The King is dead, long live the King (again). Colombia lose their crown in only their second defence as Argentina take back what the seem to claim is dutifully theirs. A win on Penalties for Argentina not only progresses them to the semi finals but this is now their 4th title reign since we have been tracking it.
Next up for the new holders Argentina could be a rematch with Brazil who ended their third reign as UFWC Champions but first the Selecao must get past Paraguay in the last of the Copa America Quarter Finals in the early hours of the morning.
Carlos Tevez netted the winning penalty to seal his side’s place in the Copa America semi-finals after an astonishing shoot-out
New Boca Juniors signing Carlos Tevez struck the winning spot-kick as Argentina defeated Colombia 5-4 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes to book their place in the Copa America semi-finals.
Tevez netted with Argentina’s seventh penalty after Lucas Biglia and Marcos Rojo had both missed opportunities to claim victory from the spot in Friday’s Vina del Mar quarter-final clash.
It was no less than Argentina deserved after they dominated throughout the 90 minutes, with only a massive display from Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina ensuring the contest required a shoot-out.
The Arsenal shot stopper’s best moment was an amazing double save in the 26th minute when he denied Sergio Aguero with his foot before scrambling to palm Lionel Messi’s follow-up header around the post, with both shots coming from inside the six-yard box.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman had made four changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Peru in their final group encounter, with his decision to drop misfiring striker Radamel Falcao the standout.
Jackson Martinez was promoted to lead the line, while Victor Ibarbo, Alexander Mejia and Camilo Zuniga were also included as Pekerman switched from a 4-2-2-2 to a 4-1-3-2 formation.
That decision did not work, however, and Pekerman made a change midway through the first half with forward Teofilo Gutierrez sacrificed in favour of midfielder Edwin Cardona as Argentina ran riot, although it made little difference as Colombia finished the first half without a shot on goal.
As the second half wore on, Colombia began to gain a foothold in the contest but struggled to test Argentina keeper Sergio Romero, while Ospina kept a clean sheet at the other end.
Romero made just one save throughout the 90 minutes but was impressive in the shoot-out before Tevez – who was confirmed as a Boca Juniors player during the game – sent Argentina into the last four.
It took just five minutes for Ospina to register his first save, with the 26-year-old getting down low at his near post to parry Javier Pastore’s toe-poke.
Argentina had decent arguments for a penalty when Aguero and Messi both went down in the box in the 20th minute, while the former headed over soon after.
Ospina was sharply off his line just before the break to deny Pastore, while he had to beat Angel di Maria to the ball outside his box early in the second half.
James Rodriguez wasted an opportunity to shoot in the 67th minute, before Martinez produced Colombia’s only shot on target, heading straight at Romero from a corner.
Argentina hit the woodwork twice late in the game, with substitute Ever Banega clipping the crossbar before Ospina produced another stunning stop – palming Nicolas Otamendi’s effort onto the post. The ball rebounded along the goal-line before being cleared.
Colombia breathed another sigh of relief in the 88th minute when Cristian Zapata almost put the ball past Ospina, only for Jeison Murillo to produce a sliding clearance.
Eventually penalties were required, with the first six spot-kicks all finding the net before Luis Muriel blasted over the bar with Colombia’s fourth.
After Ezequiel Lavezzi scored off the post, Romero almost denied Cardona but the midfielder’s penalty squeezed under him before Biglia missed a chance to seal victory, sending the shoot-out into sudden-death mode.
Amazingly, the next three penalty-takers then failed to score with Romero denying Zuniga before Rojo clipped the bar and Murillo matched Muriel’s poor effort.
That left Tevez to calmly convert and decide the tie, with Argentina booking a last-four date against either Brazil or Paraguay.