Colombia vs Chile: Colombia to win to nil – 9/4
You have to feel for Colombia somewhat. They were the only team to win all three group games, keeping three clean sheets in the process, and they are drawn against defending champions Chile in the quarter-finals.
The Colombians are also the only group winners to have been drawn against a second-placed team, with both Brazil and Uruguay benefitting from favourable draws against third-placed Paraguay and Peru respectively. Having said that, they still should fancy their chances of dethroning the two-in-a-row champions.
Chile started the tournament impressively with a 4-0 win over Japan, but were underwhelming in their second group game against Ecuador, who finished bottom of the group.
They were fortunate not to have goalkeeper Gabriel Arias sent off for twice taking down Ecuadorian players as they raced through on goal, and they only took all three points thanks to a mishit from Alexis Sanchez.
They were then edged out in a top of the table clash in the final group game with Uruguay, pitting them with the difficult task of getting past Colombia.
Colombia didn’t dominate any of their group games strictly speaking, but they boast a formidable centre-half partnership in Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina to keep teams out, and the likes of Juan Cuadrado, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez up front to inflict sufficient damage on opposition defences.
They have been efficient so far in the tournament and, against a Chile team that is nowhere near as good as the team that prevailed in 2015 and 2016, they should continue to be efficient.
Uruguay vs Peru: Uruguay (-1) – 2/1
Peru have a strong recent pedigree in the Copa America, finishing third in two of the last three tournaments and only missing out on a semi-final berth in 2016 because of a penalty shootout defeat to Colombia. However, like Chile, Peru look a shadow of the team that has punched above its weight in recent years, including their decent showing at last year’s World Cup.
They dominated their group opener against Venezuela, but couldn’t find a way through before they managed a victory against Bolivia, the only team to finish pointless in this year’s Copa America.
Peru’s group campaign ended with an embarrassing 5-0 reversal against Brazil as the hosts finally clicked into gear. The Brazil defeat, the largest defeat in this year’s Copa, will be difficult to shake mentally in less than a week and Peru now face the daunting prospect of taking on Uruguay.
Uruguay are experiencing a golden generation, the likes of which they have not really seen since winning the World Cup in 1950. A World Cup semi-final in 2010 and quarter-final in 2018 saw Uruguay flourish on the world stage, while the Copa America trophy in 2011 had them ruling the continent.
This year’s Copa is probably one of their last chances to win silverware with such an ageing squad. Key players like Diego Godin, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are all the wrong side of 30 and their abilities will wane sooner rather than later. It is imperative, therefore, that they win something soon and this could just be their year.
They were typically clinical in their defeat of Chile in the final group game and the performance echoed the one against Italy in the 2014 World Cup, where they similarly had to win to leapfrog their opponents.
They were also ruthless against Ecuador in their opener and the only blotch so far was a 2-2 draw with Japan in the second game.
They seem to have put that behind them though and should have too much for a Peru side that will still be reeling.
* All odds correct at time of posting.