Copa America Quarter-Final Places Available

Chile would have been disappointed to concede three goals as they played to a 3-3 draw against Mexico.  Yes, La Roja play a high-tempo game and will always score goals but are also vulnerable at the back, as evidenced in this match.  Arturo Vidal’s arrest for drinking and driving does not help and while the hosts remain strong, and indeed contenders, they have yet to set the tournament alive.

The Mexicans have not impressed and neither have Ecuador.  The Ecuadorians were dogged against the Chileans and then shell shocked against Bolivia.  La Verde deserve a special mention for winning their first Copa America match since 1997 and it was largely thanks to a sensation first half showing where they raced to a  3-0 lead.

The Bolivians held on to win 3-2 and are now good for a quarter-final place which is an achievement for their side.  Argentina are also off the mark.  After La Albiceleste threw away a two-goal lead against Paraguay, Gerardo Martino’s men are up and running and will be delighted with a win against the old enemy Uruguay, who it must be said had one or two chances to score themselves.

Nevertheless, Martino’s men were virtually the only team on the field for most parts of the Rio De La Plata derby and will perhaps have wanted more than just the 1-0 win against La Celeste, who looked more like Los Blancos on the night in their change kit.  Edgar Benitez enjoyed some really good fortune to net Paraguay’s winning goal against the Jamaicans and while it was fortuitous, the reality is that the South Americans dominated their Caribbean opponents.  Jamaica have not disgraced themselves at all in Chile but are clearly not Copa contenders.

Colombia bounced back to beat Brazil in a match dominated by Los Cafeteros and the 1-0 scoreline flatters the Selecao, who will be without Neymar in the next match after the skipper was sent off in the dying stages.  Jose Pekerman will want more of this from his charges, and less of the performance against Venezuela and if he can get that out of them, the Colombians are going to be serious title contenders.  I have picked them as my team of the second round in spite of an awful lapse at the back in the 58th minute when Brazil’s Roberto Firmino missed a sitter, he would have netted 99 other times.

As for my team of the first round, it was a crash back to earth for the Venezuelans, who fell 1-0 to Peru, who are proving to be no pushover.  The Peruvians would have felt unlucky to lose 2-1 to Brazil first up but, made up for it by seeing off ten-man La Vinotinto second time around.

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