Sluggish Brazil faces stiff Uruguayan test in Copa America quarterfinals, ‘dull’ England lucky to still be in Euro 2024

Vinicius Junior

Argentina scraped into the semifinals of the Copa America this morning after beating Ecuador 4-2 on penalties. The match ended 1-1, but its arch-rival Brazil will only be in action on July 7 (9am).

Although a five-time world champion, Brazil has traditionally flattered to deceive in the Copa America, winning nine times, while Argentina and Uruguay are joint record winners, with 15 crowns each.

Paraguay, Peru, and Chile were champions twice, while Bolivia and Colombia have one title each.

Entering this year’s tournament, the legendary Ronaldinho expressed disappointment with the ‘Samba Boys’ and Brazil’s slow start – drawing 0-0 against Costa Rica, winning 4-1 against Paraguay, and ending the group stage with a 1-1 draw against Colombia – which seemed to support his belief.

The former Barcelona man, however, later backtracked on his comments, saying his harsh words were meant to motivate the national team.

Those words have yet to have the desired effect, as Brazil’s play has been as exciting as Gareth Southgate’s tactics in the Euro 2024 competition!

Brazil will face a rejuvenated Uruguay in the last eight, minus the suspended Vinicius Junior (main image). Its opponent is on fire after scoring a tournament-high nine goals in three group games.

If it can beat Uruguay, the possibility of a final against Argentina would be a step closer to realisation.

However, in Darwin Nunez, Uruguay has a striker who can terrorise defenders but is prone to muffing his chances.

The other quarterfinals are between Venezuela and Canada (9am, July 6) and Colombia vs Panama (6am, July 7).

Over in Europe, the blockbuster quarterfinal draw is between Germany and Spain, two nations that have won the title a record three times each.

The match is worthy of the final, but sadly, one will exit the tournament after their match on July 6 – kickoff is at midnight. The other teams in their bracket are France and Portugal, which meet three hours later.

Any of these four teams are good enough to win the tournament, but luck seems to be on the sleep-inducing English team.

Southgate’s tactics have put English supporters to sleep, with photographs of their fans sleeping during matches making their rounds earlier in the tournament.

England takes on Switzerland on July 7 (midnight), while the Netherlands faces Turkey three hours later.

Although Southgate’s tactics have made him the butt of jokes, he is ready to take charge of the Three Lions for the 100th time.

Walter Winterbottom (139) and Alf Ramsey (113) are the only other England managers who reached a century of games.

Love him or hate him, on paper, Southgate is a success, but as the great Brian Clough once said: “Unfortunately, the game is played on grass.”