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Jul 9, 2024 7:06 pm

Colombia, Uruguay reach Copa semis with records in sight

james rodriguez

Two national teams in pursuit of formidable records will square off when Uruguay and Colombia meet in Wednesday’s Copa America semifinal in Charlotte, N.C.

Colombia has tied its own all-time record by going 27 consecutive matches without a defeat, while Uruguay has history on its side as it bids for a record 16th Copa America title.

Uruguay and Argentina have each won 15 titles, and they both could play for a 16th in Sunday’s final in Miami Gardens, Fla., if they can advance from their respective semifinals. Argentina faced Canada on Tuesday night.

Both Uruguay and Argentina had to rely on penalties to advance from their quarterfinals, however, with Uruguay doing so after holding Brazil to a 0-0 draw.

That contest included a tournament-high 26 fouls committed by La Celeste, who were reduced to 10 men late following Nahitan Nandez’s red-card foul on Brazil’s Rodrygo.

But Uruguay also outshot Brazil over 90 minutes, and manager Marcelo Bielsa insists that his side will abandon its high-pressing, attack-minded identity.

“The fact that we created three or four goal opportunities, of course that’s not what we want,” Bielsa said Tuesday through an interpreter. “But football is a competition and we are always trying to impose what we do best and our opponent will do the exact same thing. Because if we didn’t try to impose what we do best, we would actually be undermining our own chances.”

Nandez will serve a one-match suspension and Uruguay left winger Ronald Araujo has also been ruled out after exiting with a leg injury in the first half of the quarterfinal.

Colombia completed a dominant 5-0 quarterfinal victory over Panama looking like a side capable of reaching its first Copa America final in 23 years.

That 2001 final victory over Mexico is the only time Los Cafeteros have won CONMEBOL’s continental crown.

Eight different players have scored in the tournament for manager Nestor Lorenzo’s side, and the veteran James Rodriguez has been brilliant with five assists, matching Lionel Messi’s record for the most in one tournament since the stat was first kept in 2011.

Lorenzo declined to say Colombia and Uruguay were the tournament’s best performers so far, but said both could be worthy of a final appearance.

“I believe that it is two teams that make a valuable proposition,” Lorenzo said through an interpreter. “They are not (passive). They go out for a win. And I’m sure we’re going to have a good show (Wednesday).”

–Field Level Media

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