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Uruguay vs Colombia: Bielsa’s warriors take on Lozano’s gunslingers

A titanic 2024 Copa America final against Argentina beckons for Uruguay and Colombia as the two CONMEBOL giants square off at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It’s been a while since these two teams last contested the title-deciding fixture at South America’s most prestigious tournament.

Uruguay’s last foray into the grand final dates back to 2011, when they lifted their 15th title, while Colombia most recently qualified for the showpiece event in 2001.

Both nations have fared exceptionally well in the United States.

Alongside Argentina, the Uruguayans were the only remaining team to pick up all nine points in the group stages, while the Colombians only dropped points once.

Nestor Lozano’s side drew 1-1 with Brazil on matchday three, condemning the Selecao to a fateful quarter-final tie against Marcelo Bielsa’s high-flying charges.

Following a scoreless draw in regulation time, Uruguay bested Brazil on penalties to set up their first Copa America semi-final appearance since 2011.

However, La Celeste paid a hefty price, losing standout defender Ronald Araujo to injury and first-choice wing-back Nahitan Nandez to a red-card suspension.

Colombia’s quarter-final clash against North American minnows Panama was a walk in the park, with Los Cafeteros running out 5-0 winners in Arizona.

It was incidentally the only last-eight tie not to go to penalties, suggesting this heavyweight showdown could go the full distance.

History-defining final on the horizon for Uruguay

Tied with Argentina on 15 Copa America titles each, Uruguay can make history in Florida if it can get past Colombia.

But that’s easier said than done despite La Celeste’s formidable-looking run of eight consecutive games without losing in competitive action (W8, D1).

Uruguay embarked on that dominant streak with an action-packed 2-2 draw against Colombia in a 2026 World Cup qualifier last October.

As the last three meetings between the teams have ended all square, including a scoreless stalemate at the 2021 Copa America, it’s only natural to assume another penalty shootout could determine the winner in Charlotte.

With Uruguay beaten by the Colombians on penalties that time, they’ll rely on a three-game run without conceding to snatch away a victory in regulation.

Most in-form CONMEBOL team

Colombia’s jaw-dropping performance against Panama removed all doubts about the best team in South America, extending their unbelievable unbeaten streak to 27 matches (W21, D6).

Not only are Los Cafeteros winning, but they’re also firing on all cylinders.

Except for the aforementioned draw against Brazil, they’ve netted multiple goals in all three remaining Copa America outings this summer at an average of 3.33 per game.

Former Real Madrid ace James Rodriguez has rolled back the years to inspire his country to a rip-roaring form at the tournament, tallying a goal and five assists.

Back to familiar territory, Rodriguez and his teammates warm up for their third semi-final appearances in the last four Copa Americas, bidding to avoid the same fate as in the US-held tournament in 2016.

Chile proved Colombia’s scourge at this stage that year en route to their second successive Copa America title.

Uruguay vs Colombia potential line-ups

Uruguay (4-2-3-1): Sergio Rochet; Guillermo Varela, Jose Maria Gimenez, Mathias Olivera, Matias Vina; Federico Valverde, Manuel Ugarte; Facundo Pellistri, Nicolas de la Cruz, Maximiliano Araujo; Darwin Nunez.

Colombia (4-2-3-1): Camilo Vargas; Daniel Munoz, Davinso Sanchez, Carlos Cuesta, Johan Mojica; Richard Rios, Jefferson Lerma; Jhon Arias, James Rodriguez, Luis Diaz; Jhon Cordoba.


Uruguay’s defensive solidity under Bielsa has been off the charts, but with Araujo injured and Nandez banned, it’s hard to imagine them fending off the free-scoring Colombians.

Now’s the time for misfiring Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez to step up, although it’d likely be insufficient to outgun his clubmate Luis Diaz and the rest of Colombia’s unstoppable frontline.

Lozano’s troops are fancied to set up a thrilling final against Argentina.  

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