Uruguay will play Colombia in the semifinals of the Copa America

At the Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina on Wednesday, Uruguay and Colombia square off in a tantalizing semi-final for the chance to go to Florida and play in the Copa America final

(Football news) While Marcelo Bielsa’s team needed a penalty shootout to defeat Brazil, the clinical Colombians easily defeated a struggling Panama in the quarterfinals, scoring five goals without answering.

Uruguay maintained their reputation as one of the toughest defenses in South America by keeping Brazil off the scoresheet for 120 minutes during their quarterfinal match, despite Brazil having suffered two severe knocks to their back.

Despite a first-half injury to Ronald Araujo and a second-half red card to Nahitan Nandez, Bielsa’s team managed to hold out for a 12-yard shootout in which Douglas Luiz, the new kid on Juventus, missed the mark and Eder Militao’s attempt was stopped by Sergio Rochet.

While Uruguay stalwart Jose Gimenez could not beat Alisson Becker, his blushes were spared by Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Giorgian de Arrascaeta and finally Manuel Ugarte, as Uruguay ended their 13-year exile from the semi-finals of the Copa America.

Not since winning their 15th and most recent title in the 2011 edition have La Celeste been present in the final four – going out in the quarter-finals in three of the last four editions – but a Florida sojourn is a highly realistic aim for a side now boasting five wins on the bounce.

In that time, Bielsa’s men have conceded just the one goal – to Panama in their opening 3-1 group-stage success – but fresh defensive concerns rearing their ugly heads will undoubtedly threaten their remarkable rearguard record, and indeed their place in the showpiece match.

While Uruguay failed to keep Panama off the scoresheet in their Copa opener, a captivating Colombia outfit ran into no such defensive difficulties in their quarter-final showdown, striking five times through five different scorers to storm into the final four.

James Rodriguez, Jhon Cordoba, Luis Diaz, Richard Rios and Miguel Borja all played their direct part in a 5-0 annihilation in Arizona, which saw Nestor Lorenzo’s men either match or break multiple national team records, including their biggest-ever margin of victory in a Copa America match.

In addition, the tremendous Tricolour are now on a 27-game unbeaten streak across all tournaments since losing to Argentina in a February 2022 World Cup qualifier, and should they prevail on Wednesday and reach the final, they will set a new record for their longest-ever sequence without defeat.

Colombia’s 10-game victorious streak may have been snapped in their final group-stage draw with Brazil, but that 1-1 represents the most minor of minor blots on the Tricolour notebook, and they have now progressed to the semi-finals in three of the last four Copa Americas.

However, not since their inaugural and only triumph at the tournament in 2001 have the 2021 and 2016 bronze medallists progressed to the final, and their last two encounters with Uruguay have both ended level, but their penalty prowess came to the fore when they defeated La Celeste in the Copa quarters three years back.

Also read: England will play Netherlands in the semifinals of the Euro 2024


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