International Soccer

5 best players from Copa America quarter-finals

The Copa America quarter-finals brought out the best in a select handful of players that stepped up to propel their nations to the semi-finals.

Outside of Colombia thrashing Panama 5-0, there weren’t too many goals scored in the other three quarter-final matches — meaning that defenders and goalkeepers stepped up to give their teams the best chance at reaching the last four of Copa America.

A couple of shot-stoppers came up huge in penalty shootouts to play their part in advancing to the semi-finals, while a couple of wide players also weren’t to shabby in the final third.

Here are the five best players from the Copa America quarter-finals.

Valverde controlled the midfield vs Brazil

Valverde controlled the midfield vs Brazil / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Brazil having talented midfielders like Bruno Guimaraes, Joao Gomes, Douglas Luiz and Lucas Paqueta, Uruguay’s Federico Valverde rose above them all to help La Celeste reach the semi-finals.

The Real Madrid figure was everywhere in the middle of the park as he tracked down loose balls, stepped in to make interceptions and kept the backline safe from the Brazil attack.

Rochet saved Eder Miltao's penalty attempt

Rochet saved Eder Miltao’s penalty attempt / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with the theme of impressive Uruguayan players, Sergio Rochet stepped up to make three saves during 90 minutes vs Brazil while also keeping out Eder Militao’s attempt during the shootout — which was vital in La Celeste pulling out the victory.

The veteran shot-stopper just might have to come up with more shootout heroics in the semi-finals against Colombia as another tense match is on the cards.

Shaffelburg has impressed throughout Copa America

Shaffelburg has impressed throughout Copa America / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Many will know about Canada’s talented players like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Moise Bombito, but they may not know about the emerging talent that is Jacob Shaffelburg.

The Nashville SC put Canada in front early on in their quarter-final tie against Venezuela and wasn’t involved in the shootout later on as he was substituted off. But it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the 24-year-old slotted home his penalty attempt given his impressive form at Copa America.

James Rodriguez has been on fire at Copa America

James Rodriguez has been on fire at Copa America / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

James Rodriguez picked up right where he left off in the group stage in Colombia’s 5-0 victory over Panama in the quarter-finals.

The former AS Monaco midfielder logged two assist and found the back of the net via the penalty spot to bring his tournament totals to six goal involvements, the most of any player.

Emiliano Martinez, Angel Mena

Martinez continues to perform for Argentina / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

Emiliano ‘Emi’ Martinez’s Argentina legend continues to grow with each passing competitive match — at least that’s what it seems like.

The 31-year-old shot-stopper is very much in the prime of his career and came up with two huge saves in the penalty shootout against Ecuador after conceding in stoppage time. If Argentina go on to repeat as Copa America champions, you can expect that Martinez will have more than played his part in the final.

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