Copa America 2011 Quarterfinals, Chile Vs. Venezuela: Chile Eliminated By Venezuela, 2-1

Copa America just can't see to keep its supposed best teams in the tournament. After an unpredictable group stage full of upsets many thought the knockout stages would see the top teams assert their dominance. Then Colombia lost. Argentina was also eliminated. Brazil was knocked out next. Now Chile gets the boot and for the first time in Copa America history all of the teams that finished top of their group have been eliminated before the semifinals. Venezuela finished the job with their 2-1 win over Chile, going ahead by a goal before things were all but settled when Chile was put down to 10 men.

The first half was almost completely devoid of chances and entertainment. Neither team could string together passes, instead just taking turns giving the ball away. At first it could have been chalked up to being overambitious, but as time went on it become obvious that it was just a matter of sloppy and careless play.

For as bad as the half may have been there was one good moment and it came on Venezuela's goal. With a free kick on the right the underdogs took advantage. A perfect delivery put the ball on the near side for Oswaldo Vicarrondo. The Venezuela defender came across and nodded the ball excellently past the keeper and into the side netting for the opening tally.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime and searching for any sort of spark, Chile finally got it from Humberto Suazo in the second half. They came out firing, but it didn't lead to a goal immediately. They seemed snakebitten as Suazo hit the cross bar. Another shot was excellently saved by Renny Vega, one more chance hit the post and Venezuela even cleared a ball off the line.

Suazo finally broke through in the 69th minute, coming across from the left side of the box to collect a pass right in front, six yards from goal. For reasons unknown, Venezuela didn't close him down so Suazo took his time, turned and fired off the underside of the crossbar and in for the equalizer.

Chile had all the momentum and had dominated play in the second half so it looked like they would go on to win, but Venezuela would not be denied. Claudio Bravo had a cross deflected and bounce hard in front of him, making it difficult to corral. He saw it bounce off his chest and in front where Gabriel Chichero came flying in with a sliding finish on the rebound for the winner.

Two minutes later Gary Medel was show his second yellow card and down to 10 men, Chile were done. Appropriately, Venezuela had prevailed on goals by two defenders. They never showed much up front, but the defended well and took the chances they had. Because of it, they had themselves a 2-1 win and spot in the Copa America semifinals.

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