The Copa America 2019 quarterfinals kick off on Thursday with the host country Brazil remaining the favorite to lift the trophy.

Minus their star player Neymar, the Brazilians scored eight goals while conceding none in the group phase. They were less than impressive in their scoreless draw with Venezuela but followed that with a 5-0 thumping of Peru, with Casemiro of Real Madrid, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Willian of Chelsea among the scorers.

Brazil will play Paraguay at the Arena Gremio in Porto Alegre on Thursday. Paraguay has yet to win a match but squeaked into the quarterfinals thanks to other results.

Two matches are on the schedule for Friday, with Venezuela taking on Argentina at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro and Colombia and Chile clashing in Sao Paulo at the Arena Corinthians.

The quarterfinal stage wraps up on Saturday in Porto Alegre’s Arena Fonte Nova, with Uruguay versus Peru. Uruguay has won the tournament a record 15 times.

Only four of the 12 teams involved in the Copa America failed to make the quarterfinals. Neither of the two Asian countries invited to join this year’s tournament made it past the first hurdle.

After drawing Paraguay 2-2 in its opening match, Qatar lost 1-0 to Colombia and 2-0 to Argentina.

Japan recovered from an opening 4-0 loss to Chile to draw 2-2 with Uruguay. The Japanese needed a win over Ecuador in their last group game to advance to the last eight, but the 1-1 draw left both teams out and Paraguay through.

Bolivia was the fourth country to miss out.

Photo: Casemiro scores opening goal in 5-0 win over Peru (Getty Images)

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