Argentina are out of the 2011 Copa America after Uruguay defeated the hosts on penalty kicks 5-4 following a 1-1 draw that 120 minutes of football can't settle. The match ended with 10 men per side with defensive midfielders Diego Perez and Javier Mascherano picking up red cards, Perez in the first half and Mascherano in the second. The hero in the second half, in extra time, and again in penalties was Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera, the clear man of the match in an absolutely fantastic quarterfinal.
The fans in Sante Fe, Argentina are caught somewhere between shock and anger as some booed their home team mercilessly after the defeat while some just looked on in silence, seemingly unable to process exactly what had just happened.
Uruguay got off to a fantastic start in the match when Perez - who had picked up a yellow card three minutes prior and who would eventually be sent off - scored the game's opening goal, tapping in a Martin Caceres header off of a Diego Forlan free kick. Though Perez would eventually see red, he arguably should have been sent off for the challenge that he only saw yellow for in the 2nd minute.
Gonzalo Higuain would answer quickly, scoring the equalizer in the 17th minute. Lionel Messi, often criticized for not producing the results for the Albiceleste that he does for Barcelona, was the man who provided the assist as he hit an absolutely brilliant pass over the Uruguay defense, into the penalty area and straight onto the head of Higuain, who finished brilliantly with his head.
Perez would finally get sent off near the end of the second half and Uruguay were forced to play just over 45 minutes with a man disadvantage. Though Diego Forlan played brilliantly from that point on, his work rate making him seem like two men at times, Argentina dominated most of the possession and chances from that point forward.
However, Fernando Muslera's heroics would keep the match level at 1-1 through the 120 minute mark and force penalty kicks. In the second half he made brilliant saves on free kicks by Messi and Carlos Tevez, as well as a save on an Higuain shot that was taken on the rebound off of that Tevez free kick. He also made multiple saves in the extra time periods, forcing penalties.
In penalty kicks, all five of Uruguay's attempts were brilliant while Argentina's penalties were well taken as well, but Muslera came up big when Carlos Tevez stepped up to the spot third in the order, making a great diving save to his right to give his team the advantage. Javier Pastore and Higuain would slip penalties past him afterwards, but no one on Uruguay's team missed their penalty, with Martin Caceres scoring the winning fifth spot kick.
Uruguay now advance to the semifinals to face Peru, who are in their first Copa America semifinals since 1997.