Mexico, Argentina in semis

Maturin, July 9:

Mexico cruised to a 6-0 rout of a shorthanded Paraguay squad, advancing to the semi-finals

of the Copa America on Sunday. Mexico will face Argentina —who beat Peru 4-0 — in Wednesday’s semi-final.

Mexico were in control from as early as the second minute when a woeful back-pass from Julio Cesar Caceres allowed Nery Castillo to get a clear run on goal which was crudely halted by Paraguay goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla.

Bobadilla was shown the red card and Cazstillo slotted home the spot-kick past replacement custodian Joel Zayas.

The Guaranies went on making mistakes and it cost them a second goal in the 26th minute when Juan Carlos Cacho burst through midfield without a challenge before laying the ball off to Gerardo Torrado and his rising drive flew past the helpless Zayas.

Twelve minutes later, Castillo proved why he has been one of the Copa America’s outstanding performers with his fourth goal of the tournament — a fine volley from the edge of the area.

Castillo was taken off nine minutes into the second half with a leg injury but it is not expected to keep him out of the last four clash against either Argentina.

Caceres threatened a consolation for Paraguay with a header which was well saved by Oswaldo Sanchez but it only spurred Mexico into action and they made it 4-0 when Fernando Arce fired a shot over Zayas from 20 yards.

Paraguay’s misery was not yet complete and Mexico added two more goals before the final whistle. In Sunday’s second game, Argentina continued the high-scoring trend in the quarter-finals as a second-half salvo saw Alfio Basile’s side thrash Peru in Barquismeto. Juan Roman Riquelme’s double plus goals from Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano keyed the victory.

With Brazil beating Chile 6-1, and Colombia ousting hosts Venezuela 4-1, the last eight has certainly not been short on goals, although for a while that looked like it was going to be the case in Barquisimeto. A frustrating opening 45 minutes for Argentina ended scoreless as Diego Milito failed to make any impact against the Peruvian defence.

However, Basile brought on Carlos Tevez for Milito during the interval and that made the difference as Riquelme and Messi came into their own.