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Peru v Colombia: Sanchez points to mental focus

Carlos Sanchez has warned his Colombia team-mates they must stay mentally focused ahead of their Copa America Centenario quarter-final with Peru.

MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is the venue as the two South American nations vie for a spot in the semi-finals of the special-edition tournament on Friday.

Colombia started strongly with wins over the United States and Paraguay, but a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica in their final group game condemned them to second spot.

Sanchez believes the side must be mentally strong if they are to get past Peru and make the last four of the tournament for the first time since 2004.

“Our physical aspect is fundamental, but a lot of games are usually won by the mental aspect,” the Aston Villa winger said. 

“I think the team that prepares better mentally for this game will make the difference. In today’s age, everything is a lot more equal and the games are won by little things.

“While we will try to get the best out of us physically, games are hotly contested and you have to work more on what is the mental aspect.”

He added: “Peru have demonstrated an important power, and it is a team that is always getting better.”

Peru have made it out of the group stages of the Copa America every time since 1997, including back-to-back semi-final appearances in the last two editions. 

Ricardo Gareca’s side beat Brazil 1-0 to become Group B winners, eliminating the eight-time champions of the tournament in the process.

Feyenoord midfielder Renato Tapia, 20, featured in all three group games, but acknowledges the knockout stages are a completely different beast. 

“We are strong, and united. The win [over Brazil] has helped us, but we must now turn the page,” he said. 

“To win is always nice, and it motivates you to go phase by phase, but now we must fully focus on Colombia. 

“They are a strong team. We’ve played them in the past and we must be wary of what they are capable of.”

Thu 16 Jun, 2016
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