The Copa America semifinals are again missing a local favorite.
Argentina did its part, but Brazil – as in the World Cup a year ago, and in this same South American championship four years ago – no longer shines like it once did and is again out early in a major championship.
Paraguay knocked out the five-time World Cup winner Saturday 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. This was not as shocking as Germany’s 7-1 humiliation of Brazil in the semifinals a year ago in Brazil’s own World Cup, but it’s a reminder that the country has lost some of its mystique and no longer plays the so-called “jogo bonito.”
Paraguay it no stranger to this tournament. It was the losing finalist four years ago against Uruguay and could be headed to the finals again. It faces Argentina on Tuesday in one semifinal, and host Chile goes against Peru on Monday in the other.
Not only is Argentina in the semifinals, but all four teams are coached by Argentines: Jorge Sampaoli with Chile, Ricardo Gareca with Peru, Ramon Diaz with Paraguay and Gerardo Martino with Argentina.