[h=1]The Joy of Six: Copa América moments[/h] From an infamous hat-trick to Honduras humbling Brazil, via almighty stramashes, here are half a dozen great memories Comments (58) Martin Palermo wedgies himself. Photograph: David Leah/ Mexsport/Getty Images [h=2]1) Martin Palermo's humiliating hat-trick (Argentina v Colombia 1999)[/h]Above glows one of sport's finest photos. It does not, contrary to first impressions, capture the ordeal of one man's doomed attempt to impersonate Beyoncé but it does evoke a story of unrivalled misery and great big balls. Even at the lowest point of his career, as he was being ridiculed the world over by people who had never before heard of him, Martin Palermo earned a sliver of admiration to go with the salvos of derision. For at least his failure had not been borne of the fear of failure. Who dares does not necessarily win but at least they dare. Guts and goals were what Palermo was all about and in this match he spectacularly botched chances to get the latter but at least retained the former. Palermo had scored twice in Argentina's opening group game, a 3-1 win over Ecuador, and was presented with the perfect chance to add to that tally after just five minutes of the next one, against Colombia. That's when things started to go weird. He blasted his spot-kick against the bar. Two minutes later Colombia broke down the other end, won a penalty themselves and Ivan Cordoba converted. Argentina, with Juan Román Riquelme enchanting, led their opponents on a merry tango after that but could not turn their dominance into goals and early in the second half Middlesbrough's Hámilton Ricard won another penalty for Colombia. He demanded to take it instead of Cordoba and missed. Fourteen minutes from time, Riquelme floated an inviting cross towards Palermo, who seemed poised to head it into the net until a Colombian defender diverted it with his hand. Palermo stepped up to take the penalty. And it was worse than his first one, flying way over the bar. "For the love of god, how can this be?" wailed the Argentinian TV commentator as Palermo administered that iconic self-wedgie. As per the first miss, Argentina were quickly hit with a sucker-punch, as three minutes later Edwin Congo shot Colombia into a 2-0 lead. Colombia then took control, the 16-year-old Johnnier Montano making it 3-0 in the 87th minute. Palermo was the one Argentinian player who remained defiant and in the 90th minute he seemed to have finally got his reward when, after bulldozing his way into the box, he lost possession, fell over and was awarded the softest of penalties. Lesser men, knowing the ignominy that another miss would bring, would have let a team-mate take it. Palermo made it clear this was his. Visibly jaded, his run-up was shorter than for the previous two and his shot weaker but at least it was on target this time. Still, the goalkeeper Miguel Calero saw it coming and parried, prompting his team-mates to convulse in celebration and millions of people around the globe to laugh and wince at the striker's haplessness. But the fact that Palermo did not shirk that third penalty meant millions also smiled for him when, last summer, at the age of 36, the venerable warrior's goal against Greece made him the oldest player ever to score for his country at the World Cup. [h=2]2) 1987 final, Chile 0-1 Uruguay[/h]What's the next level down after 'scum'? After Uruguay had booted and barged Scotland during the 1986 World Cup, getting a player sent off after 55 seconds and somehow avoiding several more red cards, the secretary of the Scottish FA, Ernie Walker, branded them "cheats and cowards the scum of world football" but a year later the Uruguayans themselves came up against a Chile team intent on unleashing even more violence on the pitch. The 1987 edition of the Copa América was especially brutal, with Colombia and Bolivia setting the standard early in the competition when four players were sent off in the space of five minutes for separate incidents in their clash, but in the final Chile, in particular, outdid anything that had preceded it, repeatedly chopping down their opponents with calculated, almost comical glee. The fact that only four players were red carded including Enzo Francesoli after some extravagant playacting by a Chilean defender attests to the leniency of the laws at the time (and the laxity of the referee observe how the assault at 5:15 does not yield a red card) and reminds us of how special players such as Francesoli had to be to complete dribbles back then. If this Chile team were around now, Lionel Messi might find himself chopped back down to his pre-hormonal growth treatment size. Still, at least there was a happy ending, as Pablo Bengoechea scored the only goal to ensure that Uruguay, who in the semi-final had beaten the hosts Diego Maradona's Argentina prevailed. [h=2]3) Honduras reach the 2001 semi-final[/h]The 2001 Copa began in confusion and darn near culminated in astonishment. Colombia were the hosts no, they weren't yes, they were: security problems in the country led to Conmebol re-assigning the tournament to Venezuela, then changing their mind late on, leading to the withdrawal of Argentina, who claimed to have received death threats from Colombian paramilitary groups, and guests Canada. So Costa Rica and Honduras were invited in their stead. Neither were expected to do anything more than make up the numbers indeed, Honduras had trouble doing even that, and arrived after scrambling to put a squad together just a few hours before their first game on board a Colombia air force plane. Unsurprisingly they lost that match 1-0 to Costa Rica. Shockingly, however, they won their remaining group games against Bolivia and Uruguay and progressed to an improbable quarter-final. Here their heroics would surely end, as the opponents lying in wait were little ol' Brazil. Few of the players who would win the World Cup a year later were present (no Ronaldo, Rivaldo or Ronadinho, most notably) but still, it was Brazil. Against Honduras. After an even first half, Brazil came out for the second period with renewed vigour and sharpness and seemed to be getting the upper hand until Julio León embarked on a jagged run down the right and crossed to Saul Martínez, whose header came back off the post before ricocheting off the backtracking Juliano Belletti and bouncing into the net. The technically-gifted Hondurans seemed to have extended their lead five minutes later but had a goal wrongly disallowed and then, at last, came the Brazilian backlash. But Honduras held firm, restricting the aristocrats to long shots and endless corners. As the tension mounted, Honduras's centre-back David Carcamo and Brazil's captain, Emerson Ferreira, were sent off for fighting, and then, in stoppage-time, Honduras's inspirational captain, the midfielder Amado Guevara, broke up a last desperate Brazilian attack and instigated a counter-raid that concluded with Martínez firing into the net. "I will go down in history as the Brazil coach who lost to Honduras it's horrible," groaned Luiz Felipe Scolari, for whom there were better days ahead. The fairytale did not continue for Honduras, who were beaten 2-0 in the semi-final by Colombia, although they did win the third-place play-off by beating Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out and their thrilling contribution to the competition was recognised when Guevara was named player of the tournament. [h=2]4) Argentina's redemption, 1991[/h]Note to Millwall fans: the "no one likes us, we don't care" approach becomes very boring, very quickly. Oh that's right, you don't care. Sorry to have mentioned it. Anyway, Argentina didn't care if the whole planet winced at them in 1990, when they kicked, ground, battled and barged their way to the World Cup final. It's true that they knocked out Brazil with a goal of great ingenuity, conceived by Diego Maradona and executed by Claudio Caniggia, but by and large they were an obnoxious affront to football throughout Italia 90 and their spectacularly obstreperous display in the final made them perfect pantomime villains. No sooner was that tournament over, however, than Argentina resolved to reinvent themselves and the team that turned up for the 1991 Copa were a joy to behold. Whereas the 1990 side showed the world two fingers (and perhaps a sly elbow), Coco Basile's young squad showed wonderfully tricky feet and marvellously inventive minds. Gems such as Diego Latorre, Leo Rodríguez and Darío Franco (who scored a superb header in the 3-2 victory over Brazil, which, naturally, featured five red cards) sparkled brighter than they ever would again, and the team's striker, Gabriel Batitusta, hit the heights at which he would remain. Argentina not only won the trophy, they regained the world's admiration. [h=2]5) Argentina v Brazil[/h]Let's face it, this is the couple that everyone wants to see clash. The aforementioned 3-2 victory for Argentina in 1991 was but one of this duo's spectacular tiffs. From the moment that Brazil stormed off the pitch before the end of the very first Copa (or South American championship) final in 1937 (not because they were losing, they said, but because of fears for their safety and anger at the fans who were racially abusing their black players), this was a relationship bound by bad blood, contemptible behaviour and exquisite skill. Two years later it was Argentina who abandoned the pitch, this time in protest at the perceived iniquity of the referee, leaving Brazil to seal a 3-2 victory by scoring a penalty against no goalkeeper. Then there were the clashes in 1945 and 1946, in each of which a player had his leg broken by outrageous tackles and the latter being interrupted first by Brazilian players brawling with the police, then by a pitch invasion. There have been less violent, slightly less incendiary scandals too, such as Tulio Maravilha making it 2-2 late on in 1995 by scoring with his arm (or "the hand of the devil," as the outraged Argentinian media dubbed it). But, most of all, on top of the passion there has been wonderful flair and goals. Get a load of Ricardo Gareca's winner in the 1983 final or, perhaps best of all, Tita's extraordinary dinked winner as Brazil eliminated the world champions in 1979. [h=2]6) Juan Carlos Oblitas's bicycle kick, for Peru v Chile, 1975[/h]These two countries had squabbled for decades over who invented the bicycle kick. They're probably still bickering about it now. But Juan Carlos Oblitas briefly struck his Chilean interlocutors dumb in 1975.