PASADENA, United States: Colombia became the first side to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday, while the United States thumped Costa Rica 4-0 to get their campaign back on track.
Goals from AC Milan´s Carlos Bacca and Real Madrid star James Rodriguez secured a 2-1 win for Colombia over Paraguay in front of a vocal crowd at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California.
Victor Ayala gave Paraguay hope after pulling a goal back on 71 minutes but Colombia held on for three points which means they are assured of a top two finish in Group A and a place in the last eight.
Colombia need only to draw against Costa Rica on Saturday to assure themselves of first place, leaving them a potentially easier quarter-final against the runner-up from Group B, which contains Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti and Peru.
In Tuesday´s other game, US striker Clint Dempsey scored his 50th international goal as the host nation bounced back from their 2-0 loss to Colombia on Friday with a convincing rout of Costa Rica.
Dempsey opened the scoring from the penalty spot after nine minutes before Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood struck just before half-time to effectively settle the contest.
Substitute Graham Zusi added a fourth goal three minutes from time, which could prove crucial if goal difference comes into play.
The win came as a welcome relief for US coach Jurgen Klinsmann, whose tenure has faced mounting criticism over the past 18 months after a series of disappointing performances in competitive matches.
On Wednesday, Peru could join Colombia in the quarter-finals if they manage to defeat Ecuador in Glendale, Arizona in Group B.
In Wednesday´s other game, five-time world champions Brazil face an intriguing matchup against Caribbean minnows Haiti in Orlando, Florida.
Courtesy : TheNews