Thiago Silva and Roberto Firmino scored either side of halftime to fire Brazil to a 2-1 win over Venezuela at the Copa America on Sunday, sending the five-times world champions into a quarter-final meeting with Paraguay.
The victory completed the quarter-final line up that will see hosts Chile face Uruguay on Wednesday, Peru take on Bolivia on Thursday, and Colombia line up against Argentina on Friday.
Saturday’s tie between Brazil and Paraguay will be a repeat of four years ago when the Paraguayans advanced on penalties.
“Paraguay is a hard opponent, anyone who watched the last Copa America could see that they got to the final and deservedly so,” defender Thiago Silva said on Brazilian television after the game.
Venezuela had never beaten Brazil in six Copa America games and their job was made all the harder after just nine minutes.
Thiago Silva, recalled to the side for this match after being dropped, opened the scoring in spectacular style when he volleyed home a corner from former Real Madrid striker Robinho.
Firmino doubled their lead six minutes into the second half when he leapt to volley home a cross from Willian on the left.
Nicolas Fedor got a consolation goal for Venezuela six minutes from time when he stooped to head home from close range after Jefferson had touched a free kick from Juan Arango onto the post.
The result takes Brazil’s goalscoring record against Venezuela in the Copa America to 27 goals for to two against.
Colombia were left sweating on their Copa America hopes after a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Peru on Sunday.
The result took Peru into the quarter-finals but Colombia’s advance is dependent on the result of the day’s later match between Brazil and Venezuela.
Colombia were the better side and Peruvian keeper Pedro Gallese got down well to stop Radamel Falcao opening the scoring in the third minute. Pablo Armero then shot into the side netting after a defence splitting pass from James Rodriguez.
Jackson Martinez missed a great chance to guarantee Colombia’s advance when he scuffed a weak shot straight at the keeper in injury time.
The draw left both Colombia and Peru with four points in Group C and ended Ecuador’s chances of progressing as one of the two best third-placed teams.
The winner of Group C will play Paraguay in the quarter finals, while the team in second place will face Bolivia. Uruguay, one of the guaranteed best third-place teams, face hosts Chile.