|Bolivia's players seem not to have heard their coach's message to hold their heads high [AFP]|
Peru and Uruguay did just enough to ensure they joined Venezuela in the Copa America quarter-finals leaving Bolivia as the first team to pack their bags for home.
Host nation Venezuela's goalless draw with Uruguay saw them emerge as Group A winners with their opponents scraping through in third.
Peru came from behind twice to eliminate Bolivia in a 2-2 draw and secure their place in the last eight.
Roared on by 40,000 fans in Merida's Metropiltan stadium Venezuela dominated possession early on, creating several opportunities.
Coming off their second-ever Copa victory over Peru on Saturday, Venezuela threatened early and almost scored after nine minutes when Giancarlo Moldanado, cut the ball back from the goal line to a charging Juan Arango, who's shot flew a meter high of the crossbar.
Venezuela already knew of their qualification following the previous nights results from Group C and both teams slowed off in the second-half, presumably conserving energy for battles to come later in the tournament.
One of those battles could be a second meeting between the sides in the quarterfinals depending on which of the third-place spots Uruguay falls into after the remaining group matches.
Venezuela finished Group A on five points, one more than Uruguay.
The two were sandwiched in the group standings by Peru who came from behind twice despite being down to ten men against Bolivia and secured their qualification with five minutes remaining.
P W D L Pts
Venezuela 3 1 2 0 5
Peru 3 1 1 1 4
Uruguay 3 1 1 1 4
Bolivia 3 0 2 1 2
Bolivia, who knew they would reach the quarters with a victory, took the lead through Jaime Moreno's lob from the edge of the area in the 24th minute.
But Peru equalised nine minutes later on a counterattack, when Paolo Guerrero headed a free kick into the ground and inside the left post.
A driving shot by Jhasmany Campos put Bolivia ahead 2-1 in first half injury time and the score remained unchanged until new Chelsea signing Claudio Pizzaro, following the expulsion of substitute Jhoel Herrera in the 78th minute, headed in a Juan Carlos Marino free kick seven minutes later.
Bolivia were consequently eliminated at the group stages for the fourth consecutive time in the South America championship.
However Erwin Sanchez, the Bolivian coach, was quick to salute the efforts of his players.Peru, the Copa champions in 1939 and 1975, must await the winner of Thursday's Group C decider between the Copa's two top-scoring teams, Argentina and Paraguay, to see who they will face in the quarterfinal in Barquisimeto on Sunday.
"With a little extra luck we could've qualified," he said. "But we're going with our heads held high because nobody was able to crush us, nobody steamrolled past us. It was just this one late goal that eliminated us."