Copa America: Uruguay upsets favorites Argentina on penality kicks, 5-4

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Argentina is out of the Copa America after losing to Uruguay Saturday, 5-4 on penalty kicks. The regular game saw a 1-1 tie, with several penalties throughout.

Carlos Tevez, a forward for Argentina, was the only player to miss a penalty kick in the final moments of the game. His shot was low and to the left of the goal, but was blocked by Fernando Muslera, Uruguay’s goalkeeper.

Each team scored one goal early during regular time. Uruguay’s defensive midfielder Diego Perez scored a goal in the 5 minute of play, and striker Gonzalo Higuaín added a goal to Argentina’s total in the 17 minute.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez claimed that Argentina’s striker Lionel Messi kept Uruguay off-balance.

“Argentina has a good attack, especially with Messi,” Tabarez told reporters in a press conference after the game. “But, after 90 minutes, we were better.”

All the more surprising that Argentina couldn’t score was the red card given out in the 38 minute to Uruguay striker Perez, removing him from the game, in a contest rife with fouls–in the 86 minute the game saw its second red card, with a total of 10 cards given out over the course of the game.

This is a tremendous letdown for Argentina. The team has been heavily favored to win the tournament, despite losing their group to Colombia. Colombia lost earlier tonight to Peru–who expect to play Uruguay in the semifinals. Also, Uruguay is an age-old rival of Argentina. The two countries have competing tournament championship records, and regularly face each other in finals matches. Uruguay has won the Copa America three times, with the last time in 1995, and took fourth place in 2007. Argentina has won 14 times since the beginning of the tournament, the last in 1993.

“I’m very happy,” Tabarez said. “Because historically, it cost us a lot to beat Argentina.”

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