Friday, June 26, 2015

First semifinal complete – Chile vs Peru

The first two quarterfinals of the 2015 Copa América have been played, and the outcome was on one side very controversial and on the other side more than deserved. Let’s get to the facts first of all. Chile beat Uruguay 1-0 while Peru were too strong for Bolivia, winning 3-1. So far, so good. Now where is the controversy?

The game between the hosts and the record champion was overshadowed by a questionable performance from the Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci and his assistants. While the 1-0 win was okay overall (81st minute goal from Mauricio Isla), the circumstances in which it came together were not. Uruguay played a lot better themselves than they still did in the group stages, having quite a lot of chances. The scene that probably lost them the game took place in the 63rd minute, when Edinson Cavani was sent off. What happened? Mainz 05 defender Gonzalo Jara put his finger into a body part of Cavani where it does not belong. This went unnoticed, not so much the reaction from the PSG striker, who was unsurprisingly not amused and slapped his opponent’s face. His second yellow card fired the game up even more than it already was and ended in another late dismissal for Nacional defender Jorge Fucile. Ricci lost control of this game way earlier in the first half and you could never get rid of the feeling that something was not going quite right in Santiago.

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Hattrick hero: Paolo Guerrero scored all three goals as Peru knock out Bolivia.

In the second quarterfinal on the day after, Peru was always in control against Bolivia. When I said Paolo Guerrero was due to score a goal, I frankly did not expect this kind of night from him. One of the top South American forwards scored not one, not two, but three goals against a team that could never deal with him or the Peruvian offense in general. The better team clearly won and in the process outplayed Bolivia that had the same happen to them in the 0-5 loss to Chile. For two time Copa winners Peru, this is a performance they can build upon when facing the favorites Chile in the next round. Both will have a chance to play for a medal, only one though for the title.

After both team’s performances, it is not extremely easy to predict a semifinal outcome. But as of today, I will go with Peru upsetting Chile and making it to their first final since 1975, leaving the hosts behind once again.


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