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Colombia into Copa quarters after romp while Brazil rolls

AFP . Glendale
29 Jun 2024 20:12:36 | Update: 29 Jun 2024 20:12:36
Colombia into Copa quarters after romp while Brazil rolls
Brazil's Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring a goal during their 2024 Copa America group D match against Paraguay at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday — AFP Photo

Colombia marched into the quarter-finals of the Copa America on Friday with a confident 3-0 victory over Costa Rica in Arizona.

Goals from Luis Diaz, Davinson Sanchez and Jhon Cordoba sealed all three points for the Colombians, who are now guaranteed a top-two finish in Group D.

Colombia will qualify for the quarter-finals as group winners if they can secure at least a point against Brazil -- a 4-1 winner over Paraguay in Saturday's other Copa contest -- in their final group game next Tuesday.

The Colombians will head into that game brimming with confidence after extending their unbeaten streak to 25 games at Glendale's State Farm Stadium on Saturday.

Nestor Lorenzo's well-organised side have not lost since a defeat to Argentina in February 2022, and never looked in danger of changing that Friday.

Liverpool star Diaz opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 31st minute after Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira inexplicably crashed into Cordoba on the edge of the area.

Diaz stepped up to smash an emphatic spot-kick into the top corner.

Colombia almost doubled their tally in 37 minutes, with veteran midfielder James Rodriguez picking out Diaz at the back post.

Diaz poked a cross into the six-yard area but center-back Sanchez just couldn't get a touch to guide the ball into the net.

Sanchez made no such mistake in the 59th minute, however, as he glanced in Jhon Arias's cross from the left to make it 2-0.

Cordoba then grabbed Colombia's third on 62 minutes with the best goal of the game.

An exquisite through ball from Rodriguez split the Costa Rica defence and sent Cordoba racing in on goal, with the 31-year-old whipping a shot across goal into the far corner.

Brazil winner in Vegas

In Las Vegas, the Brazilians -- coming off a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica -- jumped to a 3-0 halftime edge over Paraguay on the way to victory after squandering a golden chance to open the scoring.

Paraguay's Adrian Cubas, who would receive a red card in the 81st minute, committed a foul in the penalty area, but Brazil's Lucas Paqueta missed from the spot in the 31st minute.

But Paqueta delivered an assist to set up Vincius Junior's goal in the 35th minute that gave Brazil a 1-0 lead.

Savinho doubled Brazil's lead with a goal in the 43rd minute and Vincius Junior gave Brazil a 3-0 half-time lead in the fifth minute of stoppage time, racing in behind the play and delivering a right-footed shot just inside the left post.

Paraguay answered in the 48th minute on a goal by Omar Alderete but Paqueta scored on a redemption penalty kick in the 65th minute for a 4-1 Brazil lead and that's how it finished.