Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Brazil scrape past Ecuador

AP, BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela

Brazil's Robinho bites his shirt after missing a chance to score against Ecuador in Match 16 of the Copa America soccer tournament in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

Brazil's 1-0 victory over Ecuador and Chile's scoreless draw with already qualified Mexico were enough for both teams to advance to the Copa America quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Yesterday, already qualified Argentina and Paraguay squared off in Barquisimeto to see who would finish atop Group C. The winner will play Peru in the quarter-finals, while the runner-up must take on Mexico.

The US and Colombia also met yesterday, but the match was a mere formality as neither could progress in this South American national championships.

A disputed Robinho penalty in the 56th minute was the only spark in Brazil's victory over Ecuador, who go home winless despite bringing an experienced squad that qualified for the past two World Cups.

With the victory, Brazil placed second in Group B, one point behind Mexico.

But heading into the quarter-final against Chile, which it beat 3-0 in their group game, the five-time World Cup champion continues to struggle offensively, having scored only two goals from open play in three matches.

After routing Brazil and Ecuador, Mexico settled for a scoreless draw against Chile.

The "Tri" came to Venezuela heavily bandaged after losing the CONACAF Gold Cup finals 2-1 against the US. But despite missing several regular starters due to injuries, including all-time leading scorer Jared Borgetti, Mexico have been among the fiercest attacking teams in the tournament.

They now must await the outcome of the Paraguay-Argentina decider to determine their quarter-final opponent, but head coach Hugo Sanchez is pounding his chest.

"Whether its Paraguay or Argentina, I'm sure neither wants to play against Mexico," he said on Wednesday.

Joining Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina in the final eight are Venezuela, Peru and Uruguay.

Argentina are expected to rest several starters against Paraguay.

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