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Copa América: Canada shattered Venezuela's hopes and will face off against Argentina in semifinals

The Canadian team, known for its physical intensity and speed, won in the penalty shootout.

A midfield dispute in the Canada vs. Venezuela match.AFP

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Canada shattered Venezuela's hopes by beating them 4-3 on penalties on Friday, eliminating them from the Copa America 2024. Now, they will play in the semifinals against Argentina, the reigning continental and world champions.

The North American team surprised everyone when forward Jacob Shaffelburg scored an opening goal early on, in the 12th minute. Then, Salomon Rondon scored in the 65th minute with a long-range goal, which took the game to the penalty shootout series.

Rondon's goal gave the more than 30,000 Venezuelans fans in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a glimpse of hope. Fans were hopeful that Venezuela's unprecedented three game streak would go on to them win the Copa América.

However, despite an exciting game, Venezuela was not able to beat Canada in the first 90 minutes and lost its winning streak in penalty kicks.

The Canadian team, which based its strategy on a great physical display and speed, won in the penalty shootout.

"This is amazing to be in the seminfinals of Copa America! I think everyone needs to realize this country and its footballers deserve respect," said the Venezuelan goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau, who heroically saved penalty kicks from Jefferson Savarino and Angel Wilker.

Although Canada lost 2-0 to Argentina in the Copa America debut, Canada put up a good fight and even gave Argentina a run for its money. 

Next Tuesday they will face off again, this time at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, near New York.

Physical play is a problem for Argentina

In the quarterfinals, on Thursday in Texas, Ecuador put up a similar fight to the world champion, which only advanced to the semifinals by penalty kicks (4-2).

Canada did particularly well compared to the other two countries set to co-host the 2026 World Cup. The other two, the United States and Mexico, did not make it past the group stage in the Copa América.

The Venezuelan national team coached by Argentine Fernando Batista is rebuilding its team with the hopes of losing their 'South American Cinderella' nickname. 

The Venezuelan team also hopes to lose its distinction as the only South American team that has never qualified for a World Cup.

Venezuela is fourth with nine points in the Conmebol qualifiers. There are a total of six spots in the next World Cup. The seventh spot will be determined in a playoff.

On Saturday, fans can tune in for the other two quarterfinal matches, Colombia and Panama in Glendale and Uruguay and Brazil in Las Vegas

The final Copa America 2024 game will be played on July 14 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.