Football: Copa America 2015 quarter-final previews

Argentina's Lionel Messi against Jamaica in the 2015 Copa America group stage.
Argentina's Lionel Messi against Jamaica in the 2015 Copa America group stage. PHOTO: AFP

EIGHT countries remain in contention to win this year's Copa America after two weeks of competition in Chile. Here is a look at the four quarter-finals which will take place from Thursday to Sunday.

Chile v Uruguay (Thursday, June 25)

Hosts Chile, who romped to a 5-0 win over Bolivia in their final group game, are on song as they seek to overcome the defending champion tomorrow.

With Luis Suarez still serving his suspension after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup last year, all eyes will now be on Chile's Alexis Sanchez, who scored 25 goals in his debut season for Arsenal.

Bolivia v Peru (Friday, June 26)

This is a battle between two of South America's lesser lights and the winner of this tie will advance to meet either Chile or Uruguay as the overwhelming underdogs in the semi-final. But Bolivia, who finished second in Group A, and Peru, the runners-up of Group C, have already exceeded expectations in the Copa America.

Another resilient display from Bolivia is on the cards and Peru's Christian Cueva will be key to unpicking the lock in their stubborn defence.

Argentina v Colombia (Saturday, June 27)

Though flush with attacking talent, both teams have yet to dazzle so far. After three games each in the group stage, Argentina have netted only four goals while Colombia have just one.

Still, the likes of Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Colombia attacker James Rodriguez can run riot if given time and space, and whoever makes the biggest impact on Saturday morning (Singapore time) will arguably mean the difference between a semi-final berth and elimination for their teams.

Brazil v Paraguay (Sunday, June 28)

Without their suspended mercurial forward Neymar, Brazil will have to find other ideas to break down a stubborn Paraguay on Sunday, who are one of only three teams unbeaten in the competition alongside Argentina and Chile.

Runners-up in the last edition in Argentina four years ago, Paraguay are well-organised defensively, threatening on the counter. They knocked Brazil out at the same stage in 2011 and will be hoping history repeats itself.

ocharles@sph.com.sg