The group stage of the Copa America is now over with our quarter-finalists confirmed. Here’s a full roundup of how the final games played out.
USA 1-0 Paraguay
Clint Dempsey scored and the United States held on despite losing DeAndre Yedlin to a red card early in the second half to beat Paraguay 1-0 and book a spot in the Copa America quarterfinals. After Dempsey scored in the first half in front of a large crowd in Philadelphia, the U.S. fought off a late Paraguay assault on Brad Guzan’s goal to secure the victory in Group A. Jurgen Klinsmann’s men actually won the group after Costa Rica, who were eliminated with the U.S.’ win, still managed to stun Colombia 3-2 later on Saturday night.The U.S. will next face the Group B runner-up. On Saturday, Paraguay had a tremendous opportunity to take the lead with a three-on-one counter-attack in the 11th minute, but John Brooks did well to block Miguel Almiron’s shot, one of a number of fine defensive plays on the night by the center-back.The U.S. then went on the attack as Gyasi Zardes and Yedlin began to look dangerous around the edge of the penalty box, though neither could find the final pass to release a striker. Clint Dempsey then drew a handball on the top of the box, but his free kick flew just over the far post.But the U.S. found the breakthrough in the 27th minute as Zardes raced down the wing and pulled back a low cross that Dempsey shot home.Paraguay’s best chance to equalize in the first half came in the 45th minute when Dario Lezcano advanced on goal but Guzan denied him at the near post.But early in the second half, the game turned as Yedlin picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes, reducing the U.S. to 10 men.The first yellow came for a tackle on Miguel Almiron that the U.S. protested. He may have slipped a little on the second tackle on Miguel Samudio, but he could have no real complaint.The U.S. still held its own down a man, and had a chance to double the lead when Bobby Wood freed Zardes free on goal in the 62nd minute, but the LA Galaxy man got his feet wrong and the attack was snuffed out.Moments later, Victor Ayala lashed a shot just past the U.S. post, and Paraguay then pressed its advantage. Guzan was called upon to make a double save from point-blank range as Jorge Benitez and Almiron had two good looks at goal.But the U.S. would ultimately hold on for a second-straight win and secure its place in the knockout stage, though they will be without the suspended Yedlin for the next game.Paraguay and Costa Rica were both eliminated from advancing with the result.
Colombia 2-3 Costa Rica
Costa Rica will be leaving Copa America Centenario after being eliminated Saturday, but they made sure Colombia would not capture first place in Group A. Los Ticos scored the fastest goal of the tournament and went on to stun Colombia 3-2, giving the United States the group’s top spot and leaving Colombia in second place on goal difference. The top two finishers both recorded six points from two wins and are on to the Quarterfinals. A long-distance strike from Johan Venegas landed in the right corner of the net just 87 seconds into the match. It was Costa Rica’s first goal of the tournament and gave them an early lead, but Colombia drew even minutes later. In the seventh minute. Frank Fabra made a run into the box with the ball, lost it to Costa Rica’s Jose Salvatierra, regained possession and scored. Fabra was guilty of an own-goal in the 34th minute, however, when Venegas beat his man and sent a cross across the goal mouth that Fabra accidentally deflected into the net. The win snapped Costa Rica’s eight-game winless streak against Colombia which dates back to a 5-4 victory on September 1, 1963. Costa Rica had also never beatenLos Cafeteros in a Copa America match in three previous meetings. The victory was also their first at Copa America since 2011. Down a goal at halftime, Colombia went to its bench to put in regulars James Rodriguez and Edwin Cardona, then Juan Cuadrado in the 66th minute to go after a result. Instead, Costa Rica built its lead to two goals when Celso Borges put in Bryan Oviedo’s cross in the 58th minute. Marlos Moreno pulled one back for Colombia in the 73rd minute, but they could not equalize. Colombia awaits the winner of Group B for Friday’s Quarterfinal.
Ecuador 4-0 Haiti
Ecuador booked a Copa America quarterfinal clash with the United States after a 4-0 Group B win over Haiti in East Rutherford. La Tri finished second in the group and made a quick start when Enner Valencia put them ahead in the 11th minute with his second goal of the tournament. Christian Noboa played in the West Ham striker and he made no mistake in dispatching the ball past Johnny Placide. They were two up just nine minutes later when a long ball from Walter Ayovi picked out Enner Valencia and he beat Romain Genevois, drew Placide before laying it on a plate for Jaime Ayovi to tap into an empty net. Jerome Mechack headed against the crossbar for Haiti before Ecuador went further ahead when Noboa met Jefferson Montero’s cross on the half-volley and they wrapped it up 12 minutes from time when Enner Valencia beat the offside trap and set up Antonio Valencia to fire home.
Brazil 0-1 Peru
Raul Ruidiaz’s 75th minute goal was allowed after a lengthy delay for officials to confer, as Peru held on to shock Brazil 1-0 in the Group B finale for both teams. Brazil, who had reached the tournament quarterfinals in every Copa America since 1993, were eliminated from Copa America Centenario with the loss, though they only needed a draw to advance. Instead, Peru won Group B with seven points from their three matches and Ecuador ended up in second place after their 4-0 win against Haiti earlier on Sunday. When Ecuador trounced Haiti, it meant that the Brazil-Peru match was for first place in Group B. And the intensity was high as Brazil consistently attacked on offense. Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese began his Man of the Match performance by stopping a Filipe Luis shot in the 12th minute. Then in the 26th minute, Gallese got his fingers on a ball heading for the left corner to keep Gabriel’s shot out of the net. A 36th minute cross to Willian resulted in his shot going over the goal; meanwhile Peru had only one quality run into the Brazil box in the first half, on which La Blanquirroja wanted a penalty, but the cries fell on deaf ears.Christian Cueva’s free kick cleared Brazil’s defensive wall but was saved by goalkeeper Alisson in the 48th minute. Philippe Countinho’s 62nd minute shot on goal was blocked by a Peru defender.The game’s decisive moment came in the 75th minute, when Andy Polo’s cross was turned into the net by Ruidiaz. Brazil’s players protested, but the disputed goal stood. La Selecao tried desperately for the equalizer, but their best hope, a tap by Elias in the 93rd minute, was saved by Gallese.Peru are into the Quarterfinals, where they will face Colombia on Friday
Mexico 1-1 Venezuela
A sensational individual effort from Jesús Manuel Corona lifted Mexico into first place in Group C after a 1-1 draw with Venezuela Monday at NRG Stadium in Houston. Although both teams advance to Saturday’s Quarterfinals, the result likely allows Mexico to avoid top-ranked Argentina. As in their first two games of the tournament, Venezuela struck a first-half goal. This time, the opener arrived just 10 minutes in, as Alejandro Guerra’s free kick was headed across the six-yard box by Christian Santos and powered into the net with an acrobatic flying volley by center back José Manuel Velázquez. From there, Mexico went all out in search of the equaliser. After surviving a dangerous Venezuelan chance from Josef Martínez in the 66th minute, El Tri came close in the 74th minute, as Hector Herrera’s free kick forced Venezuela goalkeeper Dani Hernández into point-blank saves on both Diego Reyes and Hector Moreno.Yet Jesús Manuel Corona, who was introduced in the 18th minute after an injury to Javier Aquino, still had time to make an impact. In the 79th minute, he beat two defenders before curling a shot wide. A minute later, he got the ball on the left, 35 yards from goal, and proceeded to score one of the best goals of the tournament. After speeding past two players on the dribble, he squeezed between three tentative Vinotinto defenders at the top of the penalty area and lashed a right-footed shot that left Hernández no chance. There was almost one final twist, as a chipped pass into the penalty area found Martínez, who chested the ball up to himself for a bicycle kick lob to the back post, but Mexico goalkeeper Jesús Corona scrambled to tip the ball over the crossbar and preserve the tie.The draw extends Mexico’s unbeaten streak to 22 games, setting a new record and puts the team in a Quarterfinal showdown with the second-place team from Group D to be played Saturday.
Uruguay 3-0 Jamacia
Not much was at stake between two sides that were already knocked out of the Copa America Centenario, but Uruguay made sure to end their tournament on a high note nonetheless.Uruguay cruised to a 3-0 win over fellow eliminated nation Jamaica in their Group C finale at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Monday night. Abel Hernandez scored the decisive goal 21 minutes in, and a Je-Vaugh Watson own goal and Mathias Corujo strike in the second half made the scoreline more one-sided.Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was once again on the bench for Uruguay, but did not make an appearance and finished the tournament without playing a single minute. The victory saw Uruguay finish in third place of Group C with three points while Jamaica came in fourth with zero points.
Chile 4-2 Panama
Chile advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa America with a 4-2 win against Panama on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Panama needed a win to knock the defending Copa champions out of the tournament and started brightly when Miguel Camargo’s long-range shot skipped underneath Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to give the underdogs an early 1-0 lead. However, Chile struck back quickly to level the score at 1-1. Alexis Sanchez was awarded a penalty but his well-hit shot was parried away by Jaime Penedo right into the path of Eduardo Vargas who tapped home. Vargas scored his second goal of the first half in the 43rd minute heading home a pinpoint cross from Jean Beausejour. Chile extended their lead in the 50th minute, when Sanchez powered a volley past Penedo from a Vargas cross to make it 3-1. Bravo misplaced a headed effort from Panama’s Abdiel Arroyo in the 75th minute to trim Chile’s lead back to one goal.With Panama chasing the two goals they needed to beat Chile, Sanchez struck again with a header from close range that padded the scoreline and put the match out of reach for Hernan Darío Gomez’s side.
Argentina 3-0 Bolivia
Argentina brushed aside Bolivia 3-0 to finish as Copa America Group D winners. Erik Lamela, Ezequiel Lavezzi and defender Victor Cuesta were all on target in the first half before the second became a training exercise for the Albiceleste. Argentina’s 10 goals in the group stage equalled the record for the competition, in its centenary edition.Argentina were on the front foot from the outset and took the lead in the 13th minute when Edward Zenteno crudely brought down Lavezzi and Lamela’s free kick went in via a deflection off Yasmani Duk in the wall.Almost immediately it was 2-0 when, from Facundo Roncaglia’s cross, Gonzalo Higuain’s header was only parried and Lavezzi pounced with his right-foot.Duk was forced off with a bizarre injury when teammate Luis Gutierrez robustly blocked Roncaglia and he clashed heads with the Bolivia frontman, who was replaced by Diego Bejarano.Half an hour elapsed before the crowd began chanting for Lionel Messi, who was left on the bench, though they broke off to cheer a third goal when Bolivia failed to clear a set-piece and Lavezzi’s cross-shot was diverted in by Cuesta for his first international goal.Messi was introduced at the break but Bolivia’s Jhasmani Campos tried to steal his thunder by going for goal directly from the kick-off, his side’s first attempt.Messi whipped a free kick just wide, nutmegged Lampe having been flagged offside and then shot just over from long range with the keeper off his line, but the match had long since dissolved into an exhibition.
Be sure to check back for roundups of the quarter-finals!