The last 24 hours have been interesting and crucial in the Copa America. Here is what happened in the latest action, this time from Group B:
Argentina scrape into the last eight with win over Qatar
The Copa America 2019 has been another inconsistent tournament for Argentina. However. La Albiceleste booked their place in the last eight of the competition by recording a 2-0 victory over invitees Qatar on Sunday night.
Argentina needed a win to guarantee progression and enjoyed a perfect start, taking the lead after four minutes. Inter striker Lautaro Martinez latched on a loose pass from a Qatari defender and fired home from the edge of the penalty box.
Lionel Scaloni’s side should have doubled their lead, but Sergio Aguero dragged his effort wide of goal from 12 yards out after Lionel Messi had played in the Manchester City striker.
The South American team produced a much-improved second-half display. Qatar goalkeeper Al-Sheeb had to be sharp to keep out a close-range effort from Aguero before also tipping an effort over his bar from the experienced forward.
Argentina then had another guilt edge chance, as Messi missed a rare opportunity by firing over the bar from close-range. Aguero did finally get his goal with eight minutes left on the clock. The forward beat his marker before hitting a powerful low effort beyond Al-Sheeb.
The win means that Argentina will face a potentially tricky quarter-final clash with Venezuela at the Maracana in Rio after finishing runners up in the group to Colombia. Despite their unconvincing Copa America campaign so far, Argentina still the second favourites behind Brazil to win the competition.
Colombia finish top of the group
Colombia will have headed into Group B of the Copa America confident of qualifying for the last eight. However, not only did Colombia qualify they finished top of the standings after beating Paraguay 1-0.
They made ten changes to the side that saw off Qatar in their last Copa America outing. Despite those changes they did had the better of the game.
The only goal of the game arrived just after the half hour mark, as midfielder Gustavo Cuellar fired an effort under the legs of Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez.
It could have been much better for Colombia and worse for the opponents, but for the interception of VAR. Luiz Diaz saw a goal chalked off in the second period after a VAR review. Carlos Queiroz’s team also saw a penalty decision overruled injury-time. The Colombia boss was quick to criticise the VAR system and its effective use.
In the end, Colombia did not enough to claim victory and the win means they have collected the maximum nine points from their group outings. They will play the runners-up from Group C, who at the moment are Uruguay, who play Chile in the final group game. Chile only have to avoid defeat to top the group.
Paraguay finishes the group in third place. However, they could still progress to the quarter-finals if Ecuador and Japan draw their last game. A win for either would mean Paraguay’s elimination from the competition.
Does Argentina deserve to be second favourites to win the Copa America?