Copa América
Copa América: Colombia rocks Panama 5-0 to advance to the semifinals
Copa América

Copa América: Colombia rocks Panama 5-0 to advance to the semifinals

Published Jul. 6, 2024 8:16 p.m. ET

Colombia continues to look like a country capable of winning this Copa América.

Los Cafeteros advanced to the semifinals of USA 2024 by beating Panama 5-0 on Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Colombians, who scored the first three of their goals in the first half, will face the winner of Saturday's nightcap between Brazil and Uruguay. Canada and defending world and Copa champs Argentina are the other two nations in the final four.

Colombia got off to a fast start in the greater Phoenix area and never looked back. Jhon Córdoba gave his squad the lead for good after just seven minutes, with captain James Rodriguez doubling the advantage from the penalty spot on the quarter-hour mark. Electric Liverpool winger Luis Diaz added a third when he chipped Panama keeper Orlando Mosquera shortly before halftime following a perfect lobbed pass from Rodriguez. Richard Rios added a fourth with 20 minutes of regular time remaining before Colombia completed the rout through substitute Miguel Borja in second half stoppage time.


Here are a few thoughts on the penultimate quarterfinal contest of the 2024 Copa América.

Play of the game

The early goal changed the match. The heavy underdog coming in, Panama wasn't supposed to survive a group that included the powerful Uruguayans and the host United States. Wins over Bolivia and a 10-man American side sent them to the last eight, but Los Canaleros luck ran out as soon as they conceded. Give Córdoba credit, though: with defender José Córdoba (no relation) draped all over him, the veteran forward put his head into harm's way to nod Colombia in front. It wasn't the most spectacular strike. It was a worthy game-winner nonetheless.

Turning point

With the score still 2-0, Panama's Roderick Miller had a golden chance to cut the Colombians' lead in half. Miller thundered a point-blank header that went off the inside of the post and hit Cafeteros backstop Camilo Vargas behind his head before eventually bouncing away from danger. Replays proved that the ball never crossed the goal line, but it was as close as it gets. We'll never know if Saturday's outcome would've been different had it gone in.

Key stat

Panama finished with a 14-7 shot advantage, but the latter made their chances count: Mosquera didn't make a single save, with all five of Colombia's on-target efforts finding the net.

What's next for Panama?

The 2023 Gold Cup runners-up don't kick off 2026 World Cup qualifying for almost a year, but they will have Concacaf Nations League games in November. Before that comes a rematch of their Group C win over the U.S., as the Americans and Panamanians meet on Oct. 12 in a friendly in Austin, Texas.

What's next for Colombia?

A delicious semifinal against either Brazil — the most decorated national team in history — or an Uruguay team looking to break a tie with Argentina and win a record 16th South American crown. Whichever foe they end up with, Colombia has to like its chances.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports who has covered the United States men's and women's national teams at FIFA World Cups on five continents. Follow him at @ByDougMcIntyre.

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