The 2019 Copa America group stage has ended after 11 straight days of mostly boring football, but now the really fun part is about to start.
Following the dramatic conclusion of Group C with a late winner by Uruguay that won them the group and a 95th minute winner by Japan ruled out by VAR that knocked them out of the tournament, we have the eight teams we expected in the quarterfinals and four very intriguing matchups:
The biggest favorites are clearly Brazil, who face a Paraguay side that somehow found a way into the Last Eight thanks to two points and just three goals scored in three games. They’ll park the bus for 90 minutes and hope the Seleção plays badly, but after their destruction of Peru Brazil seem to be on the right path and ready to reach the semifinals.
If the Brazilians win their game they’ll face the winner of Venezuela against Argentina, which right now is just impossible to predict. On paper the Albiceleste have the better team and Lionel Messi, but Venezuela dominated a very similar Argentina side in a friendly in Madrid back in March and are definitely not afraid of the challenge. This is going to be fun.
Colombia vs Chile is the best matchup in this round and it’ll feature the highest level of football. Colombia won all three group stage games and played the best overall football up to this point, with James Rodríguez having a special tournament so far. They’re really good in possession and out of it, and they’ll be ready for whatever strategy Chile throws at them. Arturo Vidal will probably be back for this one, which is crucial for La Roja, who also need Chile Alexis Sánchez to have a real shot at the semifinals.
On Sunday we have the last game of the round as Uruguay face Peru, and after their 5-0 loss to Brazil it’s safe to say the Albirroja are major underdogs in this one. But they’re still really talented up front, although the loss of Jefferson Farfán to injury really hurts. Paolo Guerrero will need to have a game for the ages, but Uruguay have played really well so far and are favorites if Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani continue to be a terror.
The bad games are behind us: get ready for an awesome quarterfinal round and the potential for two unbelievable semifinals. The fun starts now.
Day 11 Results
Chile 0-1 Uruguay
Goal: Cavani (82’)
Ecuador 1-1 Japan
Goals: Nakajima (15’), Mena (35’)
Goal of the Day
OH MY GOODNESS WHAT A BEAUTIFUL HEADER FROM CAVANI (US only):