Wednesday, July 24, 2024

´I want to be the best player at the Copa America´ – Colombia´s James has sights set on glory

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jul 2024

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James Rodriguez wants to be the Copa America’s standout player, and is going some way to being just that.

Colombia reached the semi-finals with a thumping 5-0 defeat of Panama on Saturday, with James taking a starring role as Los Cafeteros claimed their biggest Copa Ameria win.

James scored a penalty and supplied two assists, including a delicious ball for Luis Diaz to make it 3-0 just before half-time.

The former Real Madrid playmaker, who hardly featured for club side Sao Paulo last season, has now created five goals at this edition of the tournament, equalling the record haul for assists (since Opta began collecting such data) at the Copa America, alongside Lionel Messi’s five in 2021.

And having missed out on a call-up to Colombia’s squad in 2021, James made it clear he plans on being the tournament’s standout performer.

“A tough match, they are very strong, but we played well, we knew how to score the goals quickly and that gave us control of the match,” James said.

“Did I want to be the best player of the Copa? Yes, I wanted to have a very good Cup, help my team-mates to go far.

“We are going until the last day, let’s hope we can reach that great final that we all want, we are going through a good moment too.

“The most important thing is still to come. We hope to reach the final.”

Saturday’s match was the second time James has directly contributed to three goals in a competitive match for Colombia, after scoring and providing two assists against Japan in the 2014 World Cup (4-1), in which he won the Golden Boot.

Colombia are now unbeaten in 27 games, matching their best such streak, and will face Uruguay, who overcame Brazil 4-2 on penalties, for a place in the final.

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