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With La Albirroja having to settle the score from the spot, has gone through the archives to find some other intriguing runs that could have used more cutting edge

For a competition that started in such sluggish fashion, the Copa America has burst into life in a way that those who bore witness to the first few games would never have thought possible.

The big guns are out. Brazil embarrassed themselves from the penalty spot, Argentina failed to gel until it was too late while Alexis Sanchez and Radamel Falcao were not enough to keep Chile and Colombia respectively in the competition.

So we look to those headed for the final: Uruguay and Paraguay. While Luis Suarez and Alvaro Pereira have been making the difference in normal time for the former, the latter have been settling their affairs from 12 yards. Paraguay have yet to win a single game in normal time thus far, drawing all three of their group fixtures and progressing through the knock-outs via spot-kicks.

With this intriguing stat in mind, have dug up instances from the past where unconvincing teams enjoyed a somewhat successful tournament campaign.


Dutch heavyweights PSV, somewhat unconvincingly, won their first European Cup in 1988.

The Netherlands club were certainly not short on goals in the first and second rounds, finding the net three times against Galatasaray and four against Rapid Vienna, but competing on three fronts at the time meant that their scoring exploits slowed with just eight teams remaining.

Faced with Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, PSV could only manage a single goal across the two legs, although it proved to be pivotal as Wim Kieft's effort sent the Eindhoven outfit into the semi-finals on away goals.

Despite looking tired heading into the semis, another away goal was the difference between the Dutch side and Spanish giants Real Madrid, sending the underdogs into the final.

After 120 minutes could not separate PSV from two-time champions Benfica, the match was settled on penalties, with the Dutch triumphing 6-5. The win rounded off a triumphant treble, as the Eredivisie and the domestic cup were also added to the trophy cabinet at the end of a truly memorable season.


Chastised due to having the competition's lowest-ever goals-per-game ratio, the 1990 World Cup also broke records in terms of red cards issued, making it one of the most impotent and violent championships football has ever seen.

Through the competition, an Argentina side that included the legendary Diego Maradona became the talk of the tournament as the South Americans edged through despite performing at far from their best level.

After finishing third in their group, losing to Cameroon in the process, the Albiceleste progressed to the next stage as one of the best four third-placed teams, despite only managing one win.

Facing an unbeaten Brazil side in the round of 16, many felt time was up for Argentina, especially as Brazil dominated the game from start to finish. However, with their only attack of the contest, Maradona expertly combined with Claudio Caniggia to produce the game's only goal.

The luck continued into the quarter-finals, as Yugoslavia were beaten 3-2 on penalties, before hosts Italy fell prey to Maradona and his compatriots from the spot in the semi-finals after a 1-1 draw.

Argentina's luck would finally run out against Germany, an encounter that saw them suffer the first ever sending off in a World Cup final – which actually became two when Gustavo Dezotti joined Pedro Monzon for an early shower late in the game – as well as becoming the first team to fail to score in the international showpiece.


As the opening match of the 2004 European Championship came to an end, fans were shocked as underdogs Greece pulled off a spectacular upset against Portugal, defeating the host nation 2-1 in their own back yard.

The Greeks, led by Otto Rehhagel, quickly faded into the background after their surprise opening day win, as a 1-1 draw with Spain and a 2-1 loss to Russia made them lucky to finish second in Group A behind the Portuguese.

However, the quarter-finals produced another bombshell, as holders France were dumped out of the competition by a lone goal from the head of Angelos Charisteas. Then, pulling off a similar feat in the semi-finals, Traianos Dellas' effort in extra-time against the Czech Republic secured a place in the final for the team that had openly shown that they were anything but flashy.

With Portugal craving revenge for their earlier embarrassment, many imagined Otto's charges would meet their end, but yet another single goal from Angelos Charisteas bagged Greece their first major title, despite only having qualified for a major competition twice before in their history.


The 2008 Uefa cup marked one of the most memorable examples of so-called 'anti-football' that European fans have ever had to endure, with Scottish Premier League side Rangers antagonists in the uninspiring saga.

Playing every match with a lone striker and often using fringe left and right-backs as midfielders for added defensive cover, the Glasgow side were far from inspiring on the continent, never scoring any more than two goals over any given tie.

In fact, from eight knock-out matches, Rangers drew four of them 0-0, only managing to overcome Serie A side Fiorentina via a penalty shoot-out.

However, manager Walter Smith's clever counterattacking tactics failed Rangers in the final, as Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg roundly beat the Scottish side 2-0, before going on to defeat Manchester United in the Uefa Super Cup.

On May 22 this year, a struggling Alania Vladikavkaz side found themselves in the final of the Russian Cup – a feat that many felt was beyond the club's reach due to their poor form and eventual relegation from the RPL.

However, it was the manner in which the Eastern European team managed to arrive at the showpiece which is of interest.

During their road to the final, Alania didn't score a single goal against any opponent in normal or extra-time. Every victory the club recorded was through a penalty shoot-out, and they were even given a bye to the semi-finals as their quarter-final opponents, FC Saturn Moscow Oblast, went bankrupt.

Unfortunately for Alania fans, their journey to the ultimate match of the competition didn't have a happy ending, as they were beaten 2-1 by CSKA Moscow. This marked their first goal - and first loss - of the tournament.

Rooney misunderstood the 'stamp it out' campaign...


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