Brazil out, Uruguay win on penalties, most fouls in Copa America 2024

If you were expecting a beautiful and free-flowing match between two giants of South America, you picked the wrong game.

It was the filthiest match of this year’s Copa America so far with 41 fouls, surpassing the 37 in Chile’s 0-0 draw with Peru on Day 2. Uruguay’s Nahitan Nandez was also sent off for a lunge on Rodrigo and there were four other yellow cards on a rowdy evening at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

After 90 minutes of stoppage time, which witnessed many offensive attempts and almost missed opportunities, the two teams resorted to penalty kicks, which were decided by Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa in his favor in the semi-final against Colombia. As for Brazil, it was eliminated from the tournament.

Jack Lang and Thom Harris explain the chaos…


What happened in the penalty shootout?

There was more jostling and pressure before the penalty shootout began, as Uruguay’s 10 players tried to make their presence felt.

Eder Militao went first for Brazil and had a shot saved by Sergio Rochet.


(Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Uruguay scored their first three penalties before Douglas Luiz hit the post and Jose Maria Gimenez missed.

In the end, Manuel Ugarte scored the decisive penalty kick for Uruguay, who won 4-2 in the shootout.


Uruguay celebrate reaching the semi-finals (Ian Mowley/Getty Images)

How did Uruguay stop Brazil?

Top level footballers are used to being pressured by the opposing team. When you have the ball, the other team wants it back. It’s a law of nature.

But playing against a Bielsa-based team is a different story. His players don’t close down opponents so much as harass them in groups of two, three or four. It’s frankly horrific to deal with. It’s one of the toughest tests you’ll ever face.

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Brazil has struggled hard here.

Alisson often simply passed the ball forward, without directing it to anyone in particular. When they tried to pass it out from the back, the whole process looked risky. Joao Gomes was robbed several times, but he was not the only one who failed the test. It was no coincidence that the Seleção’s best chances came from scattered, disorganised pieces of play; there was no sense that they were building their attacks in any organised way.

Uruguay, Brazil


Uruguay disrupts Brazil’s rhythm (Robin Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

There was a slight dip in Uruguay’s performance after the break. It is difficult to maintain that level of intensity for 90 minutes. The annoying thing for Brazil was that they were unable to execute any convincing patterns of play. They looked like a team waiting for something to happen. Even when Uruguay played with 10 men, there was no real sense that the Seleção were starting to press. This is not the first time in the Copa America that the Seleção have lacked fluidity.

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On the one hand, this can be forgiven. The team is still in the process of being built. Dorival Junior only took over in March, and things were even worse before he took over. He talks a lot about “following the lead.” It is fair to say that there are positives to be taken from the way Brazil managed to hold off Uruguay’s energetic attack.

But this is Brazil. It is easy to lose on penalties to a good team, but there is an expectation – self-imposed, of course, but no less strong than Dorival’s – that Brazil will be champions, and Dorival is well aware of that. Indeed, as Brazil were doing their best, it was hard not to recall Andreas Pereira’s provocative words on the eve of the match. “Uruguay dreams of having a Brazilian team,” he said.

Not based on this evidence, they don’t.

Jack Lang


How did Endrick get that?

The 17-year-old made his Brazil debut as Vinicius Junior, who was watching from the stands, was suspended after accumulating yellow cards in the group stage.

Officially, Endrick only had three fouls in the first 45 minutes of the game. Anyone watching the game will be able to tell you that statistic is… wrong.

Tournament football is ruthless – and winning only matters at international level – so it is no surprise that Uruguay chose to test the resolve of their young and inexperienced striker from the start. In a game like this – tense, tense and with everything at stake – any hint of weakness is a potentially valuable way forward.

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Endrick certainly didn’t get fouled in the second half, which is a testament to his good character. Endrick recovered from most of the attempts thrown at him. Even when the referee’s whistle didn’t save him – as happened after Federico Valverde collided with him in the 18th minute – he got back to his feet quickly, only to be struck again by Ronald Araujo, this time in a subtle and merciless manner, while the ball was wide.

Endrick

Aside from the physical battle, Indrick didn’t have much to work with in a cautious but competitive game.

Most of the match was played in the central third of the pitch, with Uruguay’s relentless individual pressure leaving no chance for any Brazilian player in the attacking half. Endrick was moving from side to side, trying to get the ball, but whenever he received it, the South American giant was chasing him, and he would have been better off shooting with his left foot with six minutes left.

Tom Harris


Was Nandez’s red card justified?

In short, yes.

Despite all the good play, it was a fiercely competitive match, and the physicality got a little out of hand. There were 41 fouls (26 by Uruguay and 15 by Brazil) – the most in the tournament so far – and the referee justifiably penalised players for more heavy collisions and back pushes throughout the match.

Nandez is a little customer with a fork, a true embodiment of what Uruguayans call “gara charro,” their characteristic never-give-up attitude. His aggression and desire to get ahead of his opponent also embody the goal of the Bielsa system, which seeks to win the ball back as quickly as possible and as close to the opponent’s goal as possible.

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The fact that he plays at right-back is testament to his willingness to push the boundaries: he is a midfielder by profession. If you’re being generous, you might describe his tackle on Rodrygo as a midfielder’s tackle. Either way, it was a brutal and dangerous challenge. The only surprise was that a VAR review was required to reach this conclusion, and to replace the initial yellow card with a red.

Uruguay


Nandez tried to plead with referee Dario Herrera (Robin Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The still image was devastating, with the spikes hitting Rodrygo’s leg hard. It was Nandez’s 12th foul of the tournament – only Brazil’s Bruno Guimaraes has committed more.

Uruguay managed to escape defeat, but with Araujo injured and Nandez suspended, they will enter the semi-final against Colombia, who have not lost in two years and are without two of their defensive pillars.

Tom Harris and Jack Lang


What did Dorival Junior say?

“There were positives during the matches, and obviously after a match like this, all the good things are cancelled out, I am aware of that,” he said after the match.

“We didn’t play at a great level technically, but we fought. We never stopped looking for results. We were brave. There are more positives than negatives in this campaign.

“It wasn’t a great day in terms of creativity. The defence was better than the attacks.”


What did Marcelo Bielsa say?

“It was a game with few chances, very controversial, very even,” he admitted.

“With one less player, we had to defend deep, but we didn’t allow a chance in the second half.”


What’s next for each team?

Uruguay will face Colombia in the semifinals on Wednesday, July 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC).

Brazil was eliminated from the tournament.


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(Top image: Getty Images)

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