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It’s showtime in the Copa America, and all four quarter-finals will be played between Wednesday and Saturday this week. It’s already been a tournament filled with action, drama and controversy, with Neymar ruled out of the tournament after receiving a four-match ban for hitting out at a Colombia player after the final whistle in their group match-up. There have been no real surprises in qualification, with all the big guns eventually through, but Uruguay and Colombia had to settle for third place in their groups behind Paraguay and Peru, only making it into the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth.
The Quarter-final Line-up
The first match starts at 8:30pm local time in Chile, with the hosts taking on Uruguay, but that’s half past midnight over here in the UK. Below are the fixtures along with BST kick off times.
Chile v Uruguay, Thursday 25th June, 00:30
Bolivia v Peru, Friday 26th June, 00:30
Argentina v Colombia, Saturday 27th June, 00:30
Brazil v Paraguay, Saturday 27th June, 22:30
Argentina and Brazil both stand out in their respective games, and look worth following to win through to the semi-finals. Chile were our tip for the tournament, and they’ve been in cruise control so far, but Uruguay provide stiff opposition, and it will be a tricky encounter. Let’s start with that one.
Draw – +275 with Betvictor
The hosts topped group A with 7 points ahead of Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico, and never really looked like getting out of second gear in the group matches. A 2-0 win over Ecuador in the opener was followed by a surprisingly open 3-3 draw with Mexico, but they brushed Bolivia aside 5-0 in the final group match. As you’d expect from a relentless attacking side such as Chile, they have plenty of goals in them.
However, Uruguay are will-drilled in the art of defending, and they will dig deep to keep Chile out. They had a good start with the 1-0 win over Jamaica, but went down by the same scoreline to Argentina. That left them with work to do against Paraguay in the final game, and they came away with a 1-1 draw that saw both sides safely through. The Argentina game was an interesting one, and at times it was attack against defence. Sergio Aguero’s 56th minute winner was enough to separate the sides, but Uruguay limited the Argentine attack to minimal chances.
This match could play out in a similar vein, with Chile on the attack buoyed by a passionate crowd, and Uruguay doing what they do best – soaking up pressure and hitting on the break. Although we would like to see Chile progress, they may have to do so after extra-time or penalties, and the price on a stalemate looks great value here, considering Uruguay’s defensive tendencies.
Late on Friday night/early Saturday morning, Argentina take on Colombia, and Messi and Co. are worth backing at close to evens to win in the ninety.
Colombia – +380 with Betvictor
The aforementioned Uruguay game is the way that many teams set up to cope with Argentina’s attacking prowess, by defending in numbers, but Colombia aren’t that type of side. They are blessed with their own array of attacking talent, and are much better going forward than going backwards. That should make this a thrilling game to watch, and if they go toe-to-toe there should be only one outcome.
Argentina were shocked by Paraguay in the opening group game, giving up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2, but they’ve recorded successive 1-0 wins over Jamaica and Uruguay since then, and qualification never really looked in doubt. Colombia were at their unpredictable best in the group stage, losing 1-0 to Venezuela first time out, before beating Brazil by the same scoreline in the next game. Which, of course, was the result which led to Neymar’s red card and subsequent ban from the tournament. A 0-0 draw with Peru saw them through as a third-placed qualifier, but the Brazil result apart, it’s been a disjointed tournament for Colombia.
It’s hard to see Colombia keeping Argentina out for 90 minutes, but after three clean sheets in four it’s possible to see Argentina keeping out Colombia. For those reasons, Argentina are selected to win without the need for extra-time or penalties.
The last quarter-final will take place on Saturday night between Brazil and Paraguay, and despite missing Neymar, Brazil are a good bet to reach the semi-finals.
Controversy is never far away from the Brazilian national side, and the World Cup last year perfectly encapsulated the highs and lows of the famous Yellow shirts. All was rosy and Neymar was gracing the tournament, before his injury and the 7-1 Germany defeat threw them into turmoil. It had been a return to smoother pastures over the last year, as the side had built up an impressive ten straight victories leading up to the tournament to put all that behind them.
A 2-1 win over Peru in the opener looked to put them on track, but then the fiery 1-0 defeat to Colombia and a moment of madness from their talisman, threw their tournament into chaos. The likes of Robinho and Willian stepped up to the plate to replace him, and a 2-1 win over Venezuela saw them through as group winners.
Paraguay recorded that great 2-2 draw with Argentina first time out, and followed it up with a 1-0 win over Jamaica. The 1-1 draw with Uruguay saw both sides qualify, but Paraguay are up against it here playing Brazil. Paraguay actually knocked Brazil out of the last Copa America in 2011, winning on penalties after a 0-0 draw, so there is that score to settle as well.
Copa America Quarter-finals
Chile v Uruguay – Draw – +275 with Betvictor
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