In an arduous and fiercely contested match, typical of Copa America, Argentina was crowned champions once again, courtesy of Lautaro Martinez’s decisive goal in overtime.

Led by Lionel Scaloni, the reigning champions of America and the world, Argentina aimed to replicate the same triumph they did in 2021 when they beat bitter rivals Brazil in the final and hoisting the Copa America trophy at Maracanã.

This time around, Colombia, led by the forgotten man James Rodriguez, came to the final undefeated, driven to secure only its second continental trophy in history. Under the impressive direction of Argentine manager Nestor Lorenzo, Los Cafeteros, were aiming to shock the world in Miami.

After an unexpected delay of over an hour, caused by the disturbance outside the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium, the match kicked off with La Scaloneta – as the Argentinian team is known – going after the Colombia teams.

Just under a minute into the match, Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez took a shot inside the box at goalkeeper Camilo Vargas, but the ball narrowly missed the corner.

The Colombian team quickly ensure to dispel any notions that they would be intimidated by it, as they steadily up their lines, applied firm pressure on the Argentina defense, and through the pressure managed to steal the ball from the defenders, creating their first scoring opportunities.

In a brave performance by Nestor Lorenzo’s team, Colombia absolutely took command of the match in the initial 20 minutes, forcing Emi Martinez to work twice during this time.

Colombia absolutely dominated the first half, with James Rodriguez creating chances through the middle, Jhon Córdoba hitting the post with a short-range effort and defender Carlos Cuesta drawing a fine save from Dibu Martinez in a header inside the box.

Argentina struggled to find their footing on the pitch. After Lionel Messi got injured in the 37th minute, it felt like the Argentine team was desperately crying for the half. No changes on the first eleven for the second half for Scaloni, but a change in posture from Argentina was necessary.

A change in posture came in a rather topsy-turvy manner. To start the second half, Argentina started lifting balls into the penalty area, thus lifting their fans together.

However, In the 66th minute, Argentina suffered a big blow, Lionel Messi went off with an apparent ankle injury. Sat on the bench, tears streaming down his face, as he held an ice bag to his right foot, felt like this might be the last image of Messi with the Albiceleste.

A horrid second half, little to no creativity by both teams. By the 80th minutes, it was evident that neither team was willing to take any chances.

So, we went to overtime in Miami. Through an intense first half of overtime, both teams appeared to be exhausted, but what was striking was the high-paced South American style of play. When Juan Fernando Quintero entered the match; Colombia had a surge in physical vitality and creativity.

Scaloni answered with Lautaro Martínez, who made a fierce entrance and ultimately scored in the 112 minute to give Argentina the trophy.

The win over Colombia secured Argentina’s 16th continental trophy, surpassing Uruguay and establishing them as the most successful team in the tournament’s history. Lionel Scaloni once again leads Argentina to a championship, yet the spotlight also shines on Lionel Messi and Ángel Di María who might have done their last game ever with the national team.

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Oh so close from Canada who were almost there with a 2-1 lead off the back of Uruguay’s good start and that 80th minute breakthrough for the team’s 2nd goal. But the match isn’t even over just yet when veteran striker Luis Suarez held them back a bit longer  not only after 90 mins of normal time 2-2 all & even 2 x 15 mins extra time periods where the score remained unchanged, but Canada also eventually lost in the end to Uruguay via penalties for the best of third spot in Charlotte, 3-4.

It would’ve been awesome to see Canada close down with the win against one of the seasoned South America teams following their semis loss against Group A opponents Argentina – especially when they were the only North American team left remaining. They controlled the pitch really well on what has been a huge tug-o-war where both teams shared the pie at half-time 1-1 until Canada found a way to get on top of Uruguay in the 80th minute.  However, that turned out to be short lived and Canada eventually ran out of steam to make Uruguay pay. Not even the penalties have helped much in a sudden death drag race under pressure & Uruguay turned out to be the better 3rd placed team. Canada is at the right time right now with the World Cup after a 36 year wait two years ago followed by a 4th-placed Copa America finish & sure they can do even better to achieve from here – such as the next Gold Cup next year as well as 2026 World Cup across home soil, USA & Mexico.

Well, chasing a possible 16th title will have to wait next time for Uruguay come 2028 before looking to unseat the defending champs Argentina at some point. But the tournament isn’t 100% over yet until tomorrow and Uruguay will be hoping that Colombia can spoil Argentina’s unbeaten winning run in the Final tomorrow, so they can still share with Argentina as the joint most successful team in Copa America history of 16 winning trophies together.  Yes, Uruguay were nearly out of place for the most part when they had less ball following an early lead to the match. However, they well to turn things around thanks to Super Suarez at the last minute in normal time before Uruguay eventually found a way to escape the Canadians unscathed – which wasn’t easy to play but hey, they’ve done it after all!!  There’s still unfinished business ahead with the World Cup qualifications up next, so they can hopefully get back to their best following their early round exit in Qatar two years ago.

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We all love the joy of witnessing these fairy tale moments such as Canada who made it as far as the semis off the back of a undefeated performances bar the opening round defeat v Argentina including that Quarter-Final win the other day v Venezuela via penalties. However, facing a top side like the Argentinians again were never easy indeed with the likes of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez following a 2-0 semi-finals loss earlier this afternoon at MetLife Stadium in New York. Although Canada’s unreal Copa America run isn’t over just yet with a third-place Playoff match coming up this weekend against the loser of the 2nd semi-final match as we turn our attention to Colombia v Uruguay in Charlotte, NC tomorrow morning.

First of all, Canada weren’t bad for the most part defensively other than a couple of mis-timed tackles and passes that led to two Argentina goals where it could’ve been 0-0 to give themselves a lifeline like another 30 mins of extra time and maybe penalty shootouts or even a successful goal or two would do it to stop Argentina from bothering them. They did have a couple of late chances though to try and hold back Argentina but then there was very little time left against the clock unfortunately as the game well and truly belongs to the Defending Champions. As said, they had a spectacular run as being the best North American side in this competition across the Americas & sure Canada will keep on grinding towards regular silverware like the future CONCACAF Gold Cup editions sooner rather than later. But it’s all about South America for now when Canada is now out of the tournament with three nations left in the running that will become two in less than 24 hours time.

Meanwhile, it’s great to see Argentina advance to the Final once again following an easy 2-0 win v Canada having dominated the pitch for most of the game. Yes, they could’ve done a bit better as if Argentina was using this semi as a practice match for the Final as no opponent will ever them a free run. However, they did profit the defensive errors Canada couldn’t capitalise at their own end where Argentina successfully found the net on both occasions by Alvarez and Messi before the clock ticks down ahead of full-time & Argentina are now step closer towards hopefully winning their record 16th title. At the moment, Argentina currently have 15 titles which is tied with potential finalists Uruguay who might be there to spoil their championship-winning celebrations come Sunday & maybe be the most successful team in Copa America history – if Uruguay can beat Colombia in the other semi tomorrow. Regardless of what happens, Argentina wouldn’t mind to come up against anyone whether if it’s Uruguay or Colombia as long as they can get the job done with goals to win them yet another trophy.

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Colombia absolutely too good on what has been an excellent team showing that ended Panama’s good run up until the Quarter-Finals with a 5-0 win just now as they will either take on Uruguay or Brazil for the 2nd Copa America semi-final match on 10am Thursday morning at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. So that leaves Canada now as the only North American team in the running alongside three other South American sides including their semi opponents Argentina which is going to be incredibly difficult since they’re the current champs. However, they have the team spirit to hopefully give them a tough time having made excellent progress over the last few years – even with Jesse Marsch in charge now who is doing well.

All good things has to end at some point unfortunately when Panama had a great group stage campaign such as wins against the USA and Bolivia off the back of a deep CONCACAF Gold Cup run to the Final last year (Finished 2nd to Mexico with a 1-0 loss) despite losing to Uruguay in the opening match. This is a team Panama should be proud of as there’s unfinished business ahead that would make them stronger as one of the North American teams out there alongside Canada, Mexico and the USA like qualifying for the 2nd time since 2018 to compete in the next World Cup in two years time across North America as well as another excellent next Gold Cup and Copa America showing if possible would be their next two targets. For now, it’s been a disappointing end when they so vulnerable defensively for the most part. Although they did had some ball on occasions with a bit more progress later on where 1- 2 goals could’ve been theirs, but then the match was already over way before full-time.

Meanwhile, Colombians including the some of its huge supporters groups all over the US have been partying all match to see them advance into the semi-finals yet again & this time it won’t be a semis rematch after all unless they make it into the Final with Argentina in it. They were simply destructive mainly in attack with so much possession to put themselves ahead of the game including an excellent 3-0 first-half performance. Yes, things might have slowed things down a bit as the game goes on but they were still way comfortable up front despite some improved Panama ball before a few changes off the bench helped Colombia finished off the match on a high including their 5th and final goal off a successful quick penalty kick past the keeper & into the net. Whatever that is, Colombia needs their full strong support worldwide in the hope of advancing to their 3rd Copa America Final and the last time they’ve done it was back in 2001 with the one and only triumph v Mexico 1-0 at home.

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July 4 may have taken place today in the US but that doesn’t mean soccer can’t be played without them when Copa America began the knockout stages in the first of the four Quarter-Finals at the same time between Argentina v Ecuador at NRG Stadium in Texas. It was almost a quiet game for a start when Argentina took the early lead off a successful in the first 45 minutes where they led 1-0 before Ecuador gave themselves a lifeline that held them back a bit longer thanks to substitute left winger Keven Rodriguez just minutes towards the end of normal time (90 mins) as this match isn’t over just yet.

Although both teams were unable to break the equaliser over the next extra half-hour, but at the end of the day, one winner has to advance into the semis while the other will have to pack their bags back home early. The winner belongs to Argentina following a 4-2 penalty win where their supporters went wild while they got the share with the Americans on their birthday as a whole nation. Now Argentina’s US tour continues to New Jersey now at MetLife Stadium in five days time (Wednesday 10AM AEST) – the home of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final as it will either be Venezuela or Canada now in Quarter-Final match No.2 where one of them will go on to take on Argentina come tomorrow 10 AM also within Texas but this time at AT&T Stadium.

Heartbreak for Ecuador where they were so fortunate enough to keep the game alive until the very end but there were a few missed opportunities that could’ve seen them advance into the semis instead of the Argentineans. Yes, they weren’t bad to get the ball rolling but it was simply their poor executions that came back to bit them such as that back-to-back mis-timed shots on goal including that early 2nd half penalty before more & more of these hit and misses made it so easy for Argentina to put the ball away from the in-goal at the sudden death shootout – which ultimately confirmed their elimination from the last 8 yet again over their last 3 out of 4 campaigns. It would’ve been about three decades now since their last semi-final there on home soil back in 1993 if they did win v Argentina as Ecuador will have to try again next time for the next Copa America in 2028.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Argentina with the brilliant win after they escaped the threat of Ecuador unscathed via penalties. Great to hear they’ve got the lead early while trying to hold out until at least the end of normal time (90 mins or 100 mins you would like to call it these days) for the win but then those plans were held back by Ecuador last minute when Argentina could’ve done better to cash in on the opposition’s hit and miss attempts such as scoring 2-0 or 3-0 in order to give themselves a bit of an early mark ahead of the semis. But they’ve did well however to bring this game to a close where Argentina was always good to in penalties like we’ve seen in the past – such as their 3rd World Cup trophy after a long 36 years (1986) wait two years ago v 2 x champions France in Qatar. Now with Lionel Messi sticking around for a bit longer following his post-World Cup triumph pledge, let’s see if Argentina will go one step closer once again to try & defend their crown from 2021 for the record 16th time as this next contest wouldn’t be that difficult either way en route to the Final.

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We might not have seen any goal from either Mexico or Ecuador earlier today during the last set of Group Stage Copa America matches after nearly 100 minutes of play at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. However, Ecuador had at least something to celebrate that all but confirmed Mexico’s early elimination from the tournament, having just punched their ticket to the Quarter-Finals this Friday at 11am AEST v Argentina. Brilliant defense to start off with including some good saves from the keeper while they were relieved to escape Mexico’s hit and misses, especially when they were so close at times towards having to hand over that finish to the opposition. All Ecuador had to do is not letting Mexico win all along since they had a bit of a goal difference advantage after they’ve won comfortably a few days ago v Jamaica 3-1 and they’ve done it on what is going be another extended Finals run soon. Yes, it won’t be easy when going up against one of the best in current World Cup champs Argentina. You never know what Ecuador has to offer in the best of the South Americas when it’s held in the USA.

It’s been disappointing for the Mexicans to walk away early, not even the injuries didn’t help much – despite their good start of their Group B campaign v Jamaica with the win 1-0. But then they couldn’t capitalise it against the table-topping Venezuela where all Mexico had to do is just win that game and they’re still in this fight. Yes, Mexico may have dominated the pitch but just couldn’t get the job done when it comes to shots on goal unfortunately – even though there were so many shots here & there as their poor attacking executions ultimately ruined sealed their elimination in the end. It’s the third time now that Mexico had to exit the group stages in this tournament since the 2015 Copa America edition as a past regular invitee in Chile.

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USA’s chances of going into the Quarter-Finals of the 2024 Copa America are beginning to crumble now in Group C ahead of their next match v Uruguay (Tuesday morning at 10am AEST) after their 2-1 loss to Panama. That first attempted free-kick goal was unlucky when it went offside, although they did find the net first thanks to centre-forward Florian Balogin which was so far, so good.  However, Panama controlled the pitch for the majority where they went into half-time at 1-1 before they eventually found the winner in the 83rd minute off the back of a huge arm wrestle past the US defense towards the final attacking third. Now all Panama has to do is beat Bolivia this Sunday (also Tuesday morning 11am AEST here) if USA can’t win v Uruguay and they will be through in 2nd expecting to go up against either Colombia or Brazil from the top ranked Group D.

Unlucky from the US as a draw would at least be acceptable if it wasn’t for the VAR rejection for that early offside free-kick or another win would be nice, but shame they just couldn’t find a way to stop Panama from conceding into the net. The defense looked so poor including the keeper who should’ve saved the first Panama goal while they just couldn’t get more ball with limited opportunities to get the job done on target at the other end. Meanwhile, wonderful moment from Panama to take home with the win other than that nasty late tackle where one of them was given a straight red card. While that might be a huge blow ahead of their next game v Bolivia, they have won a few times against them before including their last meeting via a friendly match 2-1 in August last year. All in all, they showed excellent fight while dominating the opposition US territory for most of the match. They know where to find the net up close inside the box not once but twice and Panama were right on the money in order off the back of two clean powerful strikes before they closed out for the win. We all know how close they are last year in the CONCACAF Gold Cup through to the Final v Mexico 0-1, as long as USA lose to Uruguay, Panama is ready to go all the way by proving they are not afraid of going up against the best of South Americas after being the best of the North.

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