The favourites are tumbling like flies in the 2011 Copa America. First Argentina went out on penalties to Uruguay, and now Brazil have done the same against Paraguay, who are (amazingly) in the semi-finals without having won a single match.
There wasn't too much hope for Paraguay going into the game. Brazil had hit their stride against Ecuador and Paraguay's defence had been leaking goals. About the best they could have hoped for was to somehow hold out through 120 minutes of football and take the match to penalty kicks. They did, just, and it all worked out perfectly for them. Here's how it all went down.
Brazil started strongly enough, dominating possession for the entirety of the first half. Paraguay were completely unable to get the ball out of their own end, instead focusing on denying their opponents any space in the penalty area in which to weave their magic.
It worked, to a point - Brazil didn't get as many chances as they'd have liked, but both Lucio and Neymar ought to have opened the scoring before the half was done, the former hitting a shot right at goalkeeper Justo Villar from all of three yards out and the latter shooting wastefully wide after being played into space by Robinho.
With the game 0-0 at half time, there wasn't much panic from Brazil, but there was a change in approach. Instead of being all about possession, they because far more focused on throwing bodies forward in an attempt to overwhelm the hitherto good-enough Paraguay defence. This had the effect of stretching the match, allowing the underdogs some possession of there own, and a couple of (admittedly wasted) dangerous moments.
Again, Brazil should have scored. Paulo Henrique Ganso hit the post after a fine save by Villar pushed his half volley (just about) to safety. Alexandre Pato was implausibly denied by excellent work from the goalkeeper once more. Neymar was forced off with an injury late on in the match, but Fred, his replacement, nearly scored himself, his header beating Villar but being cleared off the line by substitute Edgar Baretto.
It wasn't your typical boring 0-0 draw, then - this was one team fighting for its lives to take the match to extra time and penalties while the other threw everything they had in an attempt to break them. It took some bad luck and fine goalkeeping from Villar to ensure the 90 minutes ended scoreless, but somehow, Paraguay survived.
With penalties and a good chance at an unlikely win in sight, Gerardo Martino's side kept things relatively quiet in extra time. There were some very tired legs on the pitch by that point, and the only really noteworthy event of the entire half hour added on was a full-out brawl that saw a player from each side sent off, Sergio Pezzotta reaching into his pocket to dismiss Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva as well as Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz.
The fight was much more interesting than the play. If the first 90 minutes was the opposite of an unexciting goalless draw, this was that's opposite. Slow, plodding play matched with slow, plodding feet as both teams ambled their way to the non-inevitable penalty shootout.
Paraguay had already secured a moral victory in keeping Brazil's attacking talents at bay for so long. Could they manage a real one as well? If they did manage to win it, it would assumedly be through the heroic exploits of Villar in the net. He'd already saved them countless times during the match and it would be more than fitting if he were to be a hero in the shootout as well.
Brazil went first, substitute Elano stepping up to the spot. A deep breath, a focused look... and then a kick that may well have achieved orbit. Elano stared in shock at the ground - the soil below his plant foot had given way. The result was the same for Edgar Baretto, whose effort missed low and to the left. The turf at the Ciudad de La Plata had been giving both teams problems all match, and now it was playing merry havoc with the penalties. The question stopped being who would miss, and became a question of anyone being able to score at all.
Thiago Silva couldn't, but he at least hit the target, his low shot saved well by Villar. Paraguayans Marcelo Estigarribia and Cristian Riveros had no such problems, though, each smashing the ball straight up the middle. A hilarious miss by Andre Santos prior to Riveros' goal meant that the game stood at 2-0 Paraguay with two kicks left apiece. With Fred up at the spot, a miss meant Brazil were going home.
Fred slipped, missing low and to the right. Brazil were out, Paraguay went through, and a bizarre Copa America contrived to get even stranger.
For live updates throughout the Copa America quarterfinal between Brazil and Paraguay, stay on the Brazil vs. Paraguay StoryStream. Also taking place right now is the Women's World Cup Final between the USA and Japan, so head over to our World Cup Final StoryStream for updates on that. For all kinds of coverage on world football, check out SB Nation Soccer.