Colombia win group after feisty draw with Brazil


Brazil played out an action-packed 1-1 draw with Colombia in Santa Clara, California on Tuesday to qualify for the Copa América quarterfinals.

Colombia, who finished top of Group D on seven points, face Panama in the quarters while second-placed Brazil take on Group C winners Uruguay.

A frantic first 15 minutes at Levi’s Stadium saw Colombia go within inches of scoring after James Rodriguez hit the crossbar, before Raphinha whipped a sublime free kick into the top corner to give Brazil the lead in the 12th minute.

Colombia had a Davinson Sanchez goal disallowed for offside before striker Jhon Cordoba’s brilliant through ball was rifled into the net by Daniel Munoz to level the scores in first-half stoppage time.

“It was a match we all wanted to play to measure ourselves in a good moment for the team. I think we took another step forward today,” Colombia coach Nestor Lorenzo said.

“With Brazil you cannot neglect the team even for a second. The feeling is one of satisfaction against a complicated opponent and now we are going to think about Panama.”

Right before the equalizer, Brazil thought they had a penalty in the 42nd minute when Munoz brought down Vinicius Junior in the box, but television replays appeared to show the Colombia defender got a touch on the ball.

Despite the searing California heat neither side let the intensity drop after the break. Raphinha fired a free kick just wide and Andreas Pereira tested Camilo Vargas with a long-range effort but Colombia held on for the draw and stretched their unbeaten run to 26 matches.

Vinícius Júnior was kept mostly quiet during the match, but he did pick a yellow card in the 7th minute that will see him miss the quarterfinal match with Uruguay due to accumulation.

Bruno Guimaraes of Brazil is shown a yellow card during his team’s Copa America match with Colombia.

Players put on an entertaining show in the Group D finale, with Brazil’s Bruno Guimarães calling Colombia “a stone in our shoe” in the lead up to Tuesday.

What was expected to be a tense, physical, foul-filled match more than lived up to that hype featuring five yellow cards as a sea of jerseys the same color representing both countries packed the seats — once the fans finally got inside, that is. Some scanning equipment became very hot and slowed down the process.

A crowd of 70,971 attended the game, and the 24 group-stage games drew 1,115,400 for an average of 46,475.

The Bay Area is facing an excessive heat warning and the temperature at kickoff was 98 degrees — though about half the field on one sideline was shaded.

Brazil, a team so accustomed to chasing championships in this event, faces a tougher road without a win against Colombia.

“We have to be honest with ourselves, we still have a lot to grow, a lot to improve, especially in these big games,” Brazil defender Marquinhos said.

The Seleção have captured Copa titles nine times and were runner-up in the 2021 tournament.

Colombia already had secured their spot in the quarterfinal round and have a 26-match unbeaten streak — including a 5-1 victory against the U.S. in a pre-tournament friendly, while Brazil then settled for a 1-1 draw with the Americans four days later in another tuneup.

Colombia beat Brazil 2-1 last year in the South American World Cup qualifiers and their first meeting since three matchups in 2021, when Brazil topped Colombia 2-1 in the Copa América.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.



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