Argentina beats Colombia on penalty kicks to advance to Copa America final
The match was decided in a penalty shootout where Argentina were the superior side.
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Argentina will be Brazil's opponent in the final of the Copa América 2021 to be played this Saturday, July 10. The Argentineans defeated the Colombians 3-2 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw in regular time.
The second game of the Copa America semifinals between Argentina and Colombia started with a goal by Argentina in the 7th minute of the first half.
Lautaro Martinez's goal revived the Colombians' nightmare of being behind against Argentina in the first minutes. In their last two meetings, the Argentines scored their first goal in the first 10 minutes of play.
However, the Colombians resisted and attacked until they found the equalizer in the 14th minute of the second half, in a play by Luis Diaz.
The Argentineans, clear favorites, faced a Colombian team that fought the entire game and averted three clear goal opportunities after the equalizer.
Lionel Messi, the Argentinean star, made the pass for his team's goal and scored one of the penalties, suffered a trampling by Frank Fabra at the beginning of the second half that left him bleeding for the rest of the game. Before the semifinal, Messi had scored on all the free kicks he took during this year's Copa America, but missed two during the showdown with Colombia that could have given his team the victory.
The match was instead decided on penalties, where the Argentina was clearly the superior side. They will now face Brazil, the great home team, at the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro this Saturday, July 10.
At the end of the match, Reinaldo Rueda, coach of the Colombian national team, highlighted the work of the team during the tournament, but acknowledged that they lacked efficiency to reach the final.
"Soccer is about goals and playing a good game. Today we were not effective enough to make the difference against a very strong opponent," he said.
For his part, Messi, who played his 150th game with the national team, did not hide his satisfaction at being in the final against Brazil.
"I am more excited than ever because we are playing another final. I always say that what I want most is to win a title with the national team," he said.
Copa América 2021 has been atypical. It was to be held in 2020 in Argentina and Colombia, but like all massive events, it was postponed due to the pandemic. It was rescheduled for the Summer of 2021, and ended up being played in Brazil in a last-minute decision after COVID-19 didn't slow down in the original host countries.