Brazil held by Colombia, to face Uruguay quarter-final

Davinson Sanchez of Colombia kicks the ball against Rodrygo of Brazil during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 Group D match between Brazil and Colombia at Levi’s Stadium on 2 July, 2024 in Santa Clara, CaliforniaAFP

Colombia came from behind to grab a 1-1 draw with Brazil on Tuesday, ensuring their qualification to the Copa America quarter-finals as group winners.

An equalizer from Daniel Munoz in first half stoppage time was enough to earn Colombia a share of the spoils after Raphinha had fired Brazil into the lead with a sublime 12th-minute free-kick at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The result means Colombia advance to the knockout rounds as winners of Group D, where they will face Group C runners-up Panama in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday.

But Tuesday’s draw means Brazil will face a titanic showdown in Las Vegas on Saturday against arch-rivals Uruguay, winners of Group D with a perfect record.

Brazil goalscorer Raphinha insisted the five-time world champions would be unfazed at the prospect of playing Uruguay.

“Our team is evolving with each game, with each training session and we think we’re on the right track,” Raphinha said.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t the result we wanted, and it wasn’t the position that we wanted to qualify for the quarter-finals in.

“But whoever wants to be champion shouldn’t be worrying about who they play in the next round; we have to be prepared for anyone.

“If we want to win this competition we have to be prepared to play our best.”

Vinicius Jr out

Brazil will head into the quarter-finals without Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr, who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament for a reckless early foul on James Rodriguez on Tuesday.

Colombia playmaker Rodriguez had alarm bells ringing amongst Brazil fans from the ensuing free-kick, just clipping the top of the bar with goalkeeper Alisson beaten.

Costa Rica’s defender #15 Francisco Calvo and Costa Rica’s defender #03 Jeyland Mitchell celebrate after defeating Paraguay 2-1 at the end of the Conmebol 2024 Copa America tournament group D football match between Costa Rica and Paraguay at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas on 2 July, 2024

But although Colombia made the smoother start it was Brazil who took the lead after 12 minutes, with Raphinha curling a sensational free-kick into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Colombia however continued to threaten, Rodriguez volleying over the bar on the turn after 16 minutes.

Rodriguez thought he had set up Colombia’s equalizer three minutes later, supplying a pinpoint cross from a free-kick on the right for Davinson Sanchez to home.

The goal was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Tempers threatened to boil over midway through the first half, and Venezuelan referee Jesus Valenzuela issued three yellow cards in quick succession to Colombia’s Deiver Machado and Jefferson Lerma along with Brazil’s Joao Gomes.

Colombia looked the more assured side throughout the first half and in stoppage time their slick play got its reward, with Crystal Palace wing back Munoz blasting home after being released by a superb pass from veteran forward Jhon Cordoba.

Colombia -- who have now gone 26 international games unbeaten since a defeat to Argentina in early 2022 -- looked comfortable through the second half and should have wrapped up victory in the final minutes only for substitute Rafael Borre to shoot over from eight yards with the goal gaping.

In Tuesday’s other Group D game Costa Rica defeated Paraguay 2-1 in Austin to finish in third place.