Brazil wins to claim Group B, Venezuela ties in thriller on final day of first round

Brazil Ecuador 1 (Reuters)

By FRANCO PANIZO

12 combined goals, a last-second comeback and an assist from a goalkeeper.

Those were just some of the highlights on an eventful Wednesday night as group play in the Copa America came to a close. Brazil took first place in Group B and eliminated Ecuador with a 4-2 triumph over La Tri, while Venezuela scored two goals in the final three minutes of its thrilling match against Paraguay to earn a 3-3 draw.

Having tied in its two previous games, Brazil recorded its first win of the tournament in a game that saw three players grab braces. Alexandre Pato and Neymar each netted twice as Brazil finished group play on top with five points and a +2 goal differential (outdoing second-place Venezuela on five points and +1 goal differential). Felipe Caicedo scored both of Ecuador's goals, but he couldn't stop his country from finishing in fourth place on 1 point.

In the first game of the night, Venezuela jumped out to a 1-0 lead through a Jose Rondon goal after just five minutes . But Paraguay responded with three goals, the last of which came in the 86th when Christian Riveros headed home a free kick.

Then disaster struck for the Paraguayans as Venezuela was able to rally with goals in the 90th and 92nd minutes. Nicolas Fedor started the late comeback with a right-footed shot inside the penalty area. That was followed by a corner kick in stoppage time that was headed down by Venezuela goalkeeper Renny Vega to Grenddy Perozo, who headed the ball over the goal line for the draw.

The result left Paraguay in third place on three points, but it advanced to the quarterfinals on goal differential over Costa Rica.

Here are all the quarterfinal match-ups as well as highlights from both of Wednesday's games:

SATURDAY

Colombia vs. Peru

Argentina vs. Uruguay

SUNDAY

Brazil vs. Paraguay

Chile vs. Venezuela

 

BRAZIL 4, ECUADOR 2

 


VENEZUELA 3, PARAGUAY 3

 


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What did you think of Brazil's first win of the tournament? Think the Selecao has turned things around? More impressed by Vega's assist and Venezuela's comeback against Paraguay? Which quarterfinal match are you most looking forward to?

Share your thoughts below.

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10 Responses to Brazil wins to claim Group B, Venezuela ties in thriller on final day of first round

  1. Danny says:

    All is well in the world now.

  2. JP says:

    Pato and Neymar finally play up to the expectations. Julio Cesar had a subpar performance on goal…

  3. Paul Thomas says:

    “Subpar” is putting it generously. He had one great stretch save in the first half, but both of those goals were borderline howlers. Went right through him.

  4. Pasta says:

    Scouting report: Shoot hard and low on Julio Caesar. It’s funny…same thing happened with Neuer when United was shelling him in Champions League play. As soon as they figured out they needed to keep it on the ground, it was all over.

  5. Adam M. says:

    Maicon had a great game in place of Dani Alves leading the charge down the wing, but Brazil still has a lot of reason to be concerned as the final score flattered them. It was 2-2 into the second half until Brazil broke through. Ganso finally started making plays later in the game, including a beautiful through ball setting up Neymar, but he has been mostly absent this tournament, lost in the middle of the field as the three strikers have been circling back to run at the defense and doing a poor job of linking passes together going forward. Lucas has been marginal at best and Ramieres has yet to shine. Its telling that the Ganso-Neymar goal was the only one not to start from the wings. If Brazil can’t get its act together in the middle of the field, they won’t beat tougher opponents.

  6. KNPonder says:

    I was thinking the same thing as I watched portions of the match last night. I wasn’t overly impressed with Brazil. They definitely have the firepower and can punish mistakes in the blink of an eye, but they were conceding tons of space in the midfield. It is great to have Robinho and Neymar, but neither one of those guys are going to help much defensively in the midfield. In that formation, they need to help the midfield. Of course, holding possession helps except they had it 60% of the time against Venezuela and did not score. It will be interesting to see how things unfold as the tourney plays out. An opponent with a five man midfield would probably give Brazil fits.

  7. joel says:

    interesting how the have the bracket setup so its pretty difficult for Argentina and Brazil to play…
    sort of like in the Gold Cup.

  8. supergrandefilms says:

    Two words… GO URUGUAY…!!!!!!

  9. JCC says:

    Amazing to see Venezuela’s evolution the past 15 years from being the worst team in South America, a team that suffered 5-0 defeats as the norm, to one of the better teams in the region. My prediction: Venezuela becomes the number three team in South America behind Argentina and Brazil in 15 years. Seriously.

  10. Dominghosa says:

    That Paraguay-Venezuela match had an epic ending.