ARGENTINA v COLOMBIA – Your Copa America guide to the quarter-final

Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain: Big threat to Colombia

This game in Vina Del Mar on Friday is the one that both would have wanted to avoid so soon in Copa America.

Many had them pegged as finalists. After all, they are ranked higher by FIFA than Brazil (Argentina are ranked third, Colombia fourth and Brazil fifth).

It has not quite clicked for Argentina (odds: 1.86) at this Copa America. The favourites to win it all recorded a draw with Paraguay, followed by two laboured 1-0 wins against Uruguay and Jamaica respectively.

They topped the group with seven points and are unbeaten, the worries about their ropey defence before the start of the tournament have been masked by the problems up front.

Their three games have included two clean sheets but coach Gerardo Martino has come under fire for perceived lack of flexibility. They have managed a total of just four goals in games against Uruguay, Paraguay and Jamaica. With all due respect to those sides, the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria should be creating more than they have don thus far.

Traditionally, La Albiceleste invariably start slowly at major tournaments and come on strong. That could well be the pattern again. Defensive uncertainties aside (they were rudely awakened when Paraguay came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the opener), Argentina have won eight and drawn one of their last 11 internationals since losing to Germany in the World Cup final.


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The incentive is obvious: they are without a major title since 1993, but will likely have to go through Brazil in the semi-final, should the Selecao come through their last eight clash with Paraguay, and there is the prospect of host nation Chile waiting in the final. That is a tough road.

Messi, Tevez and company now face a young Colombia (4.90) side who, whilst losing to Venezuela, have beaten Brazil and are certainly capable of raising their game.

Jose Pekerman’s Colombia lit up the last World Cup, creating numerous chances with their free-flowing, pacy football. Yet James Rodriguez and Los Cafeteros have struggled mightily to find the net.

James Rodriguez
Colombia key: James Rodriguez

They have limped into the last eight, having scored one goal in three games – and that was enough to beat Brazil and gain the three points to take them through.

Colombia’s problems centre on Radamel Falcao, who has continued his poor form that convinced Manchester United manager Luis Van Gaal to abandon thoughts of a permanent move.

The 29-year-old has attracted the attention of Chelsea – perhaps it appeals to Jose Mourinho’s ego to turn Falcao’s form around where Van Gaal has failed – but many Colombia fans want to see him dropped in favour of Jackson Martinez.

One thing to look for is a lack of discipline. In the 18 group games, at least four cards were issued in 13 of those games – and you can invariably bank on a few cards when Argentina and Colombia meet.

Their last six clashes have produced a total of 31 yellow and four red cards (an average of five yellows and a red per game).

Since they were crowned Copa America champions in 2001, Colombia have failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals and while Martinez and Carlos Bacca will pose a threat, Argentina look worthy favourites.

They also have a decent record against Colombia, winning seven and drawing three of the last 12 meetings. The draw is on offer at 3.20, but Argentina are a viable price to continue their good run.



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