My intent was to post daily wrap-ups for this tournament. Since that hasn’t been possible, this is what happened in the group stages.
3 June: USA 0 – 2 Colombia
Man of the Match: Cristian Zapata (Colombia)
The tournament opened with James facing hosts USA. It wasn’t a good result for USA. Colombia scored both of their goals in the first half. The first goal from Zapata on a wonderful header. The delivery came from Edwin Cardona’s corner kick. The second goal was our beloved Juggy James on a penalty. The call was a hand-ball in the box on DeAndre Yedlin. USA did manage to keep Colombia quiet in the second half, however. An expected result for them against the number 3 team in the world.
4 June: Costa Rica 0 – 0 Paraguay
Man of the Match: Gustavo Gomez (Paraguay)
Of the two teams, I thought Paraguay looked better. For all the glory of Keylor Navas who, as a reminder, had surgery on his achilles and isn’t participating in Copa America, Costa Rica struggle a lot elsewhere. Bryan Ruiz had a couple of good chances but the forward couldn’t drum up anything spectacular. Costa Rica also lost Kendall Watson to a straight red card in stoppage time. It was a disappointing result for Costa Rica.
7 June: USA 4 – 0 Costa Rica
Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones (USA)
In USA’s first Copa America win since 1995, they seemed to be playing a Costa Rica team that forgot to show up. Clint Dempsey converted a penalty in the 9th minute to give USA an early lead. Jermaine Jones, who was absolutely excellent, placed a gorgeous shot into the corner in the 37th minute. Bobby Wood scored a real strikers’ goal in the 42nd minute, starting with his back to goal before turning and firing inside the near post. Graham Zusi scored in the 87th minute after coming on as a substitute.
7 June: Colombia 2 – 1 Paraguay
Man of the Match: James Rodriguez (Colombia)
Colombia were the first team to secure their spot in the knockout rounds. Carlos Bacca scored off a Juggy James corner in the 12th minute. Then in the 30th minute James put in Colombia’s second. Paraguay had a number of chances, including just before the half when Ospina had to tip a free kick over the bar. In the 71st minute, Paraguay broke through with a long strike from Victor Ayala. Oscar Romero was sent off inside the last 10 minutes after receiving his second yellow card.
11 June: USA 1 – 0 Paraguay
Man of the Match: John Brooks (USA)
I had the opportunity to be at this match. It was the first time I’d seen the US play in quite a few years. Early on it was apparent that John Brooks was having a fabulous game. But it was also apparent that the ref was going to have a bit of a nightmare on his hands. Clint Dempsey had the game’s only goal in the 27th minute when Gyasi Zardes played the ball across the box. None of Paraguay’s defenders picked up the ball or Dempsey and he struck it home easily. DeAndre Yedlin was sent off in the 48th minute after receiving his second yellow within 2 minutes. And the ref injured himself in the 67th minute. With the win, the USA won their group!
11 June: Colombia 2 – 3 Costa Rica
Man of the Match: Celso Borges (Costa Rica)
Costa Rica may have been knocked out of the tournament but they made sure that Colombia didn’t win the group in very exciting fashion. They scored the fastest goal of the tournament in the 2nd minute in a match that saw James and Cuadrado start from the bench. Frank Fabra of Colombia made it level in the 6th minute. But in the 34th minute he was guilty of an own-goal that gave Costa Rica the lead. Los Ticos scored again in the 58th minute through Celso Borges. Colombia still had a little fight in them and Marlos Moreno pulled one back in the 73rd minute. It wasn’t enough to give Colombia the win, but it ensured their place in the next round.
4 June: Haiti 0 – 1 Peru
Man of the Match: Paulo Guerrero (Peru)
Peru looked the better team for most of the match. They spent a lot of quality time in Haiti’s defensive third. Peru’s goal was scored by 2011 and 2015 Golden Boot winner Paolo Guerrero in the 60th minute. Haiti came close in the 75th minute but Peru’s keeper made a couple of excellent saves to ensure Peru the win.
4 June: Brazil 0 – 0 Ecuador
Man of the Match: Esteban Dreer (Ecuador)
Ecuador and Brazil played to a draw much to the surprise of many. It was a tough match for Brazil, who should have lost. Ecuador had a goal wrongly disallowed in the 66th minute after Brazil goalkeeper Alisson mishandled the ball on the day he was honored here at the blog as a Daily Drool. Willian nearly scored for Brazil late, but at the final whistle it was a scoreless draw.
8 June: Brazil 7 – 1 Haiti
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
Brazil have been trying to regroup after the 7 – 1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup. Many hoped that this win against Haiti would be the re-emergence of the once great team. Phillipe Coutinho opened the scoring in the 14th minute, dribbling past his defender before unleashing his shot from outside the box. He added a second goal in the 29th minute sliding in a loose ball in the box. Renato Augosto made it 3 for Brazil in the 35th minute, sending a well-placed header into the top corner. The 4th was to Gabriel in the 51st minute, dribbling into the box and beating the keeper at the far post with a well-placed, left-footed strike. Brazil’s 5th was from Lucas Lima, who beat the keeper at his near post with an arching header. Haiti pulled one back in the 70th minute when James Marcelin tapped in a ball that Alisson spilled in front of goal. But Brazil weren’t done. Their 6th was Augosto again in the 86th minute before Coutinho got his hat trick in the 3rd minute of extra time. It was yet another of his stunning strikes from outside the box.
8 June: Ecuador 2 – 2 Peru
Man of the Match: Enner Valencia (Ecuador)
Christian Cueva scored in the fifth minute and Edison Flores in the 13th for Peru. Both goals were assisted by Paolo Guerrero. In the 39th minute Antonio Valencia chipped to Enner Valencia, who chested the ball down and slid it into the net for Ecuador. In the 48th minute, Jefferson Montero tapped the ball back to Miler Bolanos, who finished from close range. Achilier (Ecuador) was given a red card for his second yellow just before the final whistle, but the match ended a draw.
12 June: Ecuador 4 – 0 Haiti
Man of the Match: Enner Valencia (Ecuador)
Ecuador booked their place in the quarter finals with a decisive win against Haiti. Enner Valencia put them ahead in the 11th minute. Their second came in the 20th minute when Valencia beat his defender, drew out the keeper and played it to Walter Ayovi. Christian Noboa made it 3 goals in the 57th minute before Antonio Valencia scored in the 78th minute. Ecuador finished 2nd in Group B.
12 June: Brazil 0 – 1 Peru
Man of the Match: Pedro Gallese (Peru)
This match was a mess. Peru’s keeper, Pedro Gallese, was much deserved as Man of the Match. His night began by stopping a Filipe Luis shot in the 12th minute. Then in the 26th minute, he got his fingers on a ball heading for the left corner to keep Gabriel’s shot out of the net. In the 75th minute, Raul Ruidiaz guided the ball into the net past Alisson. Brazil’s players protested adamantly and after a lengthy delay for officials to confer, they allowed the goal to stand despite replays showing it clearly come off the player’s hand. Peru held on to knock Brazil out of the Copa America.
5 June: Jamaica 0 – 1 Venezuela
Man of the Match: Josef Martinez (Venezuela)
Venezuela struck in the 15th minute when Alejandro Guerra fed Josef Martínez, who finished low to give his country the lead. Jamaican midfielder Rodolph Austin earned a straight red in the 23rd minute when he caught Tomás Rincón with his studs while attempting to win a midfield challenge. Jamaican head coach Winfred Schafer was ejected at halftime, but after Wes Morgan came Jamaica seemed to grow in confidence. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and Venezuela won only their 6th ever Copa America match.
5 June: Mexico 3 – 1 Uruguay
Man of the Match: Rafa Marquez (Mexico)
A nightmare of a match for Uruguay started early when the sound person at University of Phoenix stadium played Chile’s national anthem instead of Uruguay’s. An own goal in the 4th minute by Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira put Mexico ahead 1-0. Uruguay played the entire second half with 10 men after Matias Vecino drew a second yellow card for kicking Mexico’s Jesus Manuel Corona in the knee just before halftime. Diego Godin scored a header off a set piece in the 74th minute to tie the game at 1-1, right after Andres Guardado was sent off for Mexico. Rafa Marquez fired in Mexico’s 2nd goal from close range in the 85th minute. Their 3rd goal came from Hector Herrera in stoppage time.
9 June: Uruguay 0 – 1 Venezuela
Man of the Match: Salomon Rondon (Venezuela)
Uruguay were without Luis Suarez, who was on the bench but never saw minutes. La Vinotinto has won back-to-back Copa America matches for the first time ever and defeated Uruguay for the first time since 2006. The goal came on a 59-yard attempt from midfielder Alejandro Guerra, a shot so on-target that it forced Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera to tip the ball off the cross bar. The rebound came to Rondon, who bounced the ball past Muslera in the 36th minute.
9 June: Mexico 2 – 0 Jamaica
Man of the Match: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (Mexico)
Guillerme Ochoa got the start in goal for Mexico in their win over Jamaica. I was very excited to see him again! He had several very big saves, proving that he’s still got it. Chicharito opened scoring for Mexico in the 18th minute. He somehow outjumped Wes Morgan to send a superb header into the net. Jamaica started to press but Ochoa was big. Then in the 81st minute Oribe Peralta scored Mexico’s second to give them the win.
13 June: Mexico 1 – 1 Venezuela
Man of the Match: Jesus Corona (Mexico)
Jose Manuel Velazquez opened the scoring for Venezuela in the 10th minute. It was an amazing scissor-kick. They did an excellent job of holding off Mexico for most of the match after that. But in the 80th minute, Jesus Corona beat 5 defenders on the dribble to ripped the ball into the net. The draw extends Mexico’s unbeaten streak to 22 games, setting a new record. It also meant Mexico finished top of Group C ahead of Venezuela only on goal difference.
13 June: Uruguay 3 – 0 Jamaica
Man of the Match: Abel Hernandez (Uruguay)
Uruguay got it’s win in their final match of the Copa America. Abel Hernandez scored first in the 21st minute. The first half ended with only the one goal. But in the 61st minute, Je-Vaughn Watson’s own goal put Uruguay 2-0 up. Mathias Corujo came in as a substitute in the second half and scored Uruguay’s 3rd goal in the 88th minute. The win ended a 5 game winless streak for Uruguay but they’re still out of the Copa, with Luis Suarez never getting minutes.
6 June: Panama – Bolivia
Man of the Match: Blas Perez (Panama)
In Panama’s first-ever Copa America match Blas Perez scored his opening goal in the 11th minute off a pass from Alberto Quintero. They kept that lead into the second half, but Bolivia tied the game in the 54th minute when Juan Carlos Arce drove in a deflected clearance. Then, in the 87th minute, Perez received a cross from Abdiel Arroyo and slotted home the game-winner. With the victory, Panama becomes just the fourth team in Copa America history to win its debut at the tournament and first since Paraguay in 1921.
6 June: Argentina – Chile
Man of the Match: Angel Di Maria (Argentina)
Argentina kicked off their Copa without Messi. The first half ended scoreless but Angel Di Maria scored in the 51st minute off a pass from Ever Banega. Then, in the 56th minute, Banega scored a goal of his own to give Argentina a 2-0 lead. Di Maria was subbed off in the 80th minute and displayed a shirt that read “Grandma I am going to miss you very much,” in Spanish (she passed the day before). Chile, last year’s Copa America champion on their home soil, cut the lead in half on Jose Pedro Fuenzalida’s goal just before the final whistle, but ran out of time. After the match, Di Maria was in tears explaining his relationship with his grandmother to an interviewer. It was heartbreaking.
10 June: Chile 2 – 1 Bolivia
Man of the Match: Arturo Vidal (Chile)
Bolivia managed to hold the reigning Copa America champions off for the first half. But Arturo Vidal struck first for Chile just 30 seconds after the start of the second half. Bolivia’s Jhasmani Campos answered it in the 61st minute. After the ref called for a minimum of 8 minutes of stoppage time, Vidal put the second Chile goal in when a penalty was called.
10 June: Argentina 5 – 1 Panama
Man of the Match: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Messi proved his greatness in his dominant return to action for his country. He came off the bench to score a hattrick in the second half. Nicolas Otamendi scored early for Argentina in the 7th minute. Messi’s goals came in the 68th, 78th (a really great free kick), and 87th minutes. Sergio Aguero rounded out Argentina’s match in the 90th minute with a goal of his own.
14 June: Chile 4 – 2 Panama
Man of the Match: Eduardo Vargas (Chile)
Panama took an early lead, with a goal from Miguel Camargo in the 5th minute. But Chile scored three unanswered goals on their way to a win. Eduardo Vargas scored his first goal in the 15th minute. Then he scored a second to give Chile the 2-1 lead just before the end of the first half. Alexis Sanchez scored in the 50th minute. Abdel Arroyo scored in the 75th minute to keep Panama’s hopes alive. But another strike from Sanchez secured Chile’s win in the 89th minute.
14 June: Argentina 3 – 0 Bolivia
Man of the Match: Ezequiel Lavezzi (Argentina)
Argentina cruised to a 3-0 win over already-eliminated Bolivia in the last match of the Copa America group stages. Erik Lamela scored for Argentina in the 13th minute and Ezequiel Lavezzi added another in the 15th minute to set the tone in a dominant first half. Victor Cuesta knocked home in the 32nd minute on an assist from Lavezzi. The second half was scoreless but saw the insertion of Messi as a substitution. Argentina had already qualified for the next round.