Uruguay vs Colombia: A Semi-final showdown in Charlotte

With a ticket to the final on the line, Uruguay and Colombia prepare for an intense showdown at the Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina. Join the Roadrunner as we trace back the journeys of both teams through the group stages and quarter-finals and analyze just what makes each team special as we prepare for their highly anticipated clash.
Carlos.dkfi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow, July 10, 2024, Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay will take on Nestor Lorenzo’s Colombia in what promises to be a spectacular Copa América semi-final.

 The game, which will be played at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, will begin at 5:00 PM California time and will be broadcast on Fox Sports and TUDN. 

The clash between the South American teams has created a lot of excitement for fans and pundits alike as both teams have so far been playing the best soccer in the tournament.

Colombia’s journey to the semi-final highlights just how far the team led by coach Nestor Lorenzo has come.

 After failing to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the Colombian national team went through a rebuilding phase, which is showing its results in a historic Copa América run. 

Colombia’s group stage was difficult, being placed in a very competitive group that included five-time world champions Brazil, continental rivals Paraguay, and dark horse Costa Rica. 

The fact that they qualified in first place in this very competitive group highlights the team’s capability to be top-level, even in the face of “superior” squads such as Brazil.

Uruguay, on the other hand, had a much easier group. 

Juanchocarbonero, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Consisting of Panama, Bolivia, and the United States, Group C was much easier to navigate through than Colombia’s Group D.

 As expected, though, Uruguay lived up to expectations. They didn’t fall into the comfort of being the top dog of the group and were very determined to play their best soccer, which was reflected in the perfect group stage record attained by the “Celeste.” With 3 wins and 9 goals scored, Uruguay easily moved on to the knockout stage with the status of being the team to beat.

If Colombia hadn’t finished first in their group, this meeting between the two nations would’ve occurred in the quarter-finals, but as a result of both teams topping their respective groups, the meeting was held off until the semis. 

Instead of playing each other in the quarters, Colombia played Panama, while Uruguay took on the mighty Brazil.

Picture taken from inside the Allegiant Stadium moments before the Brazil vs Uruguay match, July 6, 2024 (Charles Cleiton )

 Uruguay’s game against Brazil was an intense battle that had everything from heroic saves, many fouls, red cards, and even penalties. To read more about the “Celeste’s” heroic qualification against Brazil, click here

Colombia had a much easier route to reach the semi-final, playing Panama, whom they didn’t acknowledge at all as they secured a very dominant 5-0 victory over the Central American nation.

This all sets the stage for what is set to happen tomorrow in Charlotte. 

The match between Uruguay and Colombia is expected to be a highly physical match between two teams that love to attack and defend with all they’ve got. 

While Uruguay is slightly favored due to an overall higher squad quality, Colombia’s form and momentum make the game a fully balanced matchup.

 Uruguay will go in without star defender Ronald Araujo, who is injured, and Nahitan Nandez, who got a red card against Brazil.

Werner100359, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

 In the Colombian camp, the only player expected to miss the match is Jhon Lucumi, but there is still a possibility he’ll be fit for the game.

Werner100359, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

As a result of this, it’s expected that Nestor Lorenzo will go in with a 4-3-3 formation, with Camilo Vargas in goal and Carlos Cuesta and Davinson Sánchez as center backs. 

The defensive flanks for the Colombian team will likely be made up of Daniel Muñoz and Johan Mojica. 

The three in midfield will probably be Jefferson Lerma, Richard Rios, and Jhon Arias, with the three on top being Luis Díaz, Jhon Córdoba, and James Rodríguez. 

São Paulo – Colômbia vence a Nigéria por 2×0 na Arena Corinthians (Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil) (Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil)

On the other side of the field, the mighty “Celeste” will likely run a 4-2-3-1 with Darwin Núñez as the sole striker and Facundo Pellistri, Nicolás de La Cruz, and Maximilian Araújo behind him.

 In goal for the Uruguayan national team will be Sergio Rochet, while the defense will likely be made up of Guillermo Varela, Matías Viña, Mathías Olivera, and José María Giménez.

Estadio: Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay (JIKATU)

Both squads are very interesting and boast very talented players who are capable of making a significant impact on the match.

 Players to keep an eye out for on Uruguay’s side are Darwin Núñez and Federico Valverde. 

Núñez, who is Liverpool’s starting striker, is a very talented lad and consistently puts in top-level performances for his club in England, but it’s when he’s wearing his country’s jersey that he truly transforms and becomes a world-class talent. 

Darwin Nunez (FC Liverpool, 27) nach dem Tor zum 0:5 Endstand; Tor, goal, Torerfolg, Aktion; Jubel, celebration (Steffen Prößdorf)

I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him put one or two into the back of Camilo Vargas’ goal. 

Valverde, on the other hand, is somewhat of a generational talent. 

The Real Madrid superstar is a current Champions League winner and has everything to become one of the greatest midfielders the game has ever seen.

Real Madrid, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, he’s that good.

On the Colombian side of things, some players to keep an eye out for are the iconic James Rodríguez and Richard Rios. 

Although the Colombia squad is full of talented players such as Luis Díaz, Jhon Arias, and Daniel Muñoz, it’s impossible to talk about Colombia without talking about James Rodríguez. 

The Colombian superstar, who currently plays for the Brazilian team São Paulo, has been one of the tournament’s top players. 

If there’s anyone capable of carrying the weight of a nation on his back, it’s James.

jmmuguerza, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 He’s just him like that. 

Beyond the world-renowned veteran, the Colombian team also has a kid who most people didn’t know about before this year’s Copa América, and that’s Richard Rios. 

The 24-year-old midfielder who plays for the Brazilian side Palmeiras has been exceptional at this year’s Copa América and will without a doubt be a target for bigger clubs. 

Sepguilherme, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him making a move to Europe soon.

With all this said, tomorrow’s game promises to be amazing. 

With a spot in the final on the line, the stakes have never been higher. 

The winner of tomorrow’s match will secure a spot in the final, which will be played on July 14.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
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