Uruguay v Colombia: Lorenzo eyeing Copa America glory

By Sports Desk July 09, 2024

Nestor Lorenzo says Colombia will not be satisfied unless they win the Copa America, with Uruguay next up for them in the semi-final.

Los Cafeteros are the in-form team at the tournament, and are on a 27-match unbeaten run in after their dominant 5-0 victory over Panama in the last round.

They have won all but one of their games at the Copa America so far, drawing 1-1 with Brazil in the other to secure top spot in Group D.

Colombia have only won the Copa America once before, back in 2001, and despite their fine run of form, Lorenzo says their tournament run will only be a success if they end their 23-year wait for a second title.

"To have a good Copa America is to win it," Lorenzo said. "It is not an abstract concept. The objective is to win every game we play, and the boys know that.

"[We take it] game by game. The goal is to win the next game. The most important game is the next one.

"We are confirming the importance of coming to the national team and wearing the shirt. They [the players] feel a great pride in being there and that is typical of players.

"In this team, they kill themselves for their teammates. We worked hard on that from the beginning. It's the way I feel about football from the technical direction."

Uruguay played out a goalless draw with Brazil before prevailing on penalties to book their place in the semi-finals.

Despite showing off their free-flowing play early in the group stage, their defensive solidity has pushed them forward in the competition as they have not conceded in any of their last three matches.

They now face off against the highest scorers in this year's Copa America, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa knowing they face a stern test against Colombia's attackers.

"Colombia has many forwards, which is not common today," Bielsa said. "There is more than one option for each level without much difference.

"The Colombian footballer has undergone a transformation. 'He' has always been creative, dominant, naturally competitive and has added the essentials to survive in today's football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Uruguay – Jose Maria Gimenez

If Jose Maria Gimenez plays against Colombia, he will become the sixth Uruguayan player to reach 20 appearances in the Copa America, joining the ranks of Diego Perez, Roberto Porta (both 20), Schubert Gambetta (21), Fernando Muslera (22), and Angel Romano (23).

Colombia – James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez has provided five assists in this year's Copa America. One more assist will make him the first player to surpass this figure in a single edition since these records began in 2011, breaking the current record he shares with Lionel Messi (five assists in 2021).

He has also created the most chances so far (14) and got his first goal last time out in their win over Panama.

MATCH PREDICTION: URUGUAY WIN

Uruguay and Colombia are meeting for the third time in a Copa America semi-final. The first encounter was in 1975, with Los Cafeteros advancing to the final, while in 1995, La Celeste triumphed 2-0 and later claimed the title against Brazil.

Colombia are competing in the semi-finals for the seventh time since 1993, but have only reached the final once in that time, when they beat Mexico 1-0 to lift the title in 2001.

They have already equalled their most prolific scoring runs at the tournament, having netted 11 goals so far (also achieved in 1975 and 2001).

While Colombia's goalscoring has caught the eye, they now face the stingiest defence at the Copa America.

Uruguay have conceded just one goal (against Panama). It is the fewest goals allowed by La Celeste in their first four matches of a Copa America edition since 1959 – they won the title in Ecuador, conceding just one goal, and Bielsa's team are backed to win by Opta's supercomputer.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Uruguay – 46.2%

Draw – 25.1%

Colombia – 28.7%

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