SANTA FE, July 10, 2011 (AFP) - Colombia marched into the quarter-finals of the Copa America on Sunday after a 2-0 win over Bolivia wrapped up top spot in Group A.
With the best two third-placed finishers at the event also reaching the quarters Colombia's win spelt joy for Chile, Peru and Venezuela as they all have four points and cannot now be caught by the side which will take third spot in Group A.
|AFP - Falcao (C) jumps to head the ball as Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Erwin Arias (L) watches during the game|
That team will be either hosts Argentina or Costa Rica, who meet Monday.
One of that pair will take runners-up spot and the side left in third cannot equal the tally of Chile, Peru or Venezuela, allowing that trio to join Colombia in the next phase.
Porto hitman Radamel Falcao put the contest to bed in the first half hour with a crisp opener on 14 minutes and a penalty after 26 minutes as the Colombians hit the ground running.
Colombian coach Hernan Dario Gomez said his side had stuck to their game plan and been rewarded.
"We put them under early pressure, went out for the early goal, and we got it," Gomez noted with satisfaction.
Colombia's Wigan star Hugo Rodallega was also pleased.
"We are extremely satisfied with how the group phase has gone. We came to Argentina with a goal (to qualify from the group) and we have done just that."
The cafeteros had already seen off Costa Rica and had the better of a draw with hosts Argentina.
They completed an impressive first phase showing against a Bolivian side who started well enough in holding the Argentinians before flunking their Costa Rican test.
After Falcao's rip-roaring opening, Adrian Ramos, Freddy Guarin and Dayro Moreno all went close for the Colombians as they threatened to overwhelm their rivals before they took their foot off the accelerator after the break.
After Falcao sent his spotkick hard and low past Bolivian keeper Carlos Arias, who had saved a penalty in the previous game gainst the Costa Ricans, the Colombians celebrated by holding aloft a shirt belonging to David Ospina, their usual first choice keeper.
Ospina, who plays for French side Nice, missed the event after fracturing his nose in a training ground collision with Wigan’s Rodallega, forcing the Colombians to promote Nelson Ramos of Millonarios.