Uruguay Defeats Hosts United States, Panama Makes History in the Copa América

The Panamanian team became the first Central American nation to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 11:39, 2 Jul 2024

Uruguay, by winning 1-0 and eliminating hosts United States, and Panama, with a 3-1 victory over Bolivia, qualified on Monday for the quarter-finals of the Copa América in football.

The Uruguayan team closed Group C with a perfect record of three wins and the corresponding nine points, against six for Panama, three for the United States, and none for Bolivia, who suffered their 15th consecutive defeat in the competition since 2015.

At Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL champions Kansas City Chiefs, Uruguay, after a 3-1 victory over Panama and a 5-0 win against Bolivia, faced their toughest match in the group against a United States team that needed a win to control their fate.

Nández nearly opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, with Tim Ream making a crucial clearance for the United States, and Darwin Núñez missed another good chance in the 38th minute. The first half was marked by injuries to Uruguay’s Maximiliano Araújo (who left in the 27th minute) and the United States’ Balogun (41st minute).

The second half began with a shot from McKennie over the bar in the 47th minute, but it was Uruguay who scored in the 66th minute through Mathías Olivera, who, just onside, capitalized on a rebound from a shot initially saved by Matt Turner.

In the final stages, the United States tried to turn the game around, needing a mandatory victory due to Panama's advantage in the other game, but attempts by Pulisic (74th minute) and Wright (87th minute) did not trouble Sergio Rochet.

At the Inter&Co Stadium in Orlando, Florida, Panama, needing a better result than the United States, started well and took the lead in the 22nd minute through José Fajardo, who scored with a right-footed shot after a header from Christian Martínez.

The Bolivians responded with two actions from Terceros at the end of the first half, but the beginning of the second half saw Panama determined to score a second goal. However, Martínez in the 50th minute, Fajardo in the 63rd minute, and Lenis in the 67th minute did not succeed in finding the net.

And, against the run of play, it was Bolivia who equalized through Bruno Miranda, who came on in the 63rd minute and scored in the 69th, assisted by Ramiro Vaca. Bolivia even threatened a second goal in the 78th minute after a rash decision by goalkeeper Mosquera.

However, Panama was more effective and regained the lead in the 79th minute, also through a substitute, Eduardo Guerrero, who came on in the 74th minute and scored with a header in the box after a cross from the left by Eric Davis.

This goal calmed the Panamanians, who went on to score a third goal in stoppage time, in the 90+1 minute, through yet another substitute: César Yanis, who came on in the 90th minute to replace Jovani Welch, a player from Académico de Viseu, scored in the 90+1 minute. Thus, Panama became the first Central American team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

Uruguay and Panama now await the outcome of Group D, which concludes today, to learn their opponents in the quarter-finals. Colombia has already qualified, and Brazil is almost certain to do so.

This remarkable achievement by Panama marks a significant milestone in their footballing history. The team's journey through the tournament has been characterized by resilience, tactical acumen, and the ability to seize crucial moments. José Fajardo's opening goal set the tone for Panama's determined performance, and despite Bolivia's brief resurgence, Panama's substitutions proved decisive. Eduardo Guerrero's and César Yanis's goals highlighted the depth and adaptability of the squad.

Uruguay's dominant performance in Group C, capped by their win over the United States, showcased their strength and cohesion. Mathías Olivera's goal epitomized their clinical edge, while their defensive solidity ensured they remained untroubled in the face of the United States' late efforts. Uruguay's perfect group stage record sets them up as one of the formidable contenders in the quarter-finals.

As both teams prepare for the next round, the anticipation and excitement among their fans continue to build. Uruguay and Panama's progress in the Copa América exemplifies the spirit of competition and the pursuit of excellence on the continental stage. With the knockout stages approaching, the stakes are higher, and the potential for further historic achievements looms large for both nations.

Updated: 11:39, 2 Jul 2024