The quarterfinal phase of the controversial Copa America in Brazil is underway. Eight teams advance are left in the knockout phase as the games roll on at empty stadiums across the country. Brazil overcame Chile 1-0 while Peru needed penalties to beat Paraguay after a 3-3 draw in normal time.
ESPN looks back at the action from the oldest international tournament in the world.
Will Brazil turn to Paqueta after starring role?
The best time in Tite's five-year reign as Brazil coach was the start: the first 18 months from 2016-2017 when his team coasted through qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The unsung hero of that team was Renato Augusto, an intelligent, elegant midfielder who threw off his long-running fitness problems to perform a key role, orchestrating play from deep, linking up with the attack, keeping the ball moving and making the right decisions. However, when the World Cup arrived he was short of 100% fitness and made minimal impact off the bench -- though he did score in the 2-1 defeat to Belgium in the quarterfinals. Renato Augusto has not played for the national team since 2018 and they have missed him -- never more so than in the dismal first half they played in the Copa America quarterfinal against Chile on Friday.
One of Tite's recent ideas has been to play Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison as wide midfielders ahead of defensive operators Fred and Casemiro, allowing Neymar to roam centrally off striker Roberto Firmino. The idea is to free Neymar; the consequence can be to overload him. It is a formation that can work, especially away from home when Brazil can play on the counterattack. But it leaves a gaping hole in games like the one against Chile: when the pitch is poor, the opponents are happy while it is goalless and the clock is ticking towards penalties.
Neymar, as his coach is fond of saying, is both bow and arrow, both constructor and finisher of moves. But he cannot be both at once. This match was crying out for the introduction of Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta.
Talented and versatile, Paqueta is still raw. Tite does not trust him with the defensive side of all-round midfield duties, fearing his tendency to lose possession too close to his own goal, but he made an immediate impact after coming on at half-time for Firmino. Within a minute he rounded off a neat move -- left-back Renan Lodi played the ball to Fred who helped it onwards, Casemiro found Paqueta who played a flicked one-two with Neymar before beating the keeper with a cute volley.
With the deadlock broken and more midfield presence, there was the prospect of a fine second half. But, within minutes, Gabriel Jesus got himself sent off for a rash high challenge, and the game changed.
Down to 10-men, Paqueta had to cover the right flank and Neymar was forced to try and be both bow and arrow once more. Brazil held on but, for the rest of the Copa America, the PSG star will need to operate collectively and Tite will surely try to foster a partnership between him and Paqueta in a bid to recreate what he had with Renato Augusto during that honeymoon period.
Brazil and Chile last met in a tournament on Brazilian soil in the round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup. Brazil came through 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time, but it was a close thing. With almost the last kick of the game, Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla rattled the Brazilian crossbar. Pinilla found the moment so memorable that he had a tattoo done of the crossbar while, in hindsight, many Brazilian fans may have wished the ball had gone just a few inches lower to spare them the humiliation of that 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals.
The crossbar featured in this game, too -- not in such a dramatic form, but one which could have some long-term importance.
Chile had almost the entire second half to press against 10 men and they did everything in their power. There were one or two moments of panic in the Brazil defence, and one moment for the Chileans to dwell on wistfully. Eugenio Mena crossed from the left and a header from Ben Brereton looped threateningly towards goal, only to come back off the crossbar.
Chile are an ageing side; many of the squad were teammates of Pinilla's seven years ago, and way before. Eight of the starting XI were over 30 years old and coach Martin Lasarte talked of his "old rockers," while the Chilean press speculated that this match could be their last concert.
They pushed Brazil hard enough to prove themselves worthy of an encore, but they can't go on for ever. There must be a change towards the future and their biggest success of this tournament has been the introduction of 22-year-old English-born Brereton -- who has 'Brereton Diaz' on his shirt, highlighting his mother's surname. Adding pace, thrust and energy, the midfielder couldn't do enough to beat Brazil on the night, but he has shown he can help Chile move forward.
Gareca leads Peru to Brazil rematch
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca worked his magic again as his side saw off Paraguay after a thrilling game. He has marshalled very limited resources to seal progress to the semifinals and has done it without the one world-class player the country has produced in recent times: captain and centre-forward Paolo Guerrero.
Peru's all-time top scorer is recovering from his latest setback, a long term knee injury, and Gareca's introduction of Italian-born striker Gianluca Lapadula has filled the gap. Lapadula is versatile, mobile and cunning, and, after scoring twice, played a part in Paraguay's defensive organiser Gustavo Gomez landing a red card.
But even more important is Andre Carrillo. The one-time Watford winger has just turned 30 and is now based in the Middle East, but he has been playing the football of his life for Peru. It could even be that the absence of Guerrero has freed Carrillo. Without a targetman centre-forward he doesn't need to play solely on the left wing and can wander across the attacking line to find pockets of space from which to do his damage.
Carrillo was involved in all three goals, but he was not involved in the penalty shootout and will not be in the semifinal. Inside the last 10 minutes of the game he was very unlucky to pick up a second yellow card and Peru had to finish the game without him. It is one thing to play a few minutes against Paraguay without Carrillo. To play an entire semifinal against Brazil without him is another thing entirely.
In their opening game of this tournament, Peru were swept aside 4-0 by Brazil. If they were to win Monday's rematch then it would be a bigger shock than Brazil's elimination by Honduras in the Copa America 20 years ago, yet Peru managed a narrow victory over Brazil in a friendly in Los Angeles almost two years ago, so it's not impossible.
Had Peru gone out to Paraguay they would have exited the competition entirely in credit. Diligent as ever, Gareca will try and plot a path to glory, but Brazil will be a very different challenge.