The quarter-finals of the 2007 Copa America kicked off in spectacular fashion when Brazil produced a six-goal masterclass against Chile and Uruguay put paid to the hosts' hopes with a comprehensive 4-1 win. The victorious duo will now battle it out on Tuesday for a place in the final, with Brazil hoping for a similar outcome to the Peru 2004 semi-final when they squeezed past the Charrúas on penalties.
Forlan end Venezuelan hopes
|Uruguay's Diego Forlan celebrates after scoring a goal against Venezuela|
Uruguay continued their hold over Venezuela when they notched a sixth win against the Vinotinto in the last 12 years to advance to the semis for the fourth time running. After a largely uninspiring group phase, Oscar Washington Tabarez's men hit their stride in San Cristobal to end the home side's dream of Copa America glory, with Diego Forlan doing much of the damage.
It was the new Atletico Madrid man who opened the scoring six minutes before the break, although Venezuela's Mallorca-based star Juan Arango quickly levelled matters with a fierce free-kick past a startled Fabian Carini.
Midfielder Pablo Garcia restored the Sky Blues' advantage after the interval with a superb strike that arrowed into the top-right hand corner of Renny Vega's goal. And as the clock ran down and the dejected 40,000 crowd began to file out of the Estadio Pueblo Nuevo, up popped Cristian Rodriguez and that man Forlan with late goals to cap a fine night for the 14-time South American champions.
The Venezuelan fairytale may be at an end, but Richard Paez's side can at least take comfort from the fact that they reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the nation's history, a considerable achievement for the continent's one-time makeweights.
Brazilian beat too hot for Chile
Brazil made all the right moves in Puerto La Cruz as they regained their rhythm to cruise past Chile. The snake-hipped Brazilians struck up a tune that was all-too familiar to La Roja coach Nelson Acosta, who has now presided over seven defeats in eight games against the Auriverdes, his solitary success coming in a 3-0 win in the Korea/Japan 2002 qualifying competition.
Dunga's men were in no mood for a repeat of that reverse, and imposed their authority 15 minutes in when Juan opened the scoring. After Julio Baptista had added a second, celebrated in traditional style with a trademark samba routine, orchestrator-in-chief Robinho took his Copa America tally to six with two goals either side of half-time.
Further goals from Josue and Vagner Love sandwiched a solitary but nevertheless stunning reply from Humberto Suazo. Although a worthy candidate for goal of the tournament, it provided precious little consolation for the outclassed Chileans on a night that belonged to a rejuvenated Brazil.
The quarter-final action continues on Sunday evening when Mexico put their Copa credentials to the test against Paraguay in Maturin, and the hugely impressive Argentina fight it out with Peru in Barquisimeto.