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Uruguay vs Colombia ‘most important’, Lorenzo says after thrashing Panama

Colombia were 2-0 ahead within 16 minutes

Colombia football fans

Colombia manager Nestor Lorenzo has played down their 5-0 win over Panama in the Copa America 2024 quarter-finals and emphasised their focus on their semi-final against Uruguay in Charlotte on Thursday.

Jhon Cordoba, Player of the Match James Rodriguez, Luis Diaz, Richard Rios and Miguel Borja all scored as Los Cafeteros matched their record unbeaten run of 27 matches, originally established between 1992 and 1994.

“The most important match is the next one,” said Lorenzo, looking ahead to a meeting with opponents who knocked out Brazil on penalties in the last eight.

“It wasn’t as easy as the result suggests. We knew Panama had two players on each side and that we had to cover them. We had to hold on to that. And we also knew where to hurt them.

“With the score 3-0 up, we could have made changes at half-time. But the players wanted to continue and we had to correct some things. We did so.”

Colombia Copa America results

Colombia have won each of their last 12 matches aside from a 1-1 draw with Brazil during the Copa America group stage.

Their 12th-placed Fifa ranking made them considerable favourites against a Panama side 31 spots below them, but they are likely to face a considerably tougher semi-final against opponents ranked 14th.

Each of the last three games between Colombia and Uruguay have finished all square, with Colombia winning on penalties following a 0-0 Copa America quarter-final draw in 2021.

Uruguay have kept clean sheets in five of their last six matches and beat Brazil despite having Nahitan Nandez dismissed after 74 minutes.

Colombia vs Uruguay: ‘Team empowers players’

“It is not difficult, strange or complicated to understand that… what you do is empower the players,” Lorenzo said, outlining his philosophies on teamwork.

“The team empowers the players. There are times when we know that in football, 10 players must often play for one player, but each player must play for the 11 players. That is what this team demonstrates.”

Colombia’s sole Copa America title came when they won all six of their matches at the 2001 finals. They finished third in 2021.

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.