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Fernandinho's Brazil reach Copa America last eight

It wasn’t pretty but Dunga’s Brazil are through to the quarter-finals of the Copa America.

Fernandinho played all 90 minutes as the Selecao overcame Venezuela 2-1 in Santiago to set up a meeting with Paraguay in the knockout rounds.

Goals at the start of each half from Thiago Silva and Roberto Firmino did the damage but the eight-time South American champions had to endure a nervy climax as Venezuela substitute Miku halved the deficit six minutes from time.

Despite a rousing last stand from the Group C minnows, Brazil held on to qualify for the last eight as group winners, knocking Venezuela out and taking Colombia through to the quarter-final stage with them.

The result keeps alive the mouthwatering possibility of a meeting with Argentina in the last four of the competition and a meeting between all four of the City representatives stationed out in Chile.

Ex-City forward Robinho, who was a surprise recall for the tournament and left the field to a standing ovation in the second half, told journalists that the result and performance was proof that Brazil could perform without their star man, Neymar.

He said: “Neymar is obviously a different player that any team would like to have, but in the end in the team has to win, like today.

“Brazil is not dependent on one player, to win the cup we must be 11.”

Pressure was mounting on Brazil boss Dunga going into this final group game following their 1-0 defeat to Colombia and news that they would be without Neymar for the rest of the tournament.

The Barcelona man was sent-off for headbutting Carlos Bacca in their last match and subsequently banned for four games, meaning Robinho and Phillipe Coutinho came into the XI.

Fernandinho retained his place alongside Elias in the heart of midfield and kept up his record of playing every second of the tournament so far.

The City midfielder was his usual tenacious self, putting out fires in the centre of the pitch and played with great discipline to avoid a booking which would have ruled him out of any potential quarter-final.

A draw would be enough to send both teams through but PSG’s Thiago Silva eased Brazilian nerves with a sensational volley from a Robinho corner with nine minutes on the clock.

They were made to work for the remainder of the half by an obstinate, hard-working Venezuelan side but Roberto Firmino all but confirmed safe passage to the quarter-finals on 52 minutes, stroking home Willian’s clipped cross.

Miku did reply for Venezuela on 84 minutes to briefly breathe life into the clash but it's Brazil who advance to face Paraguay on Saturday night in the last of the four quarter-finals.


June 24: Chile v Uruguay (00:30 BST, 25 June)

June 25: Bolivia v Peru (00:30 BST, 26 June)

June 26: Argentina v Colombia (00:30 BST, 27 June)

June 27: Brazil v Paraguay (22:30 BST)

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