Costa Rica narrowly missed out on a chance to advance from a competitive group A. Los Ticos were unable to capitalize on the USA’s opening night loss to Colombia, drawing Paraguay in their first match 0-0. Despite the disappointing result, Los Ticos still had the chance to knock the hosts out of the tournament in their next match. USA played badly against Colombia, and while Costa Rica hadn’t looked great themselves they got off to a cracking start in their match against the Americans.
However they gave away an unnecessary penalty kick that Clint Dempsey converted, and it was all downhill from there. While Costa Rica continued to put the US under pressure, they could not make anything happen in the final third. On the other hand, everything the US touched turned to gold. Clint Dempsey ran himself out of space, but Jermaine Jones picked up the pieces and sent a beautiful shot curling around the keeper and into the far corner of the net. Five minutes later, Dempsey passes the ball right at a Costa Rican defender, who can’t control it and gives it right back. He then finds Bobby Wood in the box who turns his man well and slots it away far post. The game ended a 4-0 drubbing for Costa Rica.
Bryan Ruiz and Los Ticos have to be disappointed with the way their Copa America ended
Costa Rica picked themselves up and impressively defeated Colombia in their final match 3-2, denying favorites Colombia the top spot in the group. While many of Colombia’s important players were resting for the knockout round, the win showed that Costa Rica had the quality to compete with Paraguay and the USA all along, but because they couldn’t execute in their first two games they are now out of the tournament.
An outside favorite to win the tournament, Uruguay shocked everyone by losing their first two games and making an early exit from the Copa America.
With Uruguay missing their star striker, the injured Luis Suarez, many thought Mexico would top group C, which they did. However, no one saw Uruguay losing its second match to Venezuela of all teams. While Venezuela have proved with their match against Mexico that they are no slouches, Uruguay still had the talent to beat them.
Uruguay fought hard but could not quite beat the Mexicans in their first match, but played well enough that they looked set to take on the rest of the group. Uruguay started well against Venezuela, pinning them back in their own half and creating a few good chances, when Venezuela scored in stunning fashion against the run of play.
Luis Suarez was stuck on the bench and frustrated, watching his team crash and burn
Alejandro Guerra picked the ball up down the right flank just past midfield, and picked his head up to see Fernando Muslera off his line for Uruguay. He attempted to chip Muslera from a good 40 yards out, ala Carli Lloyd, and Muslera scrambled back and managed to save it onto the crossbar. However Salomon Rondon beat Muslera to the rebound and just like that Venezuela took the lead.
Uruguay had many chances to even the game up, including a gimme for a striker of Cavani’s quality, but could not even pull even with Venezuela. Uruguay have to be disappointed with their lackluster finish. They should have been a team that could do it without Suarez, but they needed their star man more than ever in this tournament. They lacked his creativity and most of all his finishing, and they could not score enough in their first two matches to make a 3-0 win over Jamaica meaningful.
When your coach has been sacked before he gets off the plane back home, you know you had a bad tournament.
Dunga was unable to recapture that Brazilian magic of yesteryear on his return to the site of his World Cup win. Brazil looked flat and lacked creativity in their opening match, a 0-0 draw with group co-favorites Ecuador. While there was genuine concern after the match for Brazil, all seemed better after they hammered Haiti 7-1 in their next match.
Despite reversing the scoreline of their infamous 2014 World Cup loss to Germany, it was the Brazil that drew Ecuador that showed up to their final match against Peru, not the electric side that shrugged Haiti off with ease. Brazil couldn’t score against eventual group winners Peru, but their fate was sealed when the Hand of God (or Raul Ruidiaz’s right forearm) dragged the ball past Alisson and over the line to make it 1-0 Peru. The match, Brazil’s Copa America and Dunga’s second tenure as Brazil manager ended that way.
Cheating? Gamesmanship? Divine Intervention? No matter what way you see it, it knocked Brazil out cold
No one really expected Brazil to win the Copa America, but even without Neymar and Thiago Silva this was an embarrassing tournament for the historic side. They looked poor, as they have since they left the World Cup, and it is disappointing to see such a historically dominant side flounder like this.