The Copa América group stage went out with a bang after a wild 12 goal Wednesday evening brought the quarter-final fixtures of the South American competition into focus.
All five of our Rojiblancos taking part in the tournament made it safely through to the knockout phase with their respective national teams.
The highlight of the upcoming quarter-final round is a mouthwatering match-up between disgruntled Atleti forward Sergio Agüero and his long-time strike partner Diego Forlan on Saturday, when hosts Argentina square off against Uruguay.
Luis Perea (Colombia)
The Rojiblanco centre-back’s Colombia side clinched Group A with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia on Sunday.
Perea ended the group stage having played every minute of the tournament so far, tallying three consecutive clean sheets in matches against Costa Rica, Argentina and Bolivia.
Los Cafeteros were the only squad that did not concede a single goal in the primary phase of the tourney.
Colombia will take on Peru on Saturday in the first clash of the quarter-finals, and if triumphant, will meet Kun’s Argentina or Forlán’s Uruguay in the semi-finals.
Sergio Agüero (Argentina)
The former Rojiblanco idol started for the first time in the competition, and fired the Albiceleste into the quarters by bagging a brace in Argentina’s 3-0 thumping of lowly Costa Rica.
The 23-year-old has netted three of his national team’s four goals so far, and had scored three straight before Di María capped off a night Kun afterwards described as his “best with Argentina.”
The three points from the win against los Ticos sealed second place of Group A for Argentina behind group winners Colombia, and helped the host nation avoid a shocking early elimination and a national state of emergency.
A number of Atleti supporters will be rooting against the Albiceleste on Saturday in their match versus Uruguay.
Not only would an early Argentina exit offer us a chance to see Kun cry, but it could provide us with swifter closure with regard to his sale.
Diego Forlán and Diego Godín (Uruguay)
Forlán’s appearance in Uruguay’s narrow 1-0 defeat of Mexico was his 79th with the Celeste shirt, equaling the Uruguayan record for most international caps by a player.
The record-tying evening did nothing to boost the striker’s confidence ahead of our upcoming campaign however.
‘La Rubia’ has taken more shots (14) than any other player in the competition so far, Opta Sports reports, but has failed to find the back of the net with each strike.
In Tuesday’s game against the Mexicans, Cachavacha hit the post in the first half and blew two wide open chances in the second.
Uruguay’s lone goal came from a well-executed free kick cross by Forlán though, and the 32-year-old was actively involved in the Celeste’s attack throughout the encounter, until he was subbed off in the final minute.
Diego Godín has yet to feature in the competition, initially because of a muscle injury and later because he lacked match fitness after suffering from a fever and a lingering sore throat.
It’s unclear if Godín will see action in the match against Argentina on Saturday.
Uruguay finished in second below Group C winners Chile.
Brazil head coach Mano Menezes finally handed Elias some playing time, as the Atleti midfielder replaced Ganso in the 77th minute of the Seleção’s 4-2 win over Ecuador.
The 26-year-old spent 13 mostly uneventful minutes on the pitch, although he would have been credited with an assist in injury time had Robinho’s goal not been wrongly disallowed for offsides.
Brazil, winners of Group B, will face Paraguay on Sunday, but we have likely seen the last of our man Elias until he returns to Madrid.