Copa America heavyweights Colombia and Argentina will square off in the semi-finals for a spot in the tournament Final.

The 2021 edition of the South American continental tournament gets into the semi-final stage with heavyweights Colombia and Argentina set to face each other for a spot in the Final at Estadio Nacional de Brasilia on Tuesday night.

Colombia were considered outside favourites at the start of the tournament, but an underwhelming group campaign has led to a fall in their stocks. However, they struggled through Group B with a solitary win in four games, finishing third. Even against Uruguay in the quarter-finals, Los Cafeteros somewhat limped through the game to eventually win on penalties.

That win pits them against an in-form Argentina side, boasting attacking talents that could be beyond Colombia’s capacity. Argentina booked their place in the semis after a terrific 3-0 win over Ecuador. Lionel Messi ran the show with two assists and a pin-point freekick to finish off Ecuador. However, they would face a different prospect to Ecuador when they meet Colombia, who are more than capable of knocking Argentina off their perch.

Argentina will be hopeful of reaching the Final, as the mouthwatering prospect of facing Brazil in the tournament showpiece remains a possibility. However, the challenge posed by Colombia will have to be taken in all seriousness before dreaming of the Final, let alone lifting the coveted trophy.

Team News & Tactics

Argentina

Will Lautaro Martinez deliver the goods for Argentina? (Photo by Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Will Lautaro Martinez deliver the goods for Argentina? (Photo by Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Lionel Scaloni will be wary of tinkering with this team for the time being. The group performed admirably by beating Ecuador comfortably and setting the marker straight. Scaloni is unlikely to make any changes to his defensive line, with Nahuel Molina, German Pezzella, Nicolas Otamendi, and Marcos Acuna expected to keep their respective places.

Scaloni can change things, but considering their performance against Ecuador, it would be wise to keep things the way they are. In midfield, Scaloni has options to bring Guido Rodriguez to bring some stability in midfield. Leandro Paredes started in an anchor role last game, but that could change.

Leandro Paredes could be the man Rodriguez replaces, to play alongside Rodrigo De Paul and Giovanni Lo Celso on either side in a midfield three. In front, alongside Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez will certainly start after his good display in the last game. Scaloni can choose Angel Correa, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero to replace Nicolas Gonzalez on the left side. However, Scaloni is set to stick with his man.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): E Martinez; Molina, Pezzella, Otamendi, Acuna; Rodriguez, De Paul, Lo Celso; Messi, L Martinez, Gonzalez

Colombia

Colombia don’t have any issues with injuries or suspension, but Reinaldo Rueda will be wary of his side’s struggles in the final third. As showcased in the Uruguay game, the Colombian forwards failed to impact the final third, with Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata proving ineffective.

Rueda will try to refresh that line with the inclusion of Miguel Borja, who could replace Atalanta forward Muriel. Zapata will likely keep his place as he has shown some fire in his performances so far. Central defence is likely to be the same as Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez will keep their partnership going. Daniel Munoz should keep his place at right-back, while William Tessilo should be placed at left-back.

Central midfield is also likely to look the same from the last game, with Gustavo Cuellar and Wilmar Barrios operating as a double pivot. Luis Diaz is also expected to start on the left-wing, but the right side could see Juan Cuadrado come in after missing the last game, with the Juventus star set to replace Rafael Borre in the lineup.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ospina; Munoz, Mina, Sanchez, Tesillo; Cuadrado, Barrios, Cuellar, Diaz; Zapata, Borja

Form Guide

Colombia – W D L L W

Argentina – D W W W W

Key Stats

  • Colombia and Argentina have met twice before in Copa America semi-finals, with the Colombians losing both games.
  • Colombia are unbeaten in their last three competitive fixtures against Argentina winning twice during that time.
  • Colombia have only two wins in their last five games including penalty shootouts.
  • Argentina are unbeaten in this Copa America, conceding only twice.

Player to Watch

Juan Cuadrado (Colombia)

The key man for Colombia. (Photo courtesy - Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The key man for Colombia. (Photo courtesy – Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Juventus winger’s absence was felt throughout the game against Uruguay. Colombia lacked creativity from all parts of the field, and their static movement of the ball was evident. The fact that their strikers were completely ineffective was because there was no service whatsoever.

However, the good news for Colombia is that their star man is back and likely to return to the lineup. Cuadrado will be key to unlock this Argentina defence which has let in the fewest goals in this tournament so far. The Juve star’s form in the final third is crucial, but his efforts on the defensive side will also be needed to stop Argentine attacks.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

As we pointed towards Messi as the man to watch in the quarter-final against Ecuador, it’s the Barcelona superstar who is again in the spotlight. His total display against Ecuador yielding a goal and two assists should be enough to cite his importance in this side.

If Argentina wish to go all the way, their captain has a starring role to play once more. A final awaits, with arch-rivals Brazil as their opponents, and Colombia will be wary of the Messi storm as it approaches fast.

Argentina's main man (Photo by Jaime Reina/AFP via Getty Images)

Argentina’s main man (Photo by Jaime Reina/AFP via Getty Images)

Prediction

Argentina 3-1 Colombia

On paper or otherwise, Argentina are hot favourites in this tie, with Colombia looking like the team about to give La Albiceleste their passage into the Final. Colombia have shown all tournament their lack in creativity, and while they have limped through challenges with certain degree of luck, it may be time it runs out.

Argentina have been fluid in attack, as witnessed in the last game, and their defence has been rock solid, conceding the fewest goals. Like icing on a cake, Lionel Messi is in sizzling form, in time to lead his national side towards the glory that has criminally eluded Argentina during the superstar’s time. Expect Argentina to win by three goals at least, with Colombia expected to one.

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