CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 14: The Paraguay players celebrate as Antolin Alcaraz of Paraguay scores the opening goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Italy and Paraguay at Green Point Stadium on June 14, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Copa America 2011, Paraguay Vs. Venezuela: Underdogs Venezuela Occupy First After Incredible 3-3 Draw

Venezuela are already through to the quarterfinals of the 2011 Copa America, but Paraguay still have some work to do.

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Copa America 2011, Paraguay Vs. Venezuela: Final Score, Venezuela Complete Incredible Comeback To Draw 3-3

Unbelievable. When Cristian Riveros scored a headed goal on a corner kick in the 86th minute to make it 3-1 to Paraguay, the game appeared over. To be honest, it appeared to be over when Lucas Barrios made it 2-1 minutes earlier, but with an inferior Venezuela side down 3-1 to Paraguay in the 86th minute, it was truly done and dusted. Then, Venezuela improbably scored two goals, tying the score up at 3-3 and keeping themselves in first place of Group B in the 2011 Copa America.

Jose Solomon Rondon stunned Paraguay with the opening goal, which he scored just five minutes in. With Paraguay still settling in, a deflection caused the ball to fall to the feet of Rondon 25 yards from goal. He unloaded on a half volley and beat Justo Villar at his near post, giving his team a shock lead.

Paraguay scored the next three, and deservedly so. Antonin Alcaraz netted the first one on a set piece, scored from close range and assisted by Lucas Barrios, in the first half. With the match died 1-1 at halftime, Paraguay appeared to have all the momentum. They kept up that momentum in the second half, when Barrios got a goal of his own before Cristian Riveros scored what should have been the clincher in the 86th minute.

When Nicolas Fedor scored in the 90th minute - while offside, I might add - it appeared to be a mere consolation goal. Then, Grenddy Perozo netted with a header in the third minute of stoppage time, giving Venezuela an improbable draw. Though Paraguay will feel aggrieved about the offside goal, the reason that they did not win is that they quit after 86 minutes, and for that they have paid dearly. 

Brazil will now win the group with any win over Ecuador or advance in third place with a draw in which they score less than three goals. A 3-3 draw ties them with Paraguay. If Ecuador wins, they are in the quarterfinals and Brazil are out.


Copa America 2011, Paraguay Vs. Venezuela: Preview

Through two games in a Copa America group with Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador, the leader of the group is Venezuela. Yes, that Venezuela. Historically the worst team in South America, Venezuela has already qualified for the knockout stages of the 2011 Copa America, making it that far in the tournament for only the third time in their history. The 2007 tournament was the first time since 1993 that they did not finish in last or second to last place. They have also never qualified for a World Cup.

So, what's changed? Not a lot, really. This is just a really weird tournament. Both Brazil and Ecuador played like garbage against Venezuela, and Paraguay should be able to defeat them if they're on their game. The team's only big time attacking talent is José Salomón Rondón, and he hasn't scored in this tournament.

Though Paraguay sit in a tie for second place in the group, they have probably been the best team in Group B up until this point. They gave Brazil a serious game in their 2-2 draw, and they were the slightly better team against Ecuador in that 0-0 draw. 

Venezuela are in no matter what. They can win the group with a draw, but that depends on what Brazil do against Ecuador. Paraguay just need a draw to advance, but they could win the group or finish in second place with a victory. A loss would eliminate them.

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