Brazil dumped OUT of Copa America in shock shoot-out defeat by Paraguay as Dunga’s dreary side limp without Neymar


No Neymar, no flair, and no Copa America semi-final against Argentina – it was Brazil, but not as we know them.

Dunga’s side had failed to convince en-route to the last eight and could not build on Robinho’s opening goal in Concepcion, eventually losing to Paraguay on penalties, just as they did four years ago.

And the opportunity to reach a second successive final is the least Ramon Diaz’s side deserved for a dominant second-half performance

Paraguay’s equaliser came from the spot via the boot of Derlis Gonzalez and, after dreadful misses from Everton Ribeiro and Douglas Costa in the shoot-out, the same player clinched victory to set up a repeat of their first group game against Argentina.

Brazil coach Dunga, who was forced to apologise this weekend for comparing the criticism he receives to the persecution of black people, kept faith in the side that beat Venezuela last weekend.

Paraguay rang the changes however with Diaz recalling four players to his starting line-up, including former Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz.

But his side were soon on the back foot as Filipe Luis fed Philippe Coutinho and the Liverpool midfielder’s fierce drive from 30 yards was tipped over by Justo Villar.

On Friday night, Colombia had successfully held out against Argentina for 90 minutes, but Paraguay were already showing more adventure with Santa Cruz heading just wide from Julian Benitez’s deft chip into the area.Paraguay

Thiago Silva then had to be alert to stop a cross from Nelson Valdez reaching the former Manchester City striker but it was Brazil who broke the deadlock.

Robinho started the move he would soon finish, feeding Elias who in turn found Dani Alves and the Barcelona full-back’s cross was converted with aplomb.

Previous editions of this competition have both launched Robinho’s international career and heralded the start of his two-year exile.

Eight years ago, he scored all four of Brazil’s goals in the group stage before adding two more to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.

He was also named the best player in Venezuela as Argentina were beaten in the final.

But in 2011, he failed to score in any of Brazil’s four games as they lost on penalties to Paraguay in the last eight and soon found himself shunned by first Mano Menezes and then Luis Felipe Scolari.

But Dunga’s return to the touchline and a successful loan spell at Santos led to another chance and he had been the focal point of Brazil’s attack since Neymar’s red card.

 Brazil copa America

But if his strike was expected to be the cue for an avalanche of goals, it failed to arrive.

Paraguay, stung by the goal, eventually settled back into their rhythm without being unduly troubled.

In fact, Robinho’s finish was the only touch in the opposition area by a Brazil player in the first half.

At the other end, Pablo Aguilar could not divert his header clear of imposing centre back Miranda before Nelson Valdez’s long-range effort was comfortably saved by Jefferson.

Paraguay began the second half on the ascendancy as Gonzalez tried to curl a free-kick in at the near post only for Jefferson to punch clear before Nelson Valdez headed over when well positioned.

Encouraged, Diaz’s side pushed forward and only an alert Jefferson kept out Paulo Da Silva’s header from 12 yards.

And having battled back from two goals down against Argentina two weeks ago, Paraguay deservedly levelled with 20 minutes remaining.

Thiago Silva was correctly adjudged to have handled in the area and Gonzalez powered his penalty past Jefferson.

The equaliser forced Brazil to abandon their defensive stance but it was Paraguay who looked more likely to score the winner.

Santa Cruz sent Gonzalez racing down the right wing but having cut inside, his shot was parried by Jefferson.

Indeed, Brazil could only muster long-range efforts from Coutinho and Alves in the closing stages as their challenge petered out.

Santa Cruz’s miss from 12 yards gave them hope but it merely delayed the inevitable as well as signalling the start of a Brazilian inquest for the second summer in a row.

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