Aaaannnnnddd—We’re Back!

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Didja miss us? We had to put the Backpost on the backburner (actually, it was off the stove entirely) for a few weeks due to a combination of vacation, expanded day-job duties, and some other projects to be named later.

As you can see, we’ve tweaked a few things (and that’s still a work in progress, so please bear with us), and we’ve got a couple new elements in store for 2013. Please check back.

We’ve also got some stats from 2012: The BP was viewed about 73,000 times in 2012, by people from 176 countries. (That’s 27 fewer than than the total pool of nations that began qualification for Brazil 2014 two years ago, so we’ve got work to do.) We averaged roughly one post per business day in 2012, and the most popular posts in site history were those involving—you’ll never believe it—preposterously sexy Paraguayan superfan Larissa Riquelme.

You remember her, right?

No?

Allow us to refresh your memory:

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She’s a live wire, that one. Paraguay needs to step it up in WC qualifying (they’re currently dead last in COMNEBOL; this is an emergency) just so the world gets to see her again at Brazil 2014.

Runners-up in the popular-post category involved Wayne Rooney, Oguchi Onyewu’s wife, and David Beckham’s MLS sojourn.

That’s all for now; we’ll be back shortly with a belated BP Fantasy League update, and then it’s onward with the semi-regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks for reading.

Riquelme Dream Deferred Again: Forlan, Suarez Lead Uruguay to Copa America Title

It’s been a good 12 months for Uruguay. After reaching the semifinals of last summer’s World Cup in South Africa, the Sky Blues won a record 15th Copa America title, cruising past Paraguay 3–0 in Sunday night’s final.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a nice finish off the far post, and Diego Forlan added another one just before halftime. Forlan icied the match with his second in the final minutes.

Highlights here:

The downside, of course, is that you-know-who will be keeping her clothes on, for the most part, in public for the foreseeable future.

That “Beep! Beep!” You’re Hearing is Paraguay Backing Into the Copa America Final

Despite not winning a game in regulation or extra time during the entire tournament, and being outplayed last night, Paraguay advanced to the final of the Copa America with a penalty-shootout win over Venezuela after the teams played to a scoreless draw.

Venezuela had a goal called back when a shot bound for the back of the net deflected off a player in an offside position, and they hit the woodwork three times. In the end, though, one missed penalty cost them a trip to the final to face Uruguay, 2-0 winners over Peru in Tuesday’s semifinal.

Here are the highlights (and enjoy how the commentary switches from Spanish to English midway through):

While Paraguay’s trip to Sunday’s final may have been dubiously earned, there is of course, a silver lining.

We don’t need to remind you, do we? Okay, okay twist our arms:

Paraguay Stuns Brazil, Keeps Riquelme Dream Alive for All

When Paraguay gave up two late (very late) goals to tie Venezuela in its final group-stage game of the Copa America last week, the result banished La Albirroja to a quarterfinal meeting with Brazil, and, according to some observers, certain elimination from the tournament.

But on Sunday, Paraguay escaped that fate with a penalty-shootout win over the defending Copa America champions, after the teams finished scoreless through 120 minutes.

The result blew the tournament wide open, coming one day after Uruguay ousted hosts and co-favorites Argentina (also on penalties)—and perhaps more important, it inched Larissa Riquelme’s famous pledge one step closer to reality.

Here’s a clip of the Paraguay–Brazil shootout, in which Brazil did its best USWNT impression:

Paraguay moves on to a July 20 rematch with Venezuela in one semifinal, while Uruguay takes on Peru, 2-0 quarterfinal winners over Colombia, in the other semi.

Venezuela Stuns Paraguay with Stoppage-Time Comeback, Endangers Dream of Larissa Riquelme, World

Venezuela, wearing their Colorado Rapids–style uniforms, staged a shocking two-goal comeback in the dying moments to tie Paraguay 3-3 in the Copa America last night.

Nicolas Fedor scored in the 90th minute to make it 3-2, and three minutes later, Grenddy Perozo bagged the dramatic equalizer.

Here are the highlights (note the audacious piece of skill that opens the clip):

The result bounced bounced Paraguay from second to third place in the group, but not out of the tournament. Yet.

The third-place finish lands La Albirroj in a quarterfinal meeting with defending champions Brazil. That matchup, of course, all but amounts to elimination and will most likely defer, yet again, the dream of Paraguayan supporter Larissa Riquelme.

You may remember Ms. Riquelme from last summer’s World Cup.

Here she is:

And here she is again:

As she did in South Africa, Riquelme has made a pledge concerning her beloved Paraguay:

“If Paraguay wins the Copa America, I’ll pose naked right there on the field” of Santa Fe’s Brigadier Stadium, she said, according to news agency AFP.

Alas, barring a monumental upset on Sunday (2:55 p.m. ET, Univision), Riquelme will once again be denied the chance to fulfill her pledge.

We trust she’ll keep trying in future tournaments.

Here are the other quarterfinal matchups:

Saturday
Colombia vs. Peru, 2:55 p.m. ET, Univision
Argentina vs. Uruguay, 6:00 p.m. ET, Univision

Sunday
Chile vs. Venezuela, 6:00 p.m. ET, Univision

Larissa Riquelme Wins Legions of New Fans for Her Country, Nearly Breaks Google Image Search, with Promise to Run Naked if Paraguay Wins

Busty, budding Paraguay superfan Larissa Riquelme—that’s her up there, and here, and here—has promised to run naked through the streets if her country wins the World Cup.

Her vow came about in response to an identical one made by Argentina coach Diego Maradona.

Their pledges may be identical, but the outcomes, in terms of spectator satisfaction, would be polar opposites.

And not only is Riquelme sadly far less likely to have to make good on this than Maradona (shudder)—because Paraguay is going to lose to Spain on Saturday—but she added a caveat: She says she’ll do it, but “with my body painted with the colors of Paraguay.” … Copout!

All right, Backpost is headed to the beach. We’ll try to post between tiny-umbrella-capped drinks over the holiday weekend.

In the meantime, here are our picks for the semifinals:

Brazil

Ghana

Argentina

Spain