Venezuela No Longer The Joke Of South American Soccer

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - It was not too long ago that Venezuela were the laughing stock of South American football — the team that never beat anyone and never won anything.

Between 1967, when they made their Copa America debut, and 2007, when they hosted the tournament, they went 42 consecutive Copa matches without a win. In the 1975 tournament, they were humiliated 11-0 by Argentina.

Even more recently, the Venezuelans were a pushover. Brazil beat them 7-0 at the 1999 Copa America and 6-0 on Venezuelan soil in a World Cup qualifier the following year.

But those days are gone.