There are occasions - very rare, special occasions that should never be forgotten - when Alan Shearer will provide a bit of insight. After England had stuttered to a disappointing 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their first game at Euro 96, it was left to Shearer to provide a bit of perspective. He pointed out that England had also drawn their opening game in 1966, 0-0 against Uruguay, and look what happened after that. Sure, England ended up losing to Germany on penalties in the semi-final, but Shearer was right: international tournaments tend to require you to channel your inner Gebrselassie, not your Bolt. There is an illogical strain to this theory, as a World Cup, for example, only consists of seven games, therefore resembling more of a sprint than a marathon, but what matters is game seven, not game one. Go through the ages and you'll find plenty of sides who have started tournaments brilliantly, only to end up empty-handed: Hungary in 54, Holland in 74, Brazil in 82, Argentina in 2006
and England in 2010. In those years, the eventual winners have tended to come out of nowhere, gradually building up steam as the tournament progressed. Even Spain lost their first game at last year's World Cup.
So perhaps Brazil shouldn't be too worried about their indifferent form in the group stages. They drew their first two games - one of which, funnily enough, was against Paraguay - and beat Ecuador 4-2 in their third match. There has been much consternation back home about the way they have performed, but the serious business only really gets going now. After a couple of patchy World Cups, Brazil are still reshaping their squad under Manolo Menezes. Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are no more; now the focus is on Neymar. This is a side essentially geared towards winning the 2014 World Cup on home soil, although this Copa America has suddenly opened up quite invitingly for them after Argentina's defeat to Uruguay. That said, this is still a Brazil side with plenty to prove. The yellow shirt may not be enough to provoke yellow bellies in the opposition right now. Particularly Paraguay, the Buzz Killington of international football.
Here's a depressing thought. Is international football now officially rubbish? England, after all, are the fourth best side in the world. Spain are so far ahead of the rest at the moment - Holland and Germany are both very good, but they aren't in the same class as them. Italy and France are decidedly average and Argentina are a rabble. No one's quite sure about what Brazil are made of yet, and it may not be another two years before we know in full. Compare the situation now to the quality on offer at World Cup 98 (Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Italy, Holland, even England) and Euro 2000 (France, Italy, Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, Holland). What happened? Did football peak? Is this it now? If you had to pick five current players who would make into a Hall of Fame, you may well struggle.
In the great tradition, here are your teams.
Brazil (4-2-3-1): Júlio César; Maicon, Lúcio, Thiago Silva, André Santos; Lucas Leiva, Ramires; Robinho, Ganso, Neymar; Pato. Subs: Victor, Jefferson, David Luiz, Alves, Fred, Elias, Jadson, Elano, Luisao.
Paraguay (4-4-2): Villar; Veron, da Silva, Alcaraz, Aureliano Torres; Vera, Caceres, Riveros, Estigarribia; Valdez, Barrios. Subs: Fernandez, Marecos, Piris, Caceres, Santana, Barreto, Ortigoza, Perez, Martinez, Zeballos, Santa Cruz.
Referee: Sergio Pezzotta
There's been some confusion over whether David Luiz or Thiago Silva starts in defence for Brazil. From what I can tell, it's the latter.
ESPN are currently showing highlights from Real Madrid's friendly against LA Galaxy. They'll be going straight into this match, as is their way. No time for messing.
We've missed the national anthems, assuming there were any. A shame, South American anthems are usually so brilliant.
1 min: And we're off. Paraguay have lost their last six quarter-finals in the Copa America. Oh dear. They get us going, kicking from left to right. It's a fairly confident start from Paraguay, camped as they are in Brazil's half. Let's see how long that continues though.
2 min: Well the Argentina v Uruguay match was pretty feisty last night, and this one has started in promising fashion. Lucas Barrios takes a tumble to the floor on the left touchline, going down holding his face after a supposed clash with Lucio. The defender protests his innocence; the referee takes no action against him.
3 min: There hasn't actually been a replay of the incident yet, so as far as we know, Lucio could have delivered a swinging right hook straight into Barrios's head. But probably not.
4 min: So Robinho still plays football? Who knew? Ramires has the first shot on goal, winning the ball off Ramires in Paraguay's half, storming forward and then belting a firm effort well over the top from 25 yards out.
5 min: Maicon - in the side instead of Dani Alves - Bebes a dismal cross out of play with team-mates to pick out in the middle after a speedy break from Brazil.
7 min: Brazil are causing problems now. Pato breaks clear down the inside-left channel, cutting into the area and on to his right foot. His attempted curler is blocked by the Paraguayan defender, but the ball only rebounds to Neymar, whose instant left-footed volley fizzes over the bar. Brazil look dangerous.
9 min: Football Weekly producer Ben Green emails me with what he calls the "Craziest. Penalty. Ever." Don't believe him? Well look for yourself. You'd have to be a bit disappointed with the keeper there. That was hit at Southgate-pace.
11 min: Ganso, apparently the most annoying Brazilian of the day, a true claim to fame, tumbles theatrically after a bump from Alcaraz. He doesn't get a free-kick. You wouldn't see Steven Gerrard behaving like that.
12 min: Nothing's really happened.
15 min: Barrios takes down a long pass on the edge of the area, and then collapses in a heap as Ramires steam through to win the ball. The referee is paying little attention to any amateur dramatics.
17 min: Brazil win their first corner of the evening as Maicon's cross is blocked behind. Villar comes out to punch Neymar's outswinger, but only succeeds in knocking the ball to Pato on the edge of the area. His mishit volley bounces up, and is only bettered by Veron, who slices his clearance out for another corner, which comes to nothing.
18 min: Neymar's being booed whenever he gets the ball, the stadium seemingly packed with hairdressers. "If you think that's a crazy penalty, check this out," says Mark.
19 min: "I thought Mano Menezes was meant to be turning Brazil into a vibrant attacking force that were easy on the eye?" says Liam Moseley. "I would rather watch Dunga's so called defensive Brazil than this lot. There appears to be no cohesion." They have been distinctly underwhelming so far. The team sheet isn't overly intimidating. I'd argue there isn't a single world class player outside of the back five.
21 min: Oh me, oh my, there's some zany Ben Green confusion going on here. "Have to be honest though, its not Ben Green from Football Weekly," says Ben Green but not that Ben Green. "My name is also Ben Green - one of the co-founders of 101 Great Goals. Think I met the other Ben Green at Carmelis back in the day..."
23 min: From a position just to the left of the area, Neymar hits the first man with his free-kick. This has been dire. It says they're Brazil ... but something's amiss.
25 min: The referee blows for the 457th free-kick of the match after some nondescript collision in midfield.
27 min: Neymar misses the best chance of the match so far, but does get a hug from Robinho as a reward. Brazil have done nothing in an attacking sense, but out of nothing, they were suddenly gifted an opportunity by Paraguay, who lost the ball just in front of their own area. The ball is worked to Robinho on the edge of the area, and he turns sharply before poking a beautiful pass to his right for Neymar. With a clear sight of goal, he takes the shot first time, but only manages to clip it pass the left post with his right foot. He holds his hands to his face, and grimaces, the look of a man who's feeling the pressure.
30 min: "Re. Robinho "still playing", I am certainly not one of his greatest fans but he actually played his part in (AC) Milan Serie A title this year, probably with less expectations than at Manchester City, he proved a rather good player," says Nicola Grassini. Perhaps, although he was a waste of space when they played Tottenham. "He really played some very good games. By the way, how can you prove to be worth the (unreasonable) money that Manchester City pay players in recent years? They can't buy a Maradona every time." I'd like to see them put Maradona in his current state up front. That would liven them up.
32 min: It seems I missed Vera getting booked a couple of minutes ago. It's not a surprise, he's just committed roughly his sixth foul on the match, a trip on Neymar on the left. He needs to be careful.
33 min: What a save from Villar! Although he might not have known too much about it! It looked like Neymar would take the free-kick, but suddenly Santos stepped up and clipped a peach of a cross into the six-yard box with his left foot. Lucio lost his marker with ease and slid in to make contact with the delivery. It was the sort of chance which tends to only need the attacker to make contact, but somehow Villar managed to get his body in the way of the ball to block Lucio's effort. Brazil should probably lead 2-0.
36 min: It's mostly been downhill for Paraguay since they kicked off. They've barely had a kick. Of the ball, anyway.
37 min: "For me the most disappointing aspect of international football is that certain sides do not conform to their stereotypes," says Liam Moseley. "I remember my Granddad telling me that sides such as Brazil and Holland were the entertainers and I should always look out for those games. However neither side is worthy of the tag entertainers. Holland because they would rather be pragmatic and Brazil because they are not good enough. Still at least England are stereotypical." And Uruguay. Everyone loves Uruguay. Not least Homer Simpson. What I'd really like to see is a Uruguay v Germany penalty shoot-out. It would be like Isner v Mahut.
39 min: Paraguay are giving Neymar the sort of treatment Sunday League sides usually reserve for the alice-band wearing dandy on the right wing. They're not even being subtle with their attempts to boot him up into the air.
40 min: Another chance for Brazil. Ramires slides a cracking pass inside Vera for the onrushing Santos. From a tight angle, he chooses the wrong option, blazing the ball wildly high and wide when it would have been less selfish and more productive to play a pass across the face of goal.
42 min: "On paper the team looks weak," notes Ben Dunn. "I don't rate the back five as much as yourself either. Although the continual overlooking of Pato as a world-class player is bizarre. He has already achieved much and appears to have that little something else. He's also slipping it to Berlusconi's daughter, so he obviously doesn't lack courage." Cesar, Maicon and Lucio are clearly all top players. As for Pato, has he really done that much? He's still very young though, but perhaps needs a move away from Italy, unless Milan manage to do anything in Europe this season.
44 min: Facts that sound true: Paraguay have never been involved in a good game.
45 min: Facts that are true: Paraguay are useless.
45+1: The commentator mentions Ganso, thereby reminding me that he's still on the pitch. Thanks Jim Proudfoot!
Peep! Peep! You'd be better off watching this instead.
Half time: Brazil 0-0 Paraguay.
Half time emails: "Could we have a little less pub talk and a few more facts, please?" whines John Hutchinson. Er, ok ... Paraguay gained independence from Spain in 1811. Panama hats aren't actually from Panama. Cockroaches would be the only creature on Earth to survive a nuclear war.
"You are absolutely right, international football is dead," says Roman Hosoff. "Spain is so good only because they play the Barcelona team. It's only a question of time when star players will choose not to take part. It's just that nobody wants to be the first one to do so." My colleague Scott Anthony suggested today that a penalty shoot-out World Cup could work. It would only take a day or two.
"5 top players," says Barry Ainslie. Xavi, Iniesta, Sneijder, Seedorf ... Ronaldo. S'pose. But there are plenty. Players are better than ever. There may even be an englishman among that list soon. I feel sick. This game is pish so far." I'm not sure if Sneijder, good though he is, would make it in yet. Seedorf probably belongs to another era, and you've missed Messi off. If you had to compile one from 10 years ago, where would you stop? Ronaldo, Henry, Zidane, Rivaldo, Bergkamp, Desailly, Shevchenko, Thuram, Scholes, Giggs, Nedved, Maldini, Mills - that's just to get the ball rolling.
46 min: We're off again. Excitement please! "I think we are under-estimating how much other nations still have pride in their country and judge their desire on our own warped one," says John. "If Brazil had taken a couple of those chances our perception of the game would have changed as we would have had the goals to remember. Brazil are young and raw so struggle to cope with the extra needed at international level but players like Neymar and Ganso will learn and Brazil will once again be a class above us in 2014. Of course us being British see learning experience as lack of desire and believe that desire is all that is needed to win major honours as our haul of the last forty years attests to." I take your point, but surely we can say what we see - the last World Cup was awful, and the quality at this year's Copa America hasn't been high. And I haven't mentioned anything about desire.
49 min: How on earth are Brazil not ahead? With seemingly nothing on, Pato somehow squeezes a reverse pass through to Neymar, who's all on his own in the area and played onside by the slack Torres. He cuts back inside, unwilling to use his weaker left foot, and then curls a shot past the statuesque Villar. It's on target, but the extra second allowed several Paraguay defenders to get back and the shot is blocked on the line. It comes out to Maicon on the right side of the area. He rams the ball back into the area, but a Paraguay defender gets his foot in the way.
50 min: Brazil are turning the screw. Now Pato drills a cross across the face of goal from the right, but no Brazil forward is there for an easy tap-in and Paraguay breathe a sigh of relief.
52 min: "Mills and Sinclair were the standouts for England in that World Cup," says Ben Dunn. "The Golden Generation. Dear, oh, dear. I happened across England squad for the 1998 world cup recently. That was by far the best group of players England has produced in a long time. Still not good enough to win anything, mind. If only Gazza had been included it would have been an almost definitive list of English players who could actually play since 1990." They almost certainly wouldn't have won it, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if England had won their group in 1998 - which they would have done but for Dan Petrescu. If they had done so, their route to the final would have been Croatia, Germany and France, rather than Argentina, Holland and Brazil. And actually, they should have beaten Argentina. It's all ifs and buts though.
55 min: Quite possibly the worst free-kick of all time. Brazil had it around 30 yards from goal, just to the left. Instead of shooting, Neymar rolled a pass to his right for Maicon, who suddenly lost all ability to use his body. He completely scuffed his shot, which dribbled forward all of three yards, straight to a Paraguay defender. Dear me. I'm not sure if it was powerful enough, but if a defender hadn't been there, it was heading in the general direction of the left touchline. That was hilarious. Moments later, Neymar has a better effort, dragging a low effort just wide of the right post from long range with Villar worried.
56 min: Andre Santos goes into the book for a foul on Valdez on the right.
60 min: And now Maicon is booked, despite hardly touching Estigarribia. That means both Brazil full-backs are on yellow cards. "I am a big follower of AC Milan and watched almost all of their games this season," says Dave Steiner. "In response to Nicola Grassini's comments: I would say yes Robinho was better than at city - but really how difficult could that be - the problem is whilst he scored maybe 13 he wasted an incredible amount of chances and possession - his decision making and general maturity is still more like that of show-boating schoolboy..."
61 min: "It is not just international football that appears to be dead club football is heading that way too," says Liam Moseley. "What is there to look forward to in the new season? The same teams winning? Buying all the good players so no other sides can challenge? There is some joy to be had in Barcelona's brilliance but even that is tainted by the fact they are so vastly superior to everyone else it is almost laughable. You are also right about the number of world class players available and this is having an impact on the standard of international tournaments. Maybe I am just a glass half full man." You're right. this is a strange time for football. Ah well, maybe chess boxing will be the next big thing.
63 min: Brazil stream forward once more, lovely skill from Ganso taking him past two Paraguay midfielders. He spreads play out to the right for Maicon, who storms inside, past Torres. He just appeared to overrun the ball, but Robinho arrived on the scene to whip a first time shot a few yards past the right post from the edge of the area. It looked closer than it was. He didn't quite get enough curl on the shot. Paraguay respond by bringing on Barreto for Vera.
65 min: Now that's how to make an impact on the game. Barely one minute after coming on, Barreto earns a booking straight away for a foul on Neymar. Who does he think he is, John Moncur?
67 min: That's a fantastic save from Villar. Lucio burst forward down the left, and sent a cross into the area, which was deflected out to Ganso. He took a touch and then as the ball sat up nicely, he cracked a low volley with his left foot towards the bottom-right corner, forcing Villar to plunge to his left and push the ball aside. Brilliant goalkeeping.
71 min: Torres, who has gone down with a hamstring injury, is replaced by Marecos, a straight swap at left-back.
72 min: Just like Barreto before him, Marecos is booked immediately after coming on for a crude foul on Robinho. Did those two have a bet on over who could get booked quicker? What a farce! Brazil have a free-kick on the right anyway.
73 min: And again, Villar saves Paraguay! Like Muslera for Uruguay last night, he will not be beaten. Although I'm fully expecting him to throw one into his own net now. From the right, Neymar whipped a free-kick into the box. The delivery wasn't particularly great, but somehow managed to squeeze through to Pato, who was totally unmarked in the middle of the area. With loads of time, he was able to chest the ball down, before trying to volley past Villar, who had anticipated the danger and came charging off his line to block the shot, with his outstretched leg. Astonishing. Pato was six yards out but there wasn't much more he could have done there. What a superb save.
74 min: Neymar has been off getting treatment after taking a knock.
78 min: Ganso's backheel gives Santos room to charge forward. He knocks a pass through to Neymar, but his attempted cross is blocked by Alcaraz and loops up easily for Villar to collect.
80 min: Neymar, who has been decent, is replaced by Fred, who got Brazil's equaliser against Paraguay last week. As Neymar runs off, the camera focuses on a Paraguay fan shouting "Puta! Puta! Puta!" Charming.
81 min: It simply will not go in for Brazil, and they may be starting to think it's not going to be their night. They've had enough chances to win this match three times over, but still it remains goalless. Robinho went on a fantastic run through the middle and then worked an excellent pass through to Pato. His touch to take him away from the Paraguay defence was heavy, and gave Villar enough encouragement to come racing off his line to meet the striker. Pato tried to lift the ball over the goalkeeper who - obviously - blocked the effort. The ball rebounded up and over him though, but Pato, on the stretch, could only head a much more difficult chance into the side netting. How on earth are Brazil not winning? This is ludicrous!
82 min: Incredible! From Ganso's inswinging corner on the left, Fred escapes his marker and heads past Villar - only for Barreto head off the line! Paraguay are going to win this 1-0 on penalties. Meanwhile Perez has come on for Barrios, who fell over a bit and did not much else.
85 min: This is hilarious.
87 min: I can't believe it's still 0-0. Paraguay aren't even really worth the nil.
88 min: At long last, Barreto has Paraguay's first shot on target from 25 yards out. Thiago Silva dived in front of him to take the sting out of the effort though - perhaps with the aid of his hands - and Cesar's save was simple enough.
90 min: 'Hey,' think Paraguay, 'This shooting lark is fun!' Inspired by Barreto, now Valdez has a pop from 25 yards out. Decent, but wide of the left post. "Not sure which feed you're watching, but Argentina's TV Publico have just been replaying Fred's chance that was headed off the line & seemed to suggest that it had gone in," says Kat Petersen. They showed it again on ESPN, but it seemed way too close to call.
90 min+1: Robinho twists and turns and sends a cross into the area from the right, but it's headed away.
90 min+3: With the last attack of the game, Lucas of all people finds himself clear on the right side of the area. He takes a shade too long however and ends up dragging his shot into the six-yard box, allowing Da Silva to hack clear. He should have at least worked Villar, but it was the work of a defensive midfielder.
Peep! Peep! Peep! It will be extra time then.
Full time: Brazil 0-0 Villar.
91 min: Brazil, kicking from right to left, get extra time underway. They attack straight away, but Fred's shot from the edge of the area is far too weak.
92 min: On the left touchline, Robinho turns and knocks the ball straight out of play for a throw-in. How strange, rather like when the computer misreads your intentions on Fifa.
95 min: The lively Perez goes over Ramires's outstretched leg on the right. Barreto's free-kick is woefully overcooked though. Paraguay's set-pieces have been abysmal.
96 min: Robinho goes past two Paraguay midfielders with two neat stepovers in quick succession. Lovely skill. He then sprays it out to Pato on the left, but his cross is too close to Villar.
98 min: I didn't see the first game between these two sides, but I heard that Estigarribia tore Dani Alves a new one. Tonight he has done absolutely bugger all.
99 min: Atrocious defending from Da Silva nearly gifts Brazil a penalty for handball. On the left, Santos tried to bend a cross into the area. He got it all wrong, and it was going to run through to Villar. Instead Da Silva decided to stoop down and head the ball away, but as he bent over, the ball died on the turf and bounced up against his chest. Brazil appeal for handball. It wasn't, but there wouldn't have been much Da Silva could have done if the ball had been slightly to the left. He acts as if it all went to plan though. The cheek.
100 min: Brazil bring on Lucas (not Lucas Leiva, who was already on) for Ganso.
102 min: That's one way to solve the Lucas conundrum! Lucas Leiva is sent off, along with Alcaraz! Both sides are down to ten men! Out of nowhere, a mass brawl erupted in Brazil's half, both teams piling in. It all came from a fairly meaty challenge from Lucio on Estigarribia, which left much to be desired. That got Paraguay into a hot funk, Valdez and Alcaraz the main perpetrators. Alcaraz completely lost his head and threw a punch at Lucas Leiva, earning him a red card. Lucas seems to have been sent off for being punched. It's not immediately clear what he did wrong, although he was stupid to get involved.
Peep! Peep! And that's half time in extra time. Well that suddenly exploded into life. Of course, we'll all pretend we don't like to see that sort of thing ... but we do really. Lucas Leiva did appear to have a nibble at someone's ankle and wasn't exactly playing the peacemaker. Valdez's conduct was fairly risible too.
106 min: Paraguay get us going again. What a preposterous game.
107 min: "Agree that international football, or at least its top teams, are not at the level of 1998 and 2000 (France, Italy, Portugal, England especially), but there is not much in it to be honest," says Jamie Fox. "The current Spain would have beaten any of the 1998 teams and the current Germany is better than the 1998 and 2000 Germany. Same for top invididuals. I can't think of any players in 1998/2000 apart from Ronaldo (Bra) and Zidane that were as good or better as Ronaldo (Portugal), Messi and Xavi are now, although I might have forgotten one or two. The 1998 England squad was very good team on paper but you do have to factor in that many of those players were either past their peak or hadn't peaked yet. For some reason 98 David Seaman was nowhere good as 1996 David Seaman, and 1998 David Beckham was nowhere near the 1999-2001 version. At the end of the day if they were that good they would have got the draw at least against Romania. I think the 1990, 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2006 England teams were all about the same level. The 2010/2011 team of course is a fair bit below." France v Spain would have been a very tight match. Look at the team France had at Euro 2000. The first three England teams were miles ahead of the last two as well. They were a risible shower.
108 min: It's attack v defence. You don't need me to tell you which team is which.
110 min: Robinho's cross to Fred is headed down to the edge of the area, but Lucas's shot is blocked by the impeccable Da Silva.
111 min: Thiago Silva's histrionics earn Estigarribia an unwarranted booking. Modern football, eh? Elano comes on for Pato, Brazil's final roll of the dice.
112 min: "Brawling?" says Gary Naylor. "Disgraceful. Sets a bad example. Terrible reflection on the game. Have you got a youtube link yet?"
113 min: We're seven minutes away from Paraguay's 1-0 win on penalties.
114 min: They're an exceptionally tedious team, but you can't help but admire Paraguay's sheer stubbornness.
117 min: Brazil have run out of ideas.
118 min: Paraguay, who are dead on their feet, somehow summon up the energy to mount one last counter-attack. Estigarribia found space on the left and clipped a sumptuous pass over the head of Thiago Silva and on to the boot of Valdez. On the edge of the area, he let the ball drop and then walloped a first-time volley back across goal and wide of the left post, rather like Shaun Bartlett for Charlton against Leicester in 2001. All that defending, and then they nearly come up with one of the best goals you would have seen for a long time. And one of the least deserved as well.
Peep! Peep! Peep! The referee blows his final whistle, much to the fury of Valdez, who was about to start another counter-attack for Paraguay! Oh yeah, start attacking in the 122nd minute. To be fair, his fury is kind of understandable as the same thing happened at the end of normal time. So, penalties it is then. Paraguay need Villar to be a hero again. Brazil can hardly believe it. They're the team with everything to lose.
So we'll have penalties. Argentina and Brazil out at the same stage by the same method against teams ending with 'guay'? What a story that would be.
A hug for Villar from a substitute before we begin. You wouldn't back against him tonight. Brazil are in a huddle.
PENALTIES: Brazil* 0-0 Paraguay: Elano, who has barely had a touch of the ball since coming on, will take the first kick for Brazil. He takes a huge run-up and wafts an atrocious penalty miles over the bar! Jaap Stam has nothing on this! Good Lord, that was terrible. Low-flying aircraft, watch out.
PENALTIES: Brazil 0-0 Paraguay*: Brazil are reprieved! Barreto hits it low, hard and wide of the left post! Cesar went the right way, but it didn't matter in the end. CAN SOMEBODY JUST PLEASE SCORE A GOAL?
PENALTIES: Brazil* 0-0 Paraguay: Both teams are unhappy with the penalty spot, but there's no change of ends. Thiago Silva steps up for Brazil but although he gets his effort on target, it's not a great penalty! He sidefoots it towards the bottom-right corner, but Villar goes the right way and easily parries it away. What clowns!
PENALTIES: Brazil 0-1 Paraguay*: A goal! An actual goal! At last! And Paraguay lead in the shoot-out! The shock is on the cards and so is my prediction. Estigarribia just slammed his penalty down the middle with his left foot, Cesar diving to his left and out of the way. He had no chance.
PENALTIES: Brazil* 0-1 Paraguay: Three penalties for Brazil, three misses for Brazil! What the hell is going on? This is unbelievable! Santos becomes the fifth player to fall prey to the penalty spot, which seems to be made out of sand. As he steps up, his left leg gives away in the style of David Beckham and his effort flies over.
PENALTIES: Brazil 0-2 Paraguay*: Brazil are on the brink! Christian Riveros hits it high into the roof of the net right foot, Cesar again diving to his left and given no chance. Now Brazil have to score.
PARAGUAY WIN 2-0 ON PENALTIES! Fred has to score to keep Brazil in with a shout. He takes a long run-up and then sidefoots wide of the left post with his right foot! Ha! Ha ha ha! This is surreal! Brazil are out!
You'll have to go some to see a more shambolic set of penalties than that. Brazil took four penalties and missed all of them, failing even to hit the target with three of them. Even Martin Palermo did better than that. Even England could do better than that. Don't give much credence to the complaints about the state of the penalty spot - Paraguay scored two out of three. Argentina and Brazil are both out. Who would have predicted that? It's anyone's tournament now. Thanks for all your emails. Bye.