The group stage of Copa America wrapped up this weekend, and the tables are set for the quarterfinal round. The last 8 will compete for a shot at the semis before the two finalists bet on claiming the Copa America title, as well as an automatic spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
Seeing as there are only 10 national teams in CONMEBOL, the organizers of the event invited two teams from neighbouring CONCACAF to participate. This year’s invitees were Mexico and Jamaica, but neither side made it out of the group stage to contend for the title. Venezuela and Ecuador also failed to advance outside of the opening round.
What about the quarterfinal fixtures? Two matches stand out as the main events to watch on the road to the semis.
This will be the big game for local fans as Chile goes head to head with Uruguay for a shot at raising the Copa America trophy on home turf. The odds are backing the home team, particularly with Chile’s stellar play in the first round. One draw, a 3-3 final with Mexico, was the only thing stopping the hosts from scoring a perfect record in the opening stage.
On the other side, Uruguay edged into the knockout stage as one of two third place teams – along with Colombia. The team’s record in the group stage is split 1-1-1, which gives their side the role of underdogs against a competitive home team. However, Uruguay are the defending Copa America champions with an impressive history in football dating back generations.
The odds are on Chile but don’t expect Uruguay to lay down on this one.
The 2014 World Cup runners up and two time Copa America champions, Argentina is a force to be reckoned with in any competition. Led by superstar Lionel Messi, Argentina finished first in their group with 2 wins and 1 draw – a 2-2 final with group runners up Paraguay. Argentina is now banking on advancing to the semifinal stage.
But Colombia is the team standing in their way. Though the team scored only one goal in the group stage, the Colombians are betting on finishing higher than the quarterfinal stage in the 2011 Copa America, as well as the 2014 World Cup. Facing off with Argentina will be a difficult test but if Colombia is named winner of this round, they should be a serious contender to win the tournament.
Like the first match, one team is technically a favourite but it’s impossible to rule out the other. Argentina has the odds but Colombia has the spirit.