James Rodriguez

The second quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario will be between Colombia and Peru, taking place in MetLife Stadium.

Colombia are the clear favorites, easing through the group stage, enough to afford a loss on the final day against Costa Rica. But this is a side filled to the brim with quality, especially up front, with James Rodriguez being at the heart of everything, scoring twice in this tournament so far. Ivan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca complete a front trio that might be the best in the tournament apart from Argentina, and will have to find room to manuever against a tight Peruvian defense.

Peru, and everyone else, know they’re not supposed to be here. They cheated to make the quarter final, winning 1-0 against Brazil thanks to a Raul Ruidiaz handball that somehow no one picked up on. But they’re here, and in the last two tournaments, they also made the semifinal. Colombia haven’t been to the final four in a Copa America since 2004, and haven’t won the tournament since hosting it in 2001. Peru, two-time champions, haven’t been to the final since 1975.

While physically and technically Colombia have a pretty big advantage, staying mentally strong against some expected Peru antics could be the key for Colombia, which will be much easier with an early goal. Peru scored just four goals (one against Haiti) in the group stage, and coming back from behind could prove to be very difficult for them against a pretty good defense.

Our physical aspect is fundamental, but a lot of games are usually won by the mental aspect. I think the team that prepares better mentally for this game will make the difference. In today’s age, everything is a lot more equal and the games are won by little things. While we will try to get the best out of ourselves physically, games are hotly contested and you have to work more on the mental aspect.

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