Uruguay face Colombia in the Copa America quarter-finals in Brasilia on Saturday buoyed by recent form that could see them challenge for the trophy again.
La Celeste are the most successful side in the competition’s history with 15 wins but their last came 10 years ago when they beat Paraguay in the final in Buenos Aires.
Their 2021 campaign began inauspiciously with defeat to Argentina and a draw with Chile, but consecutive wins over Bolivia and Paraguay secured their place in the quarter-finals.
They may only have scored once through Edinson Cavani’s first-half penalty, but Oscar Tabarez’s men fired in 18 shots in their previous game and 22 in the win over Bolivia. Those are the most they have attempted against South American sides in this competition since they lifted the trophy a decade ago.
Uruguay are also on a run of consecutive victories at the same finals for the first time since 2011 and are beginning to look a far more confident side than the one that scored only once in five competitive games from November 2020 until June 21 this year.
By contrast, Colombia have failed to build on their opening win over Ecuador. A disappointing stalemate with Venezuela was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Peru, before they then lost to Brazil via the same scoreline after a late Casemiro winner settled a controversial clash in Rio de Janeiro.
Their previous meeting with Uruguay at this tournament was in the third-place play-off in 2004, in which they lost 2-1. Prior to that, their last victory over these opponents was in September 1975, when they won the first leg of their semi-final tie 3-0.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Uruguay – Edinson Cavani
With two goals in two games, Cavani is the primary reason Uruguay have reached this stage and he is likely to be pivotal to their hopes of progressing further.
The Manchester United striker needs one goal to make this his most productive Copa America campaign.
Colombia – Yerry Mina
If Colombia are to keep Uruguay’s attack quiet, they will need an imperious performance from centre-back Yerry Mina.
The Everton man has won 20 aerial duels at this year’s finals, the most of any player.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Uruguay have registered four wins, one draw and one defeat in their previous six meetings with Colombia at the Copa America.
– This will be the second quarter-final meeting between these sides in this competition. The previous clash was in 1993: after a 1-1 draw, Los Cafeteros advanced to the next round on penalties.
– Uruguay have lost only one of their past nine games at the Copa America (W5 D3). They have two consecutive victories, something they have not achieved in the same edition of the tournament since 2011, when they ended up becoming champions.
– Uruguay and Paraguay are the only teams that have not conceded goals in the second half of their matches at this year’s Copa America.
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