Venezuela is optimistic after another scoreless draw against Brazil where they saw their opposition have two goals called off by VAR. Brazil is coming away from the match thinking they were robbed by the ref. However, they need to put more shots on goal as they were inaccurate against Venezuela. The concern for Venezuela is that they have yet to find the back of the net and only generated a single shot on target against Brazil.
Peru storms back down 1-0 to win 3-1 over Bolivia. It took Peru almost a game and a half to find their groove but produced instant results once they did. Bolivia saw their first goal of the tournament come from a penalty yet, they could not build any momentum.
The top dogs square off in the final round of group play to determine who will be the winner. Brazil will champion the group with a win or draw over Peru. A daunting task awaits Peru who will need to hold off the hosts and the intense crowd. Pulling off a win will prove to be too much for Peru and Brazil will secure at least a point. The bottom two teams face off where Venezuela will have a lot at stake. Best case scenario is if Peru loses and they are victorious, it would see them leapfrog into second place. Worst case scenario with a win would see them as a top remaining team and advance, where a draw could potentially eliminate them. Bolivia cannot see their way into the knockout round so their efforts will be unpredictable. Ultimately, Venezuela should hand Bolivia their third loss.
Duván Zapata scored his second goal of Copa América to lead Colombia to a 1-0 win over Qatar. They are securely through as the winner of Group B into the knockout round. Being the only team to have advanced through two matches, Colombia can contest they are in the best form. Qatar let up a goal in the 86th minute to see them lose a crucial point. They have shown character in their matches so far sanding strong on South American soil.
Argentina and Paraguay’s fierce match ended in a 1-1 draw. The outcome of the match was determined by Franco Armani’s save on a penalty kick. There was much scrutiny behind Lionel Scaloni’s decision to start him as keeper, but he proved the doubters wrong in a key moment. Messi’s penalty kick goal put Argentina on the board for the first time in the tournament. Paraguay’s Miguel Almirón was once again the playmaker for this side. The youngster is showing he can produce against international talent. A second draw has them sitting positioned in second where they gave up another lead.
Group B will feature Argentina and Qatar competing for significant points. The only way for Argentina to advance is with a win. Expect them to be highly motivated even though the cohesion is lacking. In contrast, Qatar has been quite impressive against two strong sides. An upset win would see this side through and play spoiler to Argentina. A draw would make them vulnerable to advancing as a top remaining team. All pressure will be on Argentina so don’t be surprised if this match ends in a draw. In the other match, Colombia may deploy a secondary side as their table position cannot be altered against Paraguay. So, Paraguay will be looking to gain all three points in this match as a third draw could see them drop a spot in the table.
Back to back champions, Chile prevails over Ecuador 2-1. Alexis Sánchez continues his solid form with his second goal of Copa América . Chile has set themselves up perfectly to be the champions of the group. Ecuador had another sloppy match where they received their second red card of the tournament. It is stating the obvious, but playing a man down against two premier sides in Chile and Uruguay will position you at the bottom of the table.
Japan surprises Uruguay by capitalizing on their chances to draw 2-2. Uruguay dominated the total shots and shots on target but a critical and sloppy error by their keeper Fernando Muslera allowed Japan to take the lead. Japan led twice in this match but each time Uruguay’s possession and shot dominance produced a goal.
Chile plays Uruguay in their last group match where the winner will be decided. Uruguay will need a victory to jump up the table so look for them to come out firing. They will control the ball for most of this match as these teams’ styles clash. Chile will look to breakdown their attack and generate a counter while they are out of position. This match has the potential to be the best game we have seen so far given each’s form. Japan squares off against Ecuador in their last match. Japan knows they can gain three points if they play disciplined. They may be advancing with a win but their goal differential could end up costing them.
Top Third Place Teams, Two Advance
If group play were only two games, Venezuela and Qatar would be advancing. But sadly, it is not. If there is a tie between points, goal differential will be used to determine who advances.