Even Brazilian Neymar says he wants Lionel Messi and Argentina in the final.
The Copa América championship game that everyone wants to see on Saturday July 10 between Brazil and Argentina is just one game away from becoming a reality. Brazil did their part by beating Peru in the semifinals. Now only No. Colombia, which ranks 15th, stands in the way of Argentina, No. 8 in the world.
Don’t think Los Cafeteros don’t hear all the talk. They’ll be out to spoil the party when they face Messi & Co. on Tuesday at the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia. And they have the résumé to achieve discomfort.
Colombia beat Argentina 2-0 in the group stage of the last Copa América in 2019. And the Colombians came back 2-0 against to tie Argentina in a World Cup qualifier in June. Head coach Reinaldo Rueda has instilled faith and quiet confidence in a team full of accomplished professionals, many of whom also play in Europe’s top leagues, and who will not be intimidated by the occasion or by Argentina.
Rueda opts for a defense-first approach. So it is not surprising that the goals have been a challenge for Colombia, which lacks the creativity of Everton star James Rodríguez, who did not make the final list. Meanwhile, Argentina will counter with a multitude of offensive riches led by Messi, who has had a productive Copa América with four goals and four assists.
But what Messi (below) wants more than anything is to win the Copa América and claim his first medal with Argentina’s senior men’s team. If the Argentines can advance, it would be a third Copa América final in six years against their arch enemy Brazil … in Brazil. A first trophy in that context would be considered one of the greatest achievements of Messi’s career.
How to watch Argentina vs. Colombia in the US
- Date: Tuesday July 6
- Hour: 9 pm ET
- Television channel: FS1
- Spanish television: Univision, TUDN
- Transmission: fuboTV, TUDN.tv
FS1 will carry the Argentina-Colombia semifinal in English, with Univision and TUDN providing coverage in Spanish. Both networks are available to broadcast on fuboTV (7-day free trial).
Colombia is trying to reach its first Copa América final since 2001, the same year it won its only continental title. Since Colombia’s triumph, Argentina has reached the final of the Copa América in four of the six editions, losing each one. His last trophy lift dates back to 1993.
Argentina vs. Colombia projected lineups
Although he admits that he has some tired players loading shots, Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni revealed that the team that will play Colombia will not look much different from the one that beat Ecuador 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
The only real question is whether Guido Rodríguez will start Leandro Paredes in central midfield. It is already confirmed that central defender Cristian “Cuti” Romero will miss again through injury, with Germán Pezzella maintaining his position. If you are looking for a spark of attack, Papu Gómez and Ángel Di María will be available from the bank.
MORE: Updated table of the Copa América tournament
Colombia gets a boost with the return of their best player, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, who is back after serving a one-game suspension. Los Cafeteros’ big lineup decision is who plays as a forward. With just two goals in a row in five games, more production is expected than a talented front is.
Rueda is likely to opt for the Duvan Zapata-Luis Muriel duo, who are part of the Italian Atalanta. Or it could feature Rafael Santos Borre, who officially moved to German team Eintracht Frankfurt on Monday. The worker Miguel Borja, who currently exercises his trade in the Colombian league, is another option, although he could be the preferred one from the bench.
Argentina (4-3-3, from left to right): Emiliano Martínez-GK – Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella, Nahuel Molina – Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul – Nicolas Gonzalez, Lautaro Martínez, Lionel Messi
Colombia (4-4-2, from left to right): David Ospina-GK – William Tesillo, Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina, Daniel Munoz – Luis Diaz, Gustavo Cuellar, Wilmar Barrios, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado – Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel
Argentina vs. Colombia: odds and prediction
So what kind of semi-final can we expect? Colombia has already said that it will seek to play an orderly game, control the pace of play and make as few mistakes as possible. Translation: Colombia will play in a cautious and defensive stance, frustrate the Argentines and then hope to score on a breakaway or set piece.
Argentina is a high pressure team with players who will fight for every ball and face every challenge. The Argentines will try to cause turnovers and win the ball as high as possible on the field. And once they do, they will go vertically, directly to the goal and at high speed. And in Messi and in forward Lautaro Martínez, they have the players to execute that plan. They are also dangerous on set pieces.
MORE: When is the Copa América final played?
It’s an identity that has made Argentina hard to beat – undefeated in 18 games (11-0-7) since a 2019 Copa América semifinal loss against Brazil, but it also means that the Argentines are not sweeping away the teams, and the quarterfinals against Ecuador were much closer than the final score (3-0) would have you believe.
Expect this elimination match to be routine: Argentina trying to fight its way through the Colombian low bloc, or trying to pull the Colombians out of position. And routines are usually slower, low-scoring affairs, unless an early goal somehow opens things up. Colombia’s five games have been one-goal matches or 0-0 draws.
Low goal totals, narrow margins of victory and Argentina is the way to play this. Argentina has in Messi who makes the difference. And the script that was developed for Neymar and Brazil against Peru, Neymar’s magic prepared the decisive goal for Brazil in the 1-0 victory, it will probably also be played here.
Prediction: Argentina 1, Colombia 0
Fees courtesy of DraftKings
- Argentina wins (90 minutes): -120
- Argentina to advance: -265
- Draw (90 minutes): +230
- Colombia wins (90 minutes): +390
- Colombia to move forward: +210
- Argentina to score first and win the match: -103
- Argentina -0.75 Asian Handicap: +107
- Argentina will score from a penalty: +500
- Less than 1.5 goals in total: +170
- Colombia Less than 0.5 goals scored: +108