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Uruguay won their final match in Group C of the Copa America Centenario, 3-0 against Jamaica in Santa Clara with goals from Abel Hernández, Je-Vaughn Watson (own goal) and Mathias Corujo.
But it was too little, too late from the side that has won this trophy more than any other nation. They already knew before the game that they had no hope of progressing to the last eight after defeats to the two sides that do qualify: Mexico and Venezuela.
Once again, Barça striker Luis Suárez watched events unfold from the bench, and will be leaving the United States dwelling on what might have been had he not been carrying an injury sustained in the Copa de Rey final against Sevilla.
Peru hand defeat to Brazil
Uruguay was not the only major casualty of the biggest Copa America ever, which for the first time includes sixteen nations. Brazil, with former Barça man Dani Alves in the squad but Neymar Jr and Rafinha absent, have also packed their bags.
A Peruvian goal scored with the hand meant they bowed out in controversial fashion, but that did not disguise the fact USA 2016 did not see Brazil play anything like the level of football usually expected of the ‘canarinha’.
The teams that did qualify from Group B are Peru, who will now play Colombia in East Rutherford, and Ecuador who travel to Seattle to play the host nation.
Chile seeking to follow Argentina into quarters
With Uruguay and Brazil out of the picture, things are looking better than ever for Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano’s Argentina, who have looked very solid indeed with two wins out of two, including a Messi hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Panama.
That is already enough to ensure a place in the last eight for the ‘albiceleste’, and a draw with Bolivia in their final group game tonight (CenturyLink Field, Seattle at EDT 10.00pm) would secure top spot and a game against Venezuela at Foxborough on June 18.
As long as they can avoid defeat to Panama in the game immediately before (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia at 8.00pm EDT), then Claudio Bravo and Chile will also progress from Group D.
Unless they can oust Argentina from top spot, which is looking somewhat unlikely, a qualified Chile would face a tricky quarter-final against a Mexico side that is going to enjoy so much support at the Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara that it will effectively be a home fixture for them.
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