Brazil duo Elano & Julio Cesar blast pitch after Copa America defeat to Paraguay

The players lament Sunday night's defeat as the inquest begins into the holders' failure at the tournament this summer, where they failed to reach the semi-finals
Brazil midfielder Elano has criticised the pitch at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, and believes it had a major role to play in his side's shock Copa America penalty defeat at the hands of Paraguay on Sunday night.

Mano Menezes' holders were the dominant force in the quarter-final tie, with Paraguay keeper Justo Villar keeping his side in the match with a string of fine saves

In the shoot-out, the favourites failed to net a single penalty, and speaking to journalists after the game, Elano, who missed the first spot-kick, said: "It is hard to explain these things. I feel great sorrow. I think I was hampered by a terrible pitch."

Experienced goalkeeper Julio Cesar echoed Elano's thoughts about the surface, with the area around the penalty spot proving particularly treacherous.

He added: "You can see that the referee was there to check it out. The grass gave off a little. Many people will say that I'm using it as an excuse, because the field was also bad for Paraguay.

"I think the Brazilian team has to move on. Not everyone who plays the better football has come out with victory. We're very sad to be eliminated."

The Copa America continues this week with Peru's semi-final tie with Uruguay, while Paraguay now face Venezuela for a place in the final.

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