly saved by Alisson Becker.
Substitute Gabriel Martinelli scored to keep Brazil alive but midfielder Manuel Ugarte kept his cool to drive home the decisive kick and send the 15-times Copa champions into the last four.
Bielsa praised his team's calmness in the shoot-out and their desire during the 90 minutes.
"I'm more seduced by attacking than defending, but I have to appreciate that in a tight game we created one more situation than our opponents, we defended well and we played 15 minutes with one less player, which at this level is a real factor," he said.
"If you ask me if I'm happy with having created three goal situations in 90 minutes, no, I'm not. But our opponents had two," he said.
"Today we outplayed Brazil in segments of the game and were outplayed in others," added the Argentine.
For Brazil the thoughts turn to the need to ensure they make it to the next World Cup after a poor start to CONMEBOL qualifying.
"We leave the tournament undefeated but not satisfied," said Dorival Junior whose team won once and drew twice in the group stage.
"We didn't play at a high level from a technical point of view, but I don't dismiss any of the games. I think there was commitment, fighting spirit. At no time did the team stop going for the result," he added.
"This process needs patience. We have two years to work before the World Cup. The first thing is to qualify for the World Cup because we are sixth in the (South American qualifiers) and it is a position that makes us uncomfortable," he said.
The tournament's final will be held in Miami on July 14.



Paris Police Sealing Off Seine River Ahead of Olympics Opening Ceremony

People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Paris Police Sealing Off Seine River Ahead of Olympics Opening Ceremony

People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A special kind of iron curtain came down across central Paris on Thursday, with the beginning of an Olympic anti-terrorism perimeter along the banks of the River Seine sealing off a kilometers-long area to Parisians and tourists who hadn’t applied in advance for a pass.
The words on many lips were “QR code,” the pass that grants access beyond snaking metal barriers that delineate the security zone set up to protect the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony on July 26.
“I didn’t know it started today,” said Emmanuelle Witt, a 35-year-old communications freelancer who was stopped by police near the Alma bridge while biking across town. She desperately went on her phone to fill out the online form to get her QR code, unaware that the vetting process could take several days, The Associated Press reported.
Those with the precious code – either on their phones or printed out on pieces of paper – passed smoothly past police checkpoints at gaps in the barriers taller than most people.
Those without got mostly turned away – with no amount of grumbling and cajoling making officers budge.
“That’s too much, that’s over the top, that whole thing is a pain,” grumbled Nassim Bennamou, a delivery man who was denied access to the street leading to Notre Dame Cathedral on his scooter.
“Even the GPS is confused, I have no idea how I’m going to work today,” he added.
While authorities announced the code system last year and have been meeting with local residents for months to explain the restrictions, not everyone was aware. Officers patiently explained to visitors without the pass how to reach iconic Paris monuments without going through the restricted zone.
“We had no idea we needed a QR code,” said Takao Sakamoto, 55, who was denied access to the Eiffel Tower near the Bir Hakeim Metro station. Visiting from Japan with his wife, he took a photo of the tower from a distance, behind fences and police cars. “That will do,” Sakamoto remarked with despair.
On the other hand, visitors who were lucky enough to come across officers who leniently let them pass without QR codes and others who'd equipped themselves with them were treated to the sight of near-empty riverside boulevards that, in normal times, heave with traffic.
“There's no one around!” sang a happy cyclist on a street he had largely to himself. With police seemingly everywhere, another man walking past a riverside café with fewer than usual customers loudly quipped: “You can leave your money and cell phones on the tables, there's definitely no thieves!”
“It’s surreal, it really feels like we’re the only ones here,” said Sarah Bartnicka from Canada. Enjoying a morning jog with a friend, the 29-year-old took a selfie with a police officer on the deserted Iéna bridge to capture the moment.
Paris has repeatedly suffered deadly extremist attacks, most notably in 2015. Up to 45,000 police and gendarmes as well as 10,000 soldiers are being deployed for Olympic security.
“I understand why they’re doing this,” said Carla Money, a 64-year-old American who managed to pass the barriers with her family.
Some business owners inside the security zone grumbled that sharply reduced foot-fall would hurt their bottom line.
“They’ve locked me up like a prisoner," said Raymond Pignol. His restaurant, L'Auberge Café, near the Pont Neuf that spans the Seine, is just inside the metal fencing.
The perimeter went into effect early Thursday morning and will last through the ceremony. As an exception, Paris has decided to hold the opening of its first Games in a century on the river rather than in a stadium, like previous host cities. Most of the river security measures will be lifted after the show.
Officers were under instructions to be polite and patient as employees on their way to work and others dealt with the perimeter and the passes for the first time. But Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said that after the initial 24 hours of being accommodating, officers would apply the rules much more firmly, with no more looking the other way for those without QR codes.