The Copa America 2011 has been full of surprises and the quarter finals well and truly took the biscuit, with Brazil and Argentina both being eliminated on penalty shoot-outs. Remarkably, Brazil failed to score a single spot kick against Paraguay and the semi-finals therefore have a very unusual look about them.
To compound matters, the highly-rated Chile were beaten 2-1 by Venezuela in San Juan and that means that it is Uruguay who are red hot favourites to win the tournament, with Oscar Tabarez’s team having beaten hosts Argentina in a penalty shoot-out after spending most of their quarter final playing with ten men.
Uruguay are 10/11 with Paddy Power (£100 free betting) to land the 2011 Copa America, although we should know by now that blindly backing the favourite in this tournament is not a wise policy. La Celeste meet Peru on Tuesday and the teams played out a 1-1 draw during the group stages which saw the latter take the lead.
The Peruvians have gone on to beat Colombia in the quarter finals (after extra-time) and can be backed at 9/1 (Boylesports) to win the tournament, something which would have been an unthinkable prospect three weeks ago.
La Blanquirroja are available at 4/1 (Ladbrokes – £30 free bet) to win their semi-final against the Uruguayans in normal time and 5/2 with the same firm to qualify, something that makes appeal considering the way that they were able to contain Colombia.
It is a question of how Peru might hold the Uruguay attack at bay, with the latter likely to adopt a far more attacking strategy than they did against Argentina, with bet365 offering 1/3 that the 2010 World Cup semi-finalists go through and 9/2 (Boylesports) that they win in ninety minutes.
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was on the scoresheet when the teams met during the group stage and he is 5/1 (William Hill) to open the scoring, while Diego Forlan is 11/2 with the same firm.
The second semi-final takes place not between Brazil and Chile but between Paraguay and Venezuela, with the former strong favourites to claim victory at even money (bet365 – £200 free bets). Los Guaraníes were pretty impressive in the 2010 World Cup and they were able to put the shackles on Brazil in their last eight match before the 2014 World Cup hosts combusted in the shoot-out.
Venezuela are the surprise package of the Copa America and they played their part in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Paraguay during the group stages, which saw them score two late goals to pinch a point. Boylesports make them a 10/3 chance to win this match in normal time and they are 6/1 with Paddy Power to win the tournament having been 600/1 before it began.