Colombia will look to consolidate top spot when they take on Qatar in the second round of Copa America’s Group B at the Estadio do Morumbi.
Los Cafeteros threw a spanner into Lionel Messi and Argentina’s dreams when they pulled off a 2-0 win in the first group game. Goals by Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata ensured a 2-0 win and put Carlos Queiroz’s side in command of Group B.
Now, a win over Qatar will all but ensure qualification into the knockouts as Colombia try to win the Copa America for only the second time in their history.
Meanwhile, Qatar is playing in this tournament for the first time, having received an invitation as the AFC Asian Cup champions. The Maroons conceded twice in the first hour against Paraguay before rallying back to share the spoils.
Felix Sanchez Bas’ side is looking to put on a good show as they prepare to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. While topping the group is unlikely, depending on results in this game and the next, Qatar could qualify as one of the two best third-placed teams at the minimum.
After one round of fixtures, they are leading the third-placed teams’ table and will look to better their position in the remaining two games.
In terms of team news, Colombia has suffered a significant blow with their star forward Luis Muriel ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury. This could see previous match scorer Martinez come into the side while Zapata will continue to apply pressure on Radamel Falcao for a starting berth.
For Qatar, Sanchez Bas will not tinker with his side after their spirited display against Paraguay. The same team is expected to be picked for this match.
Colombia vs Qatar Prediction
There is no head-to-head history between the teams as this will be the first meeting. Both the sides are in the right moment leading to the match. Colombia has won its last three games and kept a clean sheet in 4 of their previous five games.
Further, Los Cafeteros have lost just once in their last ten games. However, that loss came against an Asian side, South Korea, back in March. This will add as an incentive to Qatar to go along with their excellent form.
The Maroons are unbeaten in their last nine games, winning the first 7 in a row. They drew the recent two games, including their first game of this Copa America. Centre forward Almoez Ali has been in sensational form for Sanchez Bas’ side, scoring 10 in the last eight games, including the first goal in the previous one.
Thus, Qatar can be expected to put in a good fight, but Colombia’s physicality and firepower should help them register back-to-back wins and effectively seal a knockout berth.
Predicted Colombia XI: Ospina; Arias, Sanchez, Mina, Tesillo; Cuadrado, Barrios, Uribe; Rodriguez, Martinez, Falcao
Predicted Qatar XI: Sheeb; Miguel, Rawi, Salman, Hassan; Haydos, Madibo, Khoukhi, Afif; Hatim; Ali