Paraguay boss Berizzo lauds players after Copa America exit

Paraguay boss Berizzo lauds players after Copa America exit

PORTO ALEGRE (Rahnuma): Paraguay head coach Eduardo Berizzo said he could not fault his players after his team’s penalty shootout defeat to Brazil in their Copa America quarterfinal here on Thursday.

The teams were locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes despite Paraguay playing the final half hour with 10 men after the dismissal of Fabian Balbuena.

Goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez made several superb saves to deny the hosts before Brazil prevailed 4-3 in the shootout after Gustavo Gomez and Derlis Gonzalez missed their attempts.

“We showed great character and the players can feel proud of themselves,” the 49-year-old Argentine said.

“We had the best chances of the first half and the penalty shootout could have given us a heroic win. But that doesn’t detract from what was a great effort by my players.”

Berizzo, who was appointed Paraguay boss in February, said the Albirroja’s performance in this tournament showed they were “heading in the right direction” as they prepare for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

“I told them that we should play all of our matches that way,” Berizzo said. “That’s the level we need to demand from ourselves always: with great spirit and competitiveness, irrespective of the opponent. If we play like we did tonight we can beat any team.”

“We have six more matches this year and I hope we can continue in this vein and show the qualities that we had today.”

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