The 2021 Copa America group stage entered its final day with five teams who knew they were qualified to the quarterfinals, and four others fighting to avoid getting out at the group stage. Here’s a look back at the action from the final games that have decided the nations competing in the quarterfinals. We finish recapping matchday 5 of the 2021 Copa America.
Recapping Matchday 5
The final matchday saw eight of the ten teams battle it out to finalize the standings in the two groups. Zona Sur knew which four teams were moving on, they just needed to see the place the top four would finish. In Zona Norte, all five teams were alive on the final day. The intensity was palpable! Let’s look back on what happened on matchday five.
Brazil top Group after draw with Ecuador
Brazil already knew they were the winners of their group, but what they didn’t know was if they could pull off a perfect 12 points out of 12 possible in their four group games. I’m this match against Ecuador it looked as if they might be able to even with a changed lineup. Brazil made a myriad of changes but was still able to dominate the match. In the 37th minute, they found their opening goal thanks to centerback Eder Militao. In the second half, Ecuador found and converted their one big chance.
Just after halftime, Angel Mena put home what would be the tying goal that would inevitably split the points between the two nations. Ecuador. This result does wonders for Ecuador. While a loss to Brazil wouldn’t have necessarily meant that Ecuador would fall to fifth, it would have made things too close for comfort.
Brazil finishes first, which we already knew was inevitable. They will take on Chile in the quarterfinals! Ecuador finishes four in the group. Their three draws were enough to lift them above the last place and secure their spot in the knockouts. Ecuador will face giants Argentina in quarterfinal play.
Venezuela hope ended for a knockout run by Peru
Venezuela had some impressive draws in the group stage so far but lacked the finishing touch. Their team was hit hard with COVID cases early on in the tournament, propelling new players up into starting roles for their first three games. In their final match, there was a good amount of rotation in the squad. That rotation didn’t add up to taking all or splitting the points against Peru.
Peru came into this match on a streak, beating Colombia and tying Ecuador. They knew that anything other than a huge loss would see them through to the knockout rounds. The Peruvian side was dominant in this match. They controlled possession, the better passing numbers, the better save percentage, and had the better chances to score. Just after halftime, they got the game’s only goal. Andre Carrillo netted a shot three minutes after the start of the second half. The match was effectively over after that. This sealed the fate for both nations, but only one would be moving on.
Peru finished second in the group on seven points from four games. They get to take on Paraguay in the quarterfinals! Venezuela is the one team from Zona Norte that is knocked out at the group stage. This is a decent stepping stone for the next wave of Venezuelan players, but it was not enough to get them to the quarterfinals.
Uruguay take second place in win over Paraguay
Uruguay came into their final match of the group stage with some uncertainty surrounding them. They only had four points from three matches and had to go up against a tough Paraguay side to end their group stage. The match was pretty even in terms of possession, but Uruguay was able to dominate one area of the match. They had seven shots six of which were on goal. The main moment of the match was when Edison Cavani converted a penalty for Uruguay. This lone goal was enough to give Uruguay all their points, while Paraguay struggled to create chances.
Paraguay was only able to create two shots in their match vs Uruguay, neither of those two was on target. They have been an up-and-down side in this tournament winning two games and losing the other two. They thrive when teams are spread thin so they can attack. Against Uruguay, they didn’t have many chances to exploit that game plan. They may have to change things up in the knockout rounds.
Uruguay finishes second in their group. They’ll take on an interesting Colombian side in the quarterfinals. Paraguay finishes third in Zona Sur. They get to go up against Peru in the quarters.
Bolivia bewildered by an Argentina masterclass
Bolivia had a rough Copa America this time around. They had been struggling before the tournament, but their four matches in the 2021 Copa America were very poor. They lost all four matches, scored two goals, and conceded 10. They are out of the group stage and get to spend time getting ready for more World Cup qualifiers in the fall.
Argentina is a class team! However, heading into the last matchday they still hadn’t secured the top spot in their group. In their final match against Bolivia, the team in the last place helped out with that. Lionel Messi scored twice and had an assist for Argentina in the first half against Bolivia. They added a fourth goal in the second half and cruised to the top spot in Zona Sur.
Argentina finished first in their group. They play Ecuador in the quarterfinals. Bolivia is the lone group knocked out at the group stage in Zona Sur.
On to the knockout rounds
This tournament is on to the fast and furious pace of knockout play now. Games will be even more intense and intriguing than they already were. These quarterfinals will be played this coming Friday and Saturday evening. Here’s a look at the matchups:
- Peru vs Paraguay | Friday, July 2nd @ 5:00 pm ET
- Brazil vs Chile | Friday, July 2nd @ 8:00 pm ET
- Uruguay vs Colombia | Saturday, July 3rd @ 6:00 pm ET
- Argentina vs Ecuador | Saturday, July 3rd @ 9:00 pm ET
Don’t miss any of the action as these eight nations duke it out to see who will be able to make it to the final four. Of course, we’ll have you covered at Philly Sports Network with previews and recaps of all the action that takes place!
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Mandatory Credit: Copa America via Twitter