Copa America 2019: Semifinals Schedule, Power Rankings

Only four teams are left standing in the Copa America as South American soccer's biggest rivalry kicks off semifinals proceedings on Tuesday.

Brazil required a penalty shootout to overcome Paraguay, while Argentina negotiated a potentially tricky match against Venezuela to secure a 2-0 win. Like Brazil, Chile and Peru also needed penalty shootouts to eliminate Colombia and Uruguay respectively.

Here, Newsweek ranks all the teams that have progressed to the semifinals.

Brazil

It is hard to know what to make of Brazil. Accomplished but not impressive in the first two games of the tournament, the Selecao hammered Peru 5-0 in the final group stage game—but then struggled against underwhelming Paraguay side in the quarterfinals.

Gabriel Jesus was the hero in the shootout, converting the crucial penalty and at least temporarily holding off any inquests over Tite and his time in charge of the national team.

Like all his predecessors, Brazil's coach has no option other than winning. Trophies, however, have been few and far between for the Selecao, who aside from the Confederations Cup in 2009 and 2013 last won a major tournament 12 years ago.

As Brazil found out in 2014, home advantage is often tempered by febrile expectations and playing Argentina in the semifinals is unlikely to have a calming influence on the fans.

They can, however, find some solace in the history books. Brazil has won 41 of the previous meetings between the sides, with Argentina prevailing 38 times and 26 draws. Crucially, however, in official meetings, Argentina leads 18-17.

Gabriel Jesus, Copa America
Gabriel Jesus of Brazil is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the winning penalty in the shoot out following during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Brazil and Paraguay at Arena do Gremio on June 27 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Koji Watanabe/Getty

Argentina

After a distinctively unimpressive group stage, facing Venezuela in the quarterfinals looked exactly like the kind of banana skin that had so often accounted for Argentina in the past. Whether by design or by accident, Lionel Scaloni appears to have found a formula that allows his team to play with more fluidity, with Lionel Messi deployed behind Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez.

As usual when it comes to Argentina, however, balance is both delicate and short-lived. If Brazil is facing the weight of expectations in the semifinal, La Seleccion will be under just as much pressure.

The criticism of Messi's impact on the international stage will never go away until he wins a major trophy with Argentina and, at 32, he is rapidly running out of chances.

Four-time finalists in the last five editions, Argentina will probably be favorite to end a 26-year wait for a Copa America title—but to do so it must first upset the hosts.

Lionel Messi, Copa America
Lautaro Martinez of Argentina celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring the opening goal during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Argentina and Venezuela at Maracana Stadium on June 28, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lucas Uebel/Getty

Chile

There's an argument to suggest Chile has overachieved at this Copa America so far. That might sound counter-intuitive considering La Roja won the last two editions of the tournament, but this year was supposed to be a step too far for Chile's aging squad.

Instead, Reinaldo Rueda's team has come out fighting, relying heavily on its most-experienced stars. Chile only lost to Uruguay in the group stages, before knocking out Colombia on penalties.

After a dismal 18 months at Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez has rediscovered his old self, scoring twice in four games—it took him 27 games to reach the same amount at club level for the Red Devils.

Fellow veteran Arturo Vidal has been a key influence in midfield. Chile's experience might play into its hands in the semifinal against Peru but fatigue might eventually tell for a squad reaching the ends of its shelf life—eight of the players in the starting XI against Colombia were on the wrong side of 30.

Father Time will eventually catch up with Chile's Golden Generation, but it remains to be seen whether La Roja can hold it off long enough to claim a third consecutive Copa America triumph.

Peru

As is the case with Chile, Peru has done way more than expected by going so far in the tournament.

Ricardo Gareca's men beat only Bolivia in the group stages, where they were on the receiving end of a 5-0 shellacking by Brazil. However, they regrouped and eliminated Uruguay on penalties in what has probably been the biggest upset of the tournament so far.

Jefferson Farfan's injury has deprived Peru of its main attacking weapon and Gareca's charges will again rely heavily on physicality against Chile. The role of the underdogs suits Peru just fine and few would be surprised if Wednesday turned out to be a war of attrition.

Schedule

Tuesday, July 2

  • Brazil vs Argentina 8:30 p.m., ESPN+, Telemundo

Wednesday, July 3

  • Chile vs Peru 8:30 p.m., ESPN+, Telemundo