Preview: Copa America semifinals -- Can Peru, Paraguay stop an Argentina-Chile final?
Many if not all neutral fans expect Argentina and Chile to make it through their Copa America semifinals en route to a border battle final in Santiago on July 4.
Peru and Paraguay are hoping the next 48 hours dash those expectations to their very core.
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Between the two, only Peru has lost in the Copa America. That was in its tournament opener against Brazil. So despite the FIFA rankings, perhaps only one-sided officiating for the host country should have us thinking anything other than two even semifinals.
Chile vs. Peru -- FOLLOW LIVE at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday
It’s been a relatively low-scoring tournament, at least from an individual standpoint, which allows Paolo Guerrero of Peru to pace the competition with a trio of goals in the 3-1 quarterfinal win over Bolivia.
He’ll go up against the only player to score as many, Chile’s Arturo Vidal, on Monday night in Santiago.
The two teams have met six times since 2011. They split home matches in 2014 World Cup qualifying, and Peru’s win was its only of the sextet.
By the way, shout out to Wikipedia for this summation of the Gonzalo Jara-Edinson Cavani rear end intrusion/face slap incident:
Argentina vs. Paraguay -- FOLLOW LIVE at 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
Goals! There hasn’t been a clean sheet between these two nations since qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and that’s the last time Paraguay beat La Albiceleste.
That said, the two sides drew 2-2 in group play, with Argentina building a 2-0 lead on goals by Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi before Nelson Valdez and Lucas Barrios tied the match with a pair of second-half goals.
Argentina will certainly be favored in the rematch, though Los Guaraníes have Brazil’s dismissal on their resume as well as a draw against Uruguay. Want a reason to pull for the underdog? Derlis Gonzalez’s uncle died while celebrating Paraguay’s win over Brazil.