International Soccer

Player ratings as La Celeste fall to third place match

James Rodriguez supplied his sixth assist at Copa America 2024 as Jefferson Lerma’s lone goal propelled Colombia to the final to set up a date with reigning champions Argentina.

James Rodriguez was going to have to put up a strong performance to help Colombia reach the Copa America final, and although he was quiet for most of the first half, he came up huge near the halftime break. The former Real Madrid midfielder registered his sixth assist of the tournament as Jefferson Lerma’s headed effort beat Sergio Rochet at his near post to put Colombia 1-0 up.

Everything was going well for Colombia up until stoppage time near the end of the first 45. Crystal Palace full-back Daniel Munoz was shown a red card after elbowing Manuel Ugarte, and the 28-year-old pleaded his case to referee Cesar Arturo Ramos as replays showed Ugarte shoving him near his midsection. However, Ramos wasn’t buying it, and Colombia were down to 10 players with a one goal lead.

Despite playing the entire second half with 10 players, Colombia managed to survive and advance to the final with a resilient defensive showing. While Uruguay experienced heartbreak, they still have plenty to be proud of with their new identity under Marcelo Bielsa.

As for Nestor Lorenzo’s Colombia, things just keep continuing to fall in place for the South American nation led by Rodriguez. Colombia have been one of the best teams at the tournament and rightfully deserve a place in the final where they come up against reigning champions Argentina and Lionel Messi.

It’ll be a tough task in taking down the best national team in the world, but Colombia are more than capable of pulling off an upset to lift their second-ever Copa America title in over two decades.

FBL-COPA AMERICA-2024-URU-COL

Darwin Nunez got the nod up front / JUAN MABROMATA/GettyImages

GK: Sergio Rochet – 6/10 – Denied Richard Rios from close range to make up for his near-post shortcomings on Lerma’s header.

CB: Sebastian Caceres – 7/10 – Didn’t put a foot wrong in the backline against a talented Colombia attack.

CB: Jose Gimenez – 6/10 – A decent performance outside of Lerma jumping over him to head home the winning goal in the first half.

CB: Mathias Olivera – 7/10 – One of Uruguay’s better players from the first half that was unfortunately taken off at the begging of the second 45.

DM: Manuel Ugarte – 7/10 – Was pretty much everywhere for Uruguay, even filling in at center-back during parts of the first half.

DM: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Calm and composed on the ball as always from the Real Madrid figure. However, it wasn’t enough to send La Celeste to the final.

RM: Facundo Pellistri – 6/10 – Couldn’t get into a rhythm down the right-hand side and was hooked for Olivera.

AM: Nicolas de la Cruz – 7/10 – Uruguay were already under considerable pressure in the first half and de la Cruz getting booked with a super late challenge didn’t help things. He rebounded with a much better performance in the second half, though.

AM: Rodrigo Bentancur – 6/10 – Displayed good movement with tidy passing under pressure before being forced off due to a lower leg injury.

LM: Maxi Araujo – 5/10 – Invisible for the most part. Just didn’t provide Uruguay with any presence on the left-wing.

ST: Darwin Nunez – 5/10 – The Liverpool forward was presented with a couple of golden opportunities at the top of the Colombia penalty area but couldn’t covert.

Substitutes

SUB: Guillermo Varela (35′ for Bentancur) – 5/10 – Didn’t help the cause by getting booked before being taken off in place of Suarez.

SUB: Giorgian de Arrascaeta (46′ for Olivera) – 6/10 – Helped speed the tempo up in the midfield at times after coming on.

SUB: Cristian Olivera (46′ for Pellistri) – 6/10 – Set up what would’ve been the equalizing goal had Suarez’s converted inside the penalty area.

SUB: Luis Suarez (67′ for Varela) – 6/10 – Unlucky to not level the score as his right-footed shot smacked the post.

SUB: Agustin Canobbio (90′ for de la Cruz) – N/A

Manager

Marcelo Bielsa – 6/10 – The former Leeds United boss came out in full force with a very attacking lineup that many questioned before kick-off — which isn’t a huge surprise exactly except for the fact that a trip to the final was on the line. His decision to gamble and change things up wasn’t what was needed for a match of this nature, but Uruguay proved they can once again hang with the best as the 2026 World Cup approaches.

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