Messi takes over, Argentina trounces Paraguay in Copa America semi

July 2, 2015

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“There was no goal for Lionel Messi, but there was everything else in Argentina’s 6-1 win over Paraguay in the Copa America semifinal on Tuesday. Messi orchestrated an Argentina performance that at last reached the attacking heights if which it should be capable, setting up five of the six goals and generally playing with a playful menace. Marcos Rojo put Argentina ahead after 15 minutes and when Javier Pastore added a second 12 minutes later, the game already seemed over.” SI – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Even hostile Chile fans forced to acknowledge Lionel Messi’s greatness
“The problem with a genius like Lionel Messi is that you’re always waiting for him to perform. You can’t watch a game he plays in as you watch any other game because you’re always hoping that this will be of those days when he turns it on, and if he doesn’t you end up feeling a little cheated. Nobody felt cheated on Tuesday night, just grateful to have been there, unless you had the misfortune to be a Paraguayan defender. The Chile fans who made up most of the crowd and who had begun the game by jeering the Argentinian national anthem and chanting ‘Argentinos – hijos da puta’ ended it in awed applause.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Tactical Analysis: Argentina 0-0 Colombia (5-4 pens) | Messi and co. through to semis despite ultra-defensive Colombia
“In another battle between two giants of South American football, Argentina squared up against Colombia with the tantalising prospect of a possible semi-final clash with Brazil. Gerardo Martino’s men were tipped by many to go all the way in the competition and have looked on course to do so, though they are still yet to hit their stride. Colombia, on the other hand, have underwhelmed throughout the competition, scraping through to the quarter finals and scoring just one goal in their first three games.” Outside of the Boot


Attacking stars set to light up Copa America final

July 2, 2015

“So will Chile finally have something to put in its trophy cabinet? Or will Argentina win its first senior title since 1993? There is plenty at stake, then, in the final of the 2015 Copa America. Many treat this tournament as a warm up for the coming World Cup qualifiers, but not these two teams. Chile, as host, is obliged to put on a show, especially given the fact that it has never won the competition. A sense of ‘if not now, when?’ has hung over Chile in this Copa. It has probably its best ever generation, with a group of players in their prime with the experience of two World Cups to help them through. The tournament has been set up for them to reach the final – they were in the easiest group, have played all their games in Santiago’s Nacional Stadium and have avoided the heavyweights – until now.” World Game – Tim Vickery


Hope and faith – the anatomy of Peru’s transformation

July 2, 2015

“When Copa America 2015 was about to get underway, you would find very few people that would have backed Peru to win the tournament at a whopping 100/1. Only two nations were given less of a chance of winning the tournament – Bolivia (200/1) and Jamaica (500/1). If you fancied a punt on the competition’s top scorer, you could’ve gotten 125/1 on Peru’s hat-trick hero Paolo Guerrero topping the charts; before Peru’s match against Chile the best odds you’d have found was 3/1. In a group with Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, Peru weren’t given a chance. No-hopers. Whipping boys.” backpagefootball


What’s plaguing Brazil? Delve into the Selecão’s woes by the numbers

July 2, 2015

“Brazil’s dispiriting quarterfinal defeat against Paraguay means that the world’s most successful men’s soccer nation will once again be on the outside looking in when Argentina takes on Chile in Saturday’s Copa America final. Compared with many national teams, Brazil remains a competitive and sturdy outfit, but by the country’s own exacting standards the sides it has fielded in recent years have represented a vertiginous drop in quality. Here’s a look by the numbers and statistics at some of the key reasons for Brazil’s current woes…” SI


Beauty leaves the Brazilian game as glitter gives way to grit

June 30, 2015

“It was not 7-1. It was not an epic humiliation. It was not a result that will reverberate through the generations. But in a sense, Brazil’s Copa América exit to Paraguay is all the more crushing for that. It was not some devastation to be written off as a freak; it was quotidian. Brazil went out of the Copa América by losing a mundane game 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw because these days they are a mundane team; they no longer generate the emotional extremes they once did.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Derlis Gonzalez, David Ospina and more – 4 Players who defined the Copa America 2015 quarters

June 30, 2015

“Brazil’s ousting in the quarter-final stage was the talking point, but Peru’s run along-with Chile’s impressive showing has kept enthusiasts intrigued. Though Argentina remain as favourites with online sports betting at Sportsbook.ag, it may not be as simple to call these games. Paraguay too who eliminated Brazil for the second successive Copa America, have shown they aren’t to be overlooked. Finley Crebolder picks his four players that defined the quarter-final stage, a stage that has left us with two enticing fixtures.” Outside of the Boot


Argentina outlasts Colombia in PKs in heart-stopping Copa quarterfinal

June 27, 2015

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“The bare facts are that Argentina reached the semifinals of the Copa America, defeating Colombia in penalty kicks (5–4) after a goalless draw, but that hardly tells the full story of the match. It had been an astonishing game, which Argentina had dominated almost from start to finish without being able to score. David Ospina, the Colombia goalkeeper, made a number of fine saves, chances were missed, the woodwork was struck twice and, even when Carlos Tevez got by all those obstacles with two minutes to go, Jeison Murillo was on hand to hook the ball clear.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


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