PORT ELIZABETH SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 10: Diego Forlan of Uruguay celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Third Place Play-off match between Uruguay and Germany at The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on July 10 2010 in Port Elizabeth South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Copa America 2011 Semifinals, Uruguay Vs. Peru: Uruguay Books Spot In Final With 2-0 Win

In search of a record 15th Copa America crown, Uruguay are favorites to win their semifinal, but this has been a tournament of surprises and Peru can pull one of their own to grab a spot in the final

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Copa America 2011 Semifinals, Uruguay Vs. Peru: Uruguay Advance To Final With 2-0 Win

FInally something in Copa America has gone according to plan. In a tournament filled with upsets and boring, unattractive play, Uruguay bucked the trend by expectedly beating Peru handily with great style and quality. The semifinal started with Uruguay dominating, but the scoreboard didn't reflect it until two second half goals gave the favorites the 2-0 lead they would hold onto until the final whistle. The win puts Uruguay in the final against either Paraguay or Venezuela and one win away from a record 15th Copa America title.

The first half was all Uruguay. They pressured and pressured and pressured Peru, but it didn't show itself on the scoreboard. Luis Suarez shot just wide of the goal. Raul Fernandez made a fine save to deny what looked like a sure Uruguay goal. Twice Peru was able to slide across for last second blocks of crosses that almost surely would have resulted in goals. The chances kept coming, but the goals did not and at halftime Peru was somehow still even with Uruguay.

Seven minutes after halftime, Uruguay had their goal. Diego Forlan cut across the field from the right and unleashed a good shot from 30 yards. While it may have been a good shot, at the very least Fernandez show have been able to push the low drive away from goal or out for a corner kick. Instead he spilled it into the path of Suarez, who slotted home the rebound to put Uruguay on top.

Suarez wasn't done though and five minutes after scoring his first goal, the Liverpool man made it two. Alvaro Pereira had the ball in his own half, but he spotted Suarez making a run in behind the Peru defense, which was trying to draw Suarez offside. Pereira played a perfect ball to a perfectly timed Suarez run and Suarez easily rounded the rushing keeper before finishing in the open goal to double the Uruguay lead.

Peru did their best to come back, grabbing a better hold of the match after Suarez's second goal than they had all match, but it wasn't enough. Fernando Muslera, who was brilliant in the quarterfinals, looked shaky. Once he let a ball slip through his hands and had to dive on it before it went across the line and another time he hopelessly slapped at a cross, but neither went in.

Uruguay was able to see out the match and close up their 2-0 victory over Peru. For Peru, the semifinals is a massive accomplishment, while Uruguay still has their dream of a Copa America title alive. On Sunday, they'll be able to make their final case for it as they play in Buenos Aires in the final.


Copa America 2011 Semifinals, Uruguay Vs. Peru: First Half Ends Scoreless

The first half of the Copa America semifinal between Uruguay and Peru went exactly how it was supposed to. Uruguay were the favorites and absolutely dominated the first 45 minutes. They controlled possession and stretched the Peru defense. They weren't contested in the middle third and found space in the final third. They played crosses in and created chances. Peru's attack was almost non-existant and at no point did it feel like Peru had any chance to win the match. Amazingly though, Uruguay couldn't break through and for all their dominance it is still scoreless at the break.

It took just minutes for Uruguay to get their first chance, but Luis Suarez sent it wide. Another time Raul Fernandez was called upon and he answered with a fantastic stop from right in front of goal before diving on the rebound to dent the Uruguayans. Twice crosses that looked bound for unmarked players were blocked at the last minute by a diving Peruvian defender and when Uruguay finally put the ball in the goal, Arvalo Perieira was whistled for offisde to nullify the goal.

At some point common sense would dictate that Uruguay scores. They have been utterly dominant, but this has been a strange Copa America. It wouldn't be out of character for this tournament if Uruguay's chances continued to find ways to not result in goals, while Peru only generates one chance and it results in the game-winning goal. At this point in Copa America, who knows? If Uruguay doesn't turn their dominance into a goal soon, things will get interesting.


Copa America 2011 Semifinals, Uruguay Vs. Peru: Lineups

One match, one spot in the Copa America final. That's what's going on tonight in La Plata as Uruguay and Peru square off in the semifinals. For Uruguay it is a chance to move one step closer to a record 15th Copa America crown. Meanwhile, Peru are the underdogs nobody expected to win a match, let alone make it to the semifinals and once again nobody is giving them much of a chance to win tonight.

Uruguay are the favorites, but their edge has been significantly cut by all of their missing players. Edinson Cavani and Mauricio Victorino? Injuries have ruled them out. Add in the suspension of Diego Perez because of a red card next match and the favorites have some holes to fill. Luckily, they have Walter Gargano to fill in for Perez and Sebastian Coates has two matches under his belt in the tournament to take Victorino's spot. Even so, it's opened a hole for a Peru team that's playing well and will threaten Uruguay with Paolo Guerrero and Juan Manuel Vargas.

Uruguay (4-4-2): Fernando Muslera; Maxi Pereira, Diego Lugano, Sebastian Coates, Martin Cáceres; Alvaro González, Walter Gargano, Egidio Arevalo Ríos, Alvaro Pereira; Diego Forlán, Luis Suarez

Peru (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez; Renzo Revoredo, Santiago Acasiete, Alberto Rodriguez, Walter Vilchez; Adan Balbín, Carlos Lobatón, Rinaldo Cruzado, Juan Manuel Vargas; Luis Advíncula, Paolo Guerrero.


Copa America 2011 Semifinals, Uruguay Vs. Peru: Preview

Copa America built a reputation as one of the world's most entertaining tournaments over the past couple decades, but that hasn't been the case with this year's tournament. It's been dull and it doesn't figure to get much better with many of South America's top teams eliminated. Gone are Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, leaving Uruguay as the favorites heading into the semifinals. If they are to book their place in the final, Uruguay will have to get past Peru in La Plata on Tuesday night.

Once again, Uruguay will be forced to play without Edinson Cavani, but playing without him has become the norm this tournament. He was dreadful in their first game and subbed off at halftime of their second game with a knee injury. They played their next two matches without him and now sit in the semifinals despite having played more minutes without their deadly striker than they have with him. 

In Cacani's absence, more has been asked of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez and while Forlan shows his age, Suarez has been a menace for opponents, drawing free kick after free kick as defenders struggle to cope with him. Add in a fine Egidio Arevalo and Diego Perez and it's not hard to see how Uruguay has succeeded as Cavani sits.

In addition to Cavani, Uruguay will also have to play without the injured Mauricio Victorino, who has started two of Uruguay's four Copa America matches in the center of the defense. It won't be too much of a blow because they can replace him with Sebastian Coates, who started the team's other two matches.

While Cavani and Victorino sit out the match with injuries, Diego Perez will have to sit out due to suspension after being sent off in Uruguay's quarterfinal match. Perez was lucky to have seen only yellow and not red for his challenge just minutes into the match. He went on to score Uruguay's first goal, but the foolishly impeded a player who had beat him in the opposition's half to earn his second yellow card. The midfielder will likely be replaced by Walter Gargano, who is a fine player, but Perez has been exceptional in the tournament and will certainly be missed.

Having both been drawn into Group C, Uruguay and Peru have already met this tournament. They played their first matches of Copa America against each other and while Peru played well, Uruguay was sluggish. They managed a 1-1 draw. Uruguay would go on to win five points from the group to finish in second place before edging Argentina on penalties in the quarterfinals, while Peru gathered four points in the group and took down Colombia, 2-0, in extra time to qualify for the semifinals.

Peru will have a tough time trying to stifle the Uruguay attack. Suarez will prove to be a handful and while Forlan has slowed, he is still deadly on the set pieces that Suarez does so well to earn. It's tough to see any way for Peru to topple Uruguay, but this is a tournament where nothing has gone according to plan so what does the expected outcome really mean?

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