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ARLINGTON, Texas: Canada reached the semifinals of the Copa America on Friday after beating Venezuela 4-3 on penalties after the 90-minute match ended 1-1.

Jacob Shaffelburg put Canada ahead in the 13th minute, but Salomon Rondon equalized in the 64th minute before Canada triumphed in the shootout to set up a last-four meeting with world champions Argentina.

The Canadians, under American coach Jesse Marsch, who only took over the team in mid-May, are playing in the Copa America for the first time and produced a relentless phase of pressing in what was a frenetic game.

Both teams failed to score from the spot twice in the shootout, leaving it 3-3 after five penalties each and sending the contest into sudden death.

Canadian goalkeeper Max Crepeau, who had made a major mistake to equalize Venezuela, made amends as he saved Wilker Angel’s shot.

That left Ismael Kone with a chance to win the game. He converted with an ice-cold penalty to spark celebrations in front of a crowd of 51,080 fans supporting the majority of Venezuela.

Canada played Argentina in their opening game of the group stage, losing 2-0 to the defending champions, and will once again start as giant underdogs in the semi-final.

But after a remarkable performance of energy and determination against a Venezuela side that won all three of their group stage matches, Marsch will believe his side can pull off another upset and reach the final in Miami on 14 July.

Canada came out of the blocks, giving Venezuela time on the ball and going ahead in numbers in the early stages.

“Vinotinto” goaltender Rafael Romo had to run out of his zone to stop Cyle Larin as he ran to a ball over the top, but could do nothing minutes later as the Canadiens took the lead.

Jonathan David cut in from the right and the Shaffelburg winger arrived in time to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

Shaffelburg, a speedy left winger who plays in Major League Soccer for Nashville, then forced Romo into a save and then sent a low cross that David couldn’t finish.

Canada was going for the jugular and Richie Laryea sent a ball across the face of the box but the stretching David couldn’t get to it.

Larin squandered a great chance just after the break when he found the ball in space in the box, but he braced himself and fired well over the bar.

Marsch’s high-energy tactics began to take their toll on his players and as they tired, Venezuela grew into the game.

Jose Martinez should have done better when a poor clearance landed at his feet in the box but he stabbed his shot wide of the bar.

But then a long ball was won by Rondon who spotted Crepeau off his line and from 35 yards the veteran striker produced a perfect lob to beat the blocked keeper to make it 1-1.

There were chances late on for Canada to win the game in regulation, but neither Liam Millar nor Tani Oluwaseyi, both on as substitutes, could provide a quiet finish.

With no extra time in the Copa America, it was straight to penalties and after Rondon and David both converted, Yangel Herrera hit the bar for Venezuela.

Millar then put his effort over the bar and after Tomas Rincon scored for Venezuela, Moise Bombito equalized for Canada.

But Jefferson Savarino hit the crossbar and Canada’s Stephen Eustaquio saw his low effort saved by Romo before both teams scored to make it 3-3.

Then in sudden death, Crepeau pounced to deny Angel to drop Kone with the pressure shot to win, which he handled with aplomb.

“Everybody needs to realize the respect this country deserves and these footballers deserve,” Crepeau said on Fox Sports.

“Everybody says ‘these Canadians’, well these Canadians are in the semi-finals of the Copa America.”

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