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Willian does not get his showdown with Messi, as Paraguay prevail against Brazil, again

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Paraguay eliminate Brazil on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Before a ball was even kicked in the quarterfinals, Willian had already spoken of how much he "relished" a potential matchup in the semifinals against the "incomparable" Lionel Messi.  Obviously he did not do this without a prompting question.

"Undoubtedly it is always great to play for Brazil against Argentina, and if it happens it will be really cool. Everyone dreams of playing against Argentina. We are getting ready for the possibility of that happening, but we must not get ahead of ourselves."

-Willian; source: Mail

A good bit of the story ahead of the Copa América quarterfinals concentrated on this potential semifinal matchup of Argentina and Brazil, almost daring both teams to overlook their immediate opposition.  Argentina needed penalty kicks to eliminate Colombia, though that was mostly down to Colombia's staunch defensive display.  Brazil and Paraguay went to penalty kicks as well, and most of that was down to Brazil's own lackadaisical display.  They failed to build on an early Robinho goal and Paraguay eventually conjured enough confidence to force an equalizer — Thiago Silva giving away another penalty kick with a flying handball (just like against Chelsea in the Champions League).  Derlis González made no mistake there, nor did he miss in the penalty kick shootout, scoring the decisive fifth spot kick for Paraguay.

By the time the shootout rolled around, Willian had been off the pitch for a good while, his day of fruitless running, tireless back-tracking, and general ineffectiveness (he was hardly alone in that regard) ending right around the hour mark.  Unsurprisingly, Brazil managed to create even less once the Chelsea man departed.  Filipe Luis lasted the whole 90 minutes, just as he has in every match of the Copa América so far and put in a good shift, especially on the attacking end.  He did not get to take a kick in the shootout.

And so Brazil, for the second straight Copa América, are eliminated in the quarterfinals, once again by plucky little Paraguay, once again on penalty kicks.  Combined with Colombia's loss yesterday, there are no Chelsea players left in the competition.  Vacation time!