Peru upset the Copa America Centenario applecart by eliminating Brazil in the group stages, and they will now want to show it was not just a one-off result by topping one of the tournament favourites – Colombia – in the quarterfinals in New Jersey on Friday.
In a group that had Brazil, Ecuador and Haiti, Peru picked up the necessary results to not just qualify for the quarterfinals, but also move into the knockouts as group winners, albeit after a controversial final victory over Brazil. Since they were expected to finish third in the group, that is a commendable achievement, but they will not want to just rest on their laurels, with Colombia up next.
"We are strong, and united," midfielder Renato Tapia was quoted as saying by Goal.com "The win [over Brazil] has helped us, but we must now turn the page.
"To win is always nice, and it motivates you to go phase by phase, but now we must fully focus on Colombia. They are a strong team. We've played them in the past and we must be wary of what they are capable of."
Colombia sealed their place in the last eight after winning their first two matches, but their decision to rest much of their first choice players for the final group game backfired a little as Costa Rica beat Jose Pekerman's men 3-2. That meant a second place finish behind the USA and a quarterfinal against Peru.
"Our physical aspect is fundamental, but a lot of games are usually won by the mental aspect," Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez told reporters. "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."
While Peru do not have an out and out superstar in their ranks, Colombia will, again, look to their talisman James Rodriguez to deliver on the big stage, and if he does, Colombia will move onto the semifinals.
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