Monday, July 15, 2024

Rodriguez wants more from Colombia after opening win at Copa America

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Jun 2024

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James Rodriguez sees plenty of room for improvement for Colombia despite overcoming Paraguay in their Copa America opener, in which he laid on two assists.

Colombia sit top of Group D after the opening round of matches, with Crystal Palace duo Daniel Munoz and Jefferson Lerma netting in a 2-1 win in Houston and Brazil later failing to join them on three points as they drew 0-0 with Costa Rica.

Former Real Madrid man Rodriguez teed up both of his team’s goals, becoming the first player to assist twice in a Copa America group-stage match since Peru’s Andre Carrillo in 2019 (versus Chile). Rodriguez now has 30 assists in 101 career games for his country, with five of those coming in the Copa America.

He also led all Colombia players for chances created (three), passes in the final third (17) and crosses (10), as well as ranking second for touches (80) and passes completed (53), both behind Davinson Sanchez (81, 55).

The victory made them just the fourth CONMEBOL team to record nine straight wins across all competitions, after Brazil (12 times), Argentina (three) and Peru (once).

However, Colombia did not have things all their own way as Paraguay attempted more shots (12 to 11) and created a higher expected goals figure (0.82 xG to 0.63), leading Rodriguez to call for more.

“I am very happy, it was very important to start well today against a tough opponent like Paraguay,” he told reporters after Monday’s victory.

“In the second half we could have done better, but things are corrected better when the team wins, it’s all much easier.”

The NRG Stadium, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, was a sea of yellow for the game as Colombian fans packed into the venue, leaving Rodriguez awestruck.

“It’s beautiful, they are supporting us a lot,” he said of the huge Colombian contingent. “There is still a long way to go and we are going to go game by game.”

Colombia go to Phoenix for their second match against Costa Rica on Friday, before taking on Brazil next Tuesday at San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium.

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