By FRANCO PANIZO
It took longer than expected, but Argentina finally had a reason to celebrate.
Argentina recorded its first win of the Copa America, topping Costa Rica, 3-0, on Monday night in the final match of Group A. The victory advanced the albiceleste to the quarterfinals as it finished in second place of the group with five points.
Leo Messi had two assists and Sergio Aguero bagged a brace in the victory. Angel Di Maria scored the other goal.
Argentina looked to go into halftime at 0-0 after wasting several chances, but Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock just before the interval when he knocked in a rebound. The Argentines then took control of the game in the second half with Messi assisting on goals from Aguero and Di Maria.
Costa Rica finishes group play in third place with three points, but can still advance to the knockout phase if it is one of the two best third-place teams.
Here are highlight's from Argentina's win as well as more recent results from the Copa America:
COLOMBIA CRUISES AGAINST BOLIVIA TO CLAIM GROUP A
Colombia became the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals, taking first place of Group A with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia on Sunday. Radamel Falcao scored both goals in the first half for a Colombians team that has yet to allow a goal in the tournament. He got behind the back line and found the back of the net before scoring his second on a penalty kick. The win gave Colombia seven points while Bolivia was eliminated from the tournament with a guaranteed fourth-place finish on one point.
Here are the highlights:
FRED SAVES BRAZIL WITH LATE EQUALIZER
Brazil was close to disaster, but Fred rescued the Selecao with an equalizer near the death of its game against Paraguay on Saturday. Paraguay and Brazil tied 2-2 in a Group B game that saw both team's surrender the lead. Brazil went up six minutes after halftime on a Jadson goal, but Paraguay responded through an equalizer from Roque Santa Cruz and a go-ahead goal from Nelson Haedo Valdez. The Paraguayans relinquished their lead just before the final whistle though, as Fred fired a low shot into the back of the net after receiving a pass from Ganso. The Brazilians and Paraguay now sit on two points each in the group.
Here are highlights from the game:
VENEZUELA TOPS ECUADOR ON GOAL FROM GONZALEZ
Venezuela won its third ever Copa America match by beating Ecuador, 1-0, on a goal from Cesar Gonzalez in a Group B match on Saturday. Venezuela, which now has four points, took control of the group after Gonzalez fired in a shot from outside the penalty area. The win was Venezuela's third in the history of the competition, and placed Ecuador in last place of the group with one point.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of Argentina's victory? Surprised more by Brazil's struggles or Venezuela winning against Ecuador? How far do you see Colombia going?
Share your thoughts below.
Copa America has always been scheduled at a bad time particularly for US players in Europe and now in the middle of MLS season. The 2007 Gold Cup had the same reward as the Gold Cup this year did, a slot in the Confederations Cup and it’s World Cup dress rehearsal aspect. So the US chose the Gold Cup. Here are the lineups for the GC final and the opener of the Copa America four days later:
Mexico GC Final
USA: 1-Tim Howard;16-Jonathan Spector (15-Frank Simek, 72′), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 13-Jonathan Bornstein; 8-Clint Dempsey (20-Taylor Twellman, 69′), 5-Benny Feilhaber, 4-Pablo Mastroeni (19-Ricardo Clark, 46), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 11-Brian Ching, 10-Landon Donovan
Subs not used: 9-Eddie Johnson, 12-Jay DeMerit, 14-Steve Ralston, 18-Kasey Keller
Copa America Opener vs Argentina ( 4 days later)
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 2-Marvell Wynne, 3-Jay DeMerit, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 13-Jonathan Bornstein; 5-Benny Feilhaber, 19-Ricardo Clark (17-Kyle Beckerman, 79), 14-Ben Olsen (11-Eddie Gaven, 62), 21-Justin Mapp; 20-Taylor Twellman (8-Herculez Gomez, 69), 9-Eddie Johnson
Subs not used: 4-Bobby Boswell, 6-Heath Pearce, 7-Dan Califf, 10-Charlie Davies, 15-Drew Moor, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 23-Brad Guzan, 25-Lee Nguyen
What did you expect? That the US would look over their vast roster of World Class talent and send top-notch teams to both competitions? The criticism about what the US chose to do is very tiresome and undeserved.
If you noticed European teams (see Tim Chandler) aren’t keen on sending their guys to either the Gold Cup or Copa America (which is why you saw all that dealing by UEFA on this tournament).
Our best players mostly play in Europe. Does everyone expect them to give up their entire off-season, especially for a tournament that isn’t particularly prestigious. Quick, w/out using Google, name the last three winners. Would UEFA really mess with it if it were that important? Would UEFA mess with the World Cup like that?
Pathetic how Argentina celebrates a win againts a u-22 team costa rica side. I felt so sorry that I had to change the channel because of the way they celebrated.
Absolutely, replace Bob. I hear Dunga’s available… :-/
Brazil only on 2 points after two matches? Fire Bob Bradley.
CONMEBOL actually are getting on CONCACAF. It was CONCACAF who made them take U-22 teams.
I’ve read a couple of things that hint that Mexico (who they will invite again, CR was only invited because Japan backed out after their tragedy and then Spain declined) will be allowed to take a full team to the next one. So presume CONMEBOL and Mexico put enough pressure on CONCACAF. Good for them.
May want to check the rosters, oh ignorant one.
And if you want to, go ahead and look up historical finishes by Mexico in Copa America.
This is the 8th they’ve competed in.
3 3rd places
2 2nd places.
Looks kind of like Rene Higuita.
The Colombian assistant coach has some of the best soccer hair ever!
It was not like last time.
I’m surprised not a lot of people know about this… UEFA made a big deal about players participating in tournaments during the club offseason when the tournament that said national team is “invited to” or schedule to play in. Basically UEFA is saying they don’t want countries to be able to participate more than is absolutely necessary or required from them.
So UEFA reached an agreement with FIFA, teams can take part in tournaments outside their continental zone, but only when they field and use a U-23 team with 5 Senior player, almost like the Olympics.
Mexico could of pushed for a better team but decided to rest all their guys after the Gold Cup in the past they usually take a strong 1st choice team,
+1 too you sir!
The practice of stopping/stuttering when taking PK’s should be banned. It’s a completely unfair advantage.
That can’t be possible Giovanni is the new Pele and Mexico won the last two U 17 and they have the best youth system in the world. Plus the US sucks and that’s why we weren’t invited.
….at least that’s what my Mexican friend told me befor Copa started
I guess they didn’t get to play against Bornstein in Copa
US basically sent a C- team, although I hear what you’re saying.
We also weren’t competitive at all.
Mexico and Costa Rica sent B teams but commebol doesn’t get on them about that, just the US huh?
Argentina only now won their first game???? Fire Bob!!
Actually, CONCACAF did quite well, all things considered.
To be fair, both Mexico and Costa Rica sent B teams.
Dang Concacaf got trounced.