ARGENTINA 4, VENEZUELA 1
One of the scariest things about Argentina's performance in this tournament is that they've been dominant without Lionel Messi in the starting lineup.
So adding Messi up top to an already staggering amount of talent and you can already figure out where this game was likely headed before kickoff.
Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in the first half before Messi and Erik Lamela wrapped up the scoring for Argentina in a 4-1 victory at Gillette Stadium yesterday.
The first goal came just eight minutes into the game when Messi sent a perfect ball to Higuain making a run into the box who coolly finished the ball with a first touch volley. Messi and Argentina would have a penalty shout waved away in the 22nd minute and it appeared Messi was fouled inside the box but no call was given. A few minutes later, it was Higuain who would intercept a bad backpass and round Venezuela keeper Dani Hernandez all alone to double the Argentina lead to 2-0.
But Venezuela would finish the half brightly, and certainly deserved a goal before halftime. A deflected shot forced Argentina keeper Sergio Romero to make a difficult adjustment to save a ball over his crossbar. In the 42nd minute, it was Romero who was whistled for a penalty when he crashed into Josef Martinez trying to clear a loose ball in the box. However, Luis Seijas would step up and hit a paneka chip right at Romero who caught the ball easily and kept Venezuela scoreless in the first half.
In the 60th minute Messi out the game nearly out of reach when he took a feed from Nicolas Gaitan inside the area and netted Argentina's third goal via a nutmeg of keeper Hernandez. But Venezuela would answer from star man Soloman Rondon when he put a glancing header past Romero in the 70th after a nice cross from Alejandro Guerra, a deserved goal for Los Llaneros.
However, the thoughts of Venezuela making a game of it late were short lived, as a minute after their goal, Erik Lamela restored their three goal lead with an immediate response as Hernandez was beaten softly at his near post for the final 4-1 scoreline.
It will be a quick turnaround for Argentina as they play the United States on just three days rest while the USA will have five days between games having played their quarterfinal on Friday.
CHILE 7, MEXICO 0
I said in my knockout stage primer that this was could be the best matchup in the quarterfinals and the most entertaining game because I thought it was the least likely to produce a blowout.
Clearly, Chile did not read that article and do not care for my storylines as they hung a touchdown on Mexico at Levi's Stadium ihttp://www.sbnation.com/admin/entries/new?community_id=347&entry_type=Articlen Santa Clara, CA yesterday on their way to an emphatic 7-0 win and a date with Colombia in the semifinals.
Edson Puch started and finished the scoring for Chile while Eduardo Vargas added four goals and Alexis Sanchez got into the act with a goal of his own as Chile used a flurry of attack in the start of the second half to rout Mexico.
You can watch all the goals above, but there were some interesting tidbits I saw in Josie Becker's recap on MLSSoccer.com that I wanted to share.
Vargas' hat trick is the first for Chile in Copa America since 1955 and the first time a Chilean has netted four goals in the tournament since 1926. Vargas also has 10 goals in his first 10 Copa matches, a feat that hasn't been done sice 1959. This is Chile's biggest win since a 7-0 victory over Venezuela back in 1979.
Chile and Colombia will play in the second semifinal on Wednesday, June 22nd at Soldier's Field in Chicago.