The Copa América has passed to the final four phase. One from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina will lift the iconic trophy on June 11. The quarterfinals were a mixed bag for each of them, having to overcome different forms of adversity. From the uncertainty surrounding the organization of the matches to the lack of fair competition between teams, it has been a tumultuous month, albeit with a lot of football.
THIS IS WHAT THE SEMIS WERE LEFT!
These will be the crosses of the next phase of CONMEBOL # America Cup
ASSIM FICARAM AS SEMIS!
– Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 4, 2021
However, CONMEBOL and the teams have come this far and with only four games left between now and a title for a team, the time to give it all is now. FootTheBall looks at the competitors and how they can chart their own route to history.
The coffee growers were considered one of the dark horses before the tournament started, but they have had a hard time impressing them. Winning just one of his four group games is pretty poor considering his squad’s pedigree. Even without the James Rodríguez talisman, who was left out under a cloud of mystery, Reinaldo Rueda would certainly have expected more.
– Colombia Selection (@FCFSeleccionCol) July 4, 2021
Their experienced defensive pairing of Yerry Mina and Davinson Sánchez has already yielded five goals. Although their loss to Brazil was particularly cruel, the main problem has been scoring goals. Having scored just three so far, it took the heroism of David Ospina’s penalty shootout to make it through to the quarter-finals against Uruguay.
David Ospina was Colombia’s hero, as he helped them beat Uruguay on penalties to secure the #America Cup semifinals:
1 store from inside the box
2 penalty shootout stops
12/19 acc. happens
1 clean sheet
8.1 SofaScore rating
– SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) July 4, 2021
If they want to reach the final, their forwards must take a huge step against an extremely compact Argentina. In Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel, Luis Díaz, they have players who have scored 43 goals for their clubs in the league season. Now is the time to bring your club form to the national team.
The Incas have realized themselves very well in the tournament with their spirit of not giving up. After Brazil’s 4-0 win on the opening day, they have gradually improved to score eight goals. What has been really impressive is the ability to score after falling behind.
– Peruvian Selection (@SeleccionPeru) July 2, 2021
Against Ecuador, he found himself trailing by two goals at halftime before drawing. Benevento striker Gianluca Lapadula has joined forces with Andre Carrillo to lead their attack. Lapadula has been in good shape, his most dangerous outing, but he will miss his teammate against Brazil after Carrillo was sent off in the quarterfinals. However, it is your defense that really needs to be hardened quickly.
Lapadula, who was born in Turin but plays for Peru due to her mother’s inheritance, has a brace for La Blanquirroja
– Sacha Pisani (@ Sachk0) July 2, 2021
Having taken the lead twice against Paraguay, they were butted each time before finally winning a tense penalty shoot-out. Manager Ricardo Gareca knows that they can’t have as many leaks when they face the defending champs. Brazil have been ruthless in terms of scoring and expect this to be a firm goal as well. Ultimately, it could depend on who defends himself best in this crucial tie.
It seems that the Albiceleste has finally woken up and this may be their year to win the Copa América. Drawing inspiration from the most talented and decorated free agent in history, Lionel Messi, Argentina appears to be the top contender for once.
At the forefront of this charge has been the former captain of Barcelona who has scored four and has assisted four so far. His delicious game and brilliant ability to groom teammates have given Lionel Scaloni’s team a real edge.
Another free kick from Messi in the Copa América. 4 goals, 4 assists. Messi is only Messi. https://t.co/Wiub7F9vEH
– Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 4, 2021
Messi has been well supported for once by a competent supporting cast. Sergio Agüero, Lautaro Martínez, Rodrigo De Paul and others have been immense throughout the tournament. Having scored seven in their last two games, one can expect more goals to come. Will this really be the year Messi breaks his international trophy? 2021 has already seen stranger things. One thing is for sure, it won’t be easy.
– Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) July 4, 2021
Scaloni has been careful not to get too far ahead of the present, but there is a palpable sense of excitement. There is no denying that Messi is the reason they have become so competitive time and again on the world stage. If he can deliver as he does in the next two games, few will bet against this team.
The only reason Brazil remains the favorite to lift a second consecutive Copa América crown is due to the very nature of soccer. It is a team game, with 11 players on the field. Argentina’s over-reliance on Messi is well known, with the five-time Ballon d’Or able to influence matches on his own. However, when it comes to the most refined squad left, it has to be the Selecao.
Fred in the Copa América 2021 [Brazil rank]:
23 passes to the final third 23 progressive passes 10 tackle attempts *
8 successful tackles *
A key player in an impressive campaign. pic.twitter.com/Jz9lWF58Bz
– Dave Statman (@StatmanDave) July 3, 2021
Going into the tournament, they were expected to be champions again, but the road has not been easy. Against Colombia, they scored the winning goal in the 10th minute of injury time, while against Chile last time out, they had to play most of the second half with one man less.
It was his ability to firmly defend a one-goal lead that goes well with his nature of looking to score. Of course, a great help has been the quality of his players in all positions.
– James Nalton (@JDNalton) July 3, 2021
In fact, the Selecao is packed with serial winners who bring a championship mentality and experience to everyone involved. Tite has really done wonders for his team, leaving them on the brink of winning. Although they have a tough draw against Peru next, their determination to win should be enough to see them through.
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