Copa America Centenario Quarter-final Roundup

The Copa America has entered the business stage with just eight teams left in the competition. Here is a full roundup of how the quarter-finals unfolded.

USA 2-1 Ecuador

Celebration

Clint Dempsey scored for the third straight game and set up Gyasi Zardes for a tap-in goal, sending the United States into the Copa America semifinals with a 2-1 win over Ecuador on Thursday night.Dempsey’s 52nd international goal put the U.S. ahead in the 22nd minute. Zardes guided Dempsey’s cross into the net in the 65th for his sixth goal and a 2-0 lead.Michael Arroyo scored for Ecuador in the 74th minute, making for a tense ending, and Enner Valencia missed a pair of great chances moment later on a pair of headers.A chippy game was costly for the U.S. as midfielder Jermaine Jones was shown a red card during a 52nd-minute confrontation that also saw Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia sent off after a second yellow card for kicking out at Alejando Bedoya along the sideline .Jones will be suspended for the semifinal along with U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and Bobby Wood, who both picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament.For the first goal, Dempsey played the ball ahead to Wood, who dribbled and then passed to Jones. He crossed into the penalty area, where Dempsey had completed his run from midfield and beat Juan Paredes to the ball, directing it to the corner of the net past goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez from 8 yards. The second goal was also a result of Wood playing the ball back. Brooks played a long ball to Wood, and his pass to Matt Besler was crossed to Gyasi Zardes in the area. His headed pass found Dempsey, who was able to slide a pass across the mouth of the goal for Zardes to poke in. After that, the Americans tired and Ecuador turned up the pressure. Arroyo’s goal came off Walter Ayovi’s free kick from a flank. Enner Valencia missed two chances in the 76th and 77th minutes, and Brooks nearly put in an own goal in the first minute of stoppage time, only to see the ball deflected wide by goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Joy

Colombia reached the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario by beating Peru on penalties. The two teams played out a low-key goalless draw at MetLife Stadium, Colombia with the better chances until stoppage time, when Peru defender Christian Ramos threatened a dramatic winner.Colombia’s goalkeeper David Ospina then saved from Miguel Trauco before Christian Cueva’s miss handed Colombia a 4-2 win in the shootout.Carlos Bacca’s early run and shot drew a sharp save from Peru keeper Pedro Gallese while at the other end, Paulo Guerrero’s cross was headed over by Edison Flores.The best chance yet came when Colombia captain James Rodriguez curled a shot with his weaker right foot from 20 yards against the base of a post, with Bacca putting the rebound wide from a tight angle.The rest of the opening period passed in scrappy fashion and that pattern continued after the break as Colombia were given an early free kick which James curled straight at Gallese.Bacca headed straight at the keeper while Peru forward Flores drilled a free kick straight into the wall. Ramos made a crucial clearance to prevent Cuadrado’s cross reaching Bacca and Jeison Murillo headed James’ free kick well wide.Ospina made a vital stoppage-time save from Ramos’ header, taking the game straight to penalties with Copa America rules specifying no extra time until the final.He then saved Peru’s third penalty, from full-back Trauco, with his right foot before Cueva put the fourth over the bar to send Colombia through.

Argentina 4-1 Bolivia

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi had a goal and two assists in his first start at the Copa America Centenario as Argentina defeated Venezuela 4-1 in a quarterfinal on Saturday.Gonzalo Higuain also scored twice as Argentina advanced to face the United States in a semifinal on Tuesday in Houston.Messi’s goal was his 54th for his country and matched Gabriel Batistuta’s national record.After only appearing as a substitute in two group-stage games while recovering from a back injury, Messi proved dangerous from the beginning as he dribbled into the top of the Venezuela box and chipped a shot that goalkeeper Daniel Hernandez snagged.Two minutes later Messi threatened again, cutting inside to wrong-foot Rolf Feltscher before snapping a shot just wide of the far post. Messi had more success as a provider in the eighth minute, when he lofted a perfect pass between two defenders. A sliding Higuain met the ball on the half-volley and redirected it past Hernandez. Messi almost doubled Argentina’s lead three minutes later after Hernandez had a miscue with his defenders and tried to play the ball outside of his box. Messi gathered it and tried a lofted shot from 25 yards, but it sailed wide.Venezuela, the surprise performers of the tournament, fought back and nearly had an equaliser when Sergio Romero had to concede a corner with Salomon Rondon rushing in on goal. Messi was again the danger man in the 22nd minute as he appeared to draw a penalty when Arquimedes Figuera tackled him from behind, but Mexican referee Roberto Garcia ruled he had gotten a touch to the ball.Argentina kept up the pressure and Higuain had a sharp shot blocked in front of goal. The striker was soon rewarded for his efforts, though, when he picked off Figuera’s horrendous back pass and rounded Hernandez to tap home for Argentina’s second goal.Venezuela then saw a number of chances go awry before the end of the first half. First Romero saved Rondon’s hard shot from the top of the box, and then Rondon’s header from a corner bounced off the post.But the worst moment came in the 44th minute after Venezuela earned a penalty when Romero took out Josef Martinez while trying to reach a cross.From the spot, Luis Seijas tried to beat Romero with a chipped Panenka but the goalkeeper was not fooled and stayed put to easily hold the comical attempt.Messi finally got his goal -his Copa-best fourth of the tournament -on the hour mark after Oswaldo Vizcarrondo gave the ball away deep in his own half. Nicolas Gaitan ran onto it and passed across to Messi, who finished past Hernandez to make it 3-0.Venezuela earned a lifeline when Salomon Rondon flicked a header past Romero from a Alejandro Guerra cross on 70 minutes.But Argentina hit back less than a minute later as Messi fed substitute Erik Lamela, whose shot squirmed past Hernandez to cap the scoring.

Mexico 0-7 Chile

Eduardo Vargas and Chile turned a highly anticipated Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal into a rout, hammering Mexico 7-0 with Vargas scoring four of his team’s goals Saturday night.Chile kept their hopes alive to repeat as Copa America champion after they won the 2015 tournament on their own soil. They advanced to the Semifinal Round to face Colombia Wednesday in Chicago.Mexico’s record 22-match unbeaten streak came crashing to a halt, as did their run in Copa America Centenario in front of a largely Mexican crowd of 70,547. El Tri had lost only once in six previous meetings with Chile, but fell apart defensively time after time on Saturday.Chile put the pressure on Mexico when Marcelo Diaz had time for a running start and shot on goal, which Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa stopped. The deflection came out to Edson Puch, who finished in the 16th minutePuch also had Chile’s last goal, scored in the 88th minute. La Roja thought they had a second goal in the 37th minute, but Vargas was ruled offside after his shot found the net.Vargas would get his goal and many more. He collected a pass through three defenders from Alexis Sanchez and scored from close range in the 44th minute. And with Mexico’s defense pushed forward trying to mount an attack, Vargas dribbled into the open and scored in the 52nd minute.Sanchez scored after a smooth give-and-go with teammate Arturo Vidal in the 49thminute and Vargas collected a deflected shot to record his third goal in the 57th.Vargas added one more for good measure, collecting a rebound off the post and shooting from a tight angle at the near post in the 74th minute, becoming the 12thplayer to score four goals in a Copa America matchVargas shared the Golden Boot at the 2015 Copa America with Peru’s Paolo Guerrero; both had four. With six goals and two more games to play, Vargas leads the tournament in scoring once again, with Argentina’s Lionel Messi sitting two goals behind in second place.

Semi-final fixtures:

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Be sure to check back for roundups of the semi-finals!

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