Lionel Messi sends Argentina into Copa America semifinals as Colombia pip Uruguay

Lionel Messi sends Argentina into Copa America semifinals as Colombia pip Uruguay

The quarterfinal section of the controversial Copa America is now full. 4 teams stay standing because the video games roll on at empty stadiums throughout the nation. Argentina simply accounted for Ecuador 3-0, whereas Colombia wanted penalties to beat Uruguay after a 0-Zero attract regular time.

Football4cast appears to be like again on the motion from the oldest worldwide event on this planet.

– Copa America bracket and fixtures schedule

An odd reunion for Messi

Hernan Galindez is a 34-year-old from Argentina who, over the course of this Copa America, has grow to be Ecuador’s first alternative goalkeeper. He is identical age and from the identical place as Lionel Messi. Galindez was a striker in youth football, and proudly information that when he modified place, the primary purpose he conceded was scored by Messi.

The final purpose he conceded was additionally scored by Messi — a stoppage time free kick that flew previous him from the sting of the realm and gave Saturday’s quarterfinal a 3-Zero scoreline that’s maybe not a good reflection of the sport.

For the earlier 92 minutes Messi had not managed to beat Galindez, although he did see one shot come again off the within of the submit. Even so, Messi had made the distinction, taking the keeper out with two very good passes that arrange the objectives that determined an intriguing sport.

Galindez was not the one Argentine that Argentina needed to get previous. There was additionally Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro, a calmly skilful organiser of counterattacking sides. Alfaro’s team compelled Argentina to indicate a lot of their virtues — and managed to focus on a few of their defects.

The chief advantage is the circuit of midfield passing, with Messi properly built-in and mixing properly with each Giovani Lo Celso and Rodrigo De Paul, whereas behind them Leandro Paredes organises the primary ball out of defence. Ecuador labored onerous to interrupt the circuit, urgent in midfield and defending excessive — and so Argentina demonstrated that they may be extra direct, hitting lengthy to centre-forward Lautaro Martinez or shifting the ball shortly behind Alfaro’s defensive position. This was how the primary purpose got here — Galindez had been drawn out to dam a shot, and Messi performed an exquisite diagonal cross to chop him out of the sport and provides De Paul the possibility to shoot house.

Lionel Messi pulled the strings as Argentina beat Ecuador in Saturday’s Copa America quarterfinal. Alexandre Schneider/Getty Photos

Argentina, then, had received off to their customary quick begin. But it surely was all the time seemingly that Ecuador’s tempo on the break would trigger them issues. Twice within the first half Enner Valencia got here near a purpose, each occasions not getting fairly sufficient contact on his header. Argentina have solely conceded two objectives on this event, however the centre of their defence nonetheless doesn’t encourage total confidence — and there’s additionally the issue that the team seem to expire of steam within the second half. Sensing this, Alfaro went for the jugular, making attacking substitutions on the interval and having the higher of many of the second half. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni responded by stiffening central midfield with Guido Rodriguez and by introducing Angel Di Maria extensive on the appropriate, switching from 4-3-Three to a line of 4 behind Martinez and Messi.

It paid off, largely due to Alfaro’s puzzling persistence with teenage centre-back Piero Hincapie, who’s undoubtedly promising however equally clearly not but prepared for this stage. Contained in the final 10 minutes, with the sport nonetheless very a lot within the steadiness, he was caught in possession by Di Maria, Messi performed the appropriate cross and Martinez swept house the clinching purpose. And there was nonetheless time for a stunning diagonal ball from De Paul to set Di Maria behind Hincapie. The defender hauled him again and was despatched off — and up stepped Messi to finish his unusual reunion with Galindez.

Within the lengthy shadow of the No. 10

The final time Colombia and Uruguay met in a knockout sport in Brazil was seven years in the past, when Colombia have been propelled to victory by a unprecedented solo purpose from James Rodriguez.

The scorer is a part of a legendary custom — the quaint South American No. 10, the gifted, generally indulged particular person who hyperlinks midfield to assault.

Rodriguez is definitely not being indulged in the mean time. Disastrous outcomes final November appeared to have left some dangerous blood within the Colombian camp, and new coach Reinaldo Rueda was not satisfied of Rodriguez’s health. So, a lot to the participant’s consternation, he was been omitted of the squad for the Copa America. Additionally absent is the splendidly gifted Juan Fernando Quintero, saved in China by quarantine restrictions. And Rueda clearly doesn’t belief Edwin Cardona of Boca Juniors.

After a deeply disappointing defeat in opposition to Peru, Rueda seems to have concluded that Cardona is a luxurious participant, and left him out of the sport in opposition to Brazil and Saturday’s assembly with Uruguay.

Colombia, then, had nothing resembling a No. 10 of their team — an astonishing growth from the nation of Carlos Valderrama. As an alternative, Rueda performed two up high, plus two wingers, one in every of them an improvised striker, and two extra harmful gamers within the center. It was a transparent declaration: Colombia wouldn’t, couldn’t, elaborate in midfield. They’d be direct, dealing in speedy transitions and making an attempt to get Duvan Zapata behind the rival defence.

Giorgian De Arrascaeta continues to be making an attempt to cement his place as Uruguay’s inventive fulcrum. EVARISTO SA/AFP

Uruguay, in the meantime, tried to stroll the other method. Veteran coach Oscar Washington Tabarez has been tempted to increase his lengthy keep in cost for a easy purpose; the World Cup in Qatar is the massive probability to have each the nice strike pair of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, plus the younger and promising midfielders Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur.

However tips on how to hyperlink the 2? On this event Tabarez has given prolonged alternatives to playmaker Giorgian De Arrascaeta, a participant who has been across the squad for seven years with out managing to nail down a spot. Certainly, Tabarez moved shortly to drop De Arrascaeta after the opening match of the 2018 World Cup. The rationale? It’s not straightforward to suit the participant into Uruguay’s 4-4-2 formation. With out specific tempo or physicality, he prefers to have the liberty to roam centrally.

For this sport he was given what he wished. The dynamism of Valverde lined the appropriate facet. The spirit of sacrifice of Cavani meant that he sometimes dropped left — permitting De Arrascaeta to wander behind the central striker.

It was not a failure, nor was it successful. There have been moments when it threatened, when De Arrascaeta was concerned in fast passing strikes that threatened to unlock the rival defence. But it surely was extra sparkles than flames, and midway via the second half Tabarez tried one thing else, withdrawing De Arrascaeta and introducing the extra dynamic younger Facundo Torres. The Colombian central midfield duo of Wilmar Barrios and Gustavo Cuellar, nonetheless, proved a wall too powerful to breach.

And so Tabarez exits the sport — and the competitors — along with his doubts not but resolved. The match was a bit like a few heavyweight boxers loading up however unable to land the knockout blow, and after a goalless draw Colombia emerged from the penalty shootout. In Tuesday’s semifinal Messi turns into the newest rival No. 10 that Barrios and Co. will search to neutralise.

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