The experience of Colombia v The constant progress of Qatar
With Carlos Queiroz at the helm, Colombia come to this match with great ambitions for the Copa America. The frustration of recent competitions has given way to hopes for the Colombians in the continental showcase. The team is among the favourites in the tournament with world class talents including the likes of James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, and Juan Cuadrado just to name a few. They will be relying on their experience and abilities to lead Colombia to the highest level of the South American football. Nothing short of the second semi-finals for the second consecutive in the very least will be expected of this side.
Since the award of the World Cup, the Qatar national team has continued to progress, from 113th place in the Fifa rankings to the 55th today, ahead of Egypt and Côte d'Ivoire. They have been invited for the first time to participate in the Copa America and they have not gone to Brazil for tourism from the look of things. They will be using this competition to garner a little more experience ahead 2022 and its where else to do that. After their performance against Paraguay, it may well be possible for this group to dream of getting to the quarter final since they are quite capable of beating the other two teams in their group.
Duvan Zapata v Ali Almoez
Duvan Zapata just had the best season of his career at 28 years old! He was the second best goalscorer in Serie A behind Fabio Quagliarella as the former Napoli man finished with 23 goals in 37 league games. The Colombian striker has managed to make his mark and he will be expected to line up alongside Radamel Falcao. Zapata opened his goal account against Argentina and he remains the biggest goal threat on the Colombian side.
Qatari striker Almoez Ali scored nine goals in seven games in the Asian Nations Cup and was voted best player of the tournament. He is a real sensation with the Qatari selection, as they have collected victories due to his goal scoring prowess. The young player, only 22, made one of the most memorable performances of the last Asian tournament. For his debut in Copa America, Almoez scored a goal that allowed his team to return to the match and snatch the draw against Paraguay and he will be key here again.
Colombia are now on a three-game winning streak and this has given them some momentum as they chase glory in Brazil. They know that a win here will put them through to the next round, and they are seen as serious contenders for the trophy by the bookies. So far it has been a great 12 months for Colombia, who were unlucky to go out of the 2018 World Cup on penalties to England. However, the appetite for success in Colombia remains high. You can be sure they will be demanding a longer stint at this summer’s tournament.
Qatar kicked off 2019 by winning the Asian Cup, and they have adjusted well to the Copa America. They fought back from 2-0 down against Paraguay to draw in their opening match. The question that begs is: can the Qataris take anything from their remaining clashes with Colombia and Argentina? They will need to pull off a result if they are to sneak into the last eight of this competition.