Argentina are through to the semifinals of Copa America, though just barely. They were all over Colombia for 90 minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net and had to rely on penalties. Despite finishing regulation tied up at 0-0, the Albiceleste were able to better Colombia on spot kicks, winning the shootout 5-4.
David Ospina was the star of the game, just barely beating out referee Roberto Garcia, who gave Sergio Aguero a yellow card for dissent in the 20th minute after denying the Argentine striker a penalty. Ospina one-upped Garcia six minutes later, making an unbelievable double-save on Aguero, then Lionel Messi.
Colombia didn't register a real chance until the 67th minute, when Jackson Martinez directed a header on target, right into the stomach of Sergio Romero. Los Cafeteros were on the back foot all night, and started getting truly trounced in the final 12 minutes once Ever Banega came on.
The substitute Argentine midfielder hit the crossbar in the 78th minute after hitting one of few shots on the night that looked like it could beat Ospina. Not long afterwards, on a corner, Ospina came up with a big diving stop on Nicolas Otamendi, tipping his shot on the post.
Carlos Tevez came on as a sub as well and looked to have the winner in the 88th minute when he ran in on goal with the ball, only to be cleaned out by Ospina while Cristian Zapata tried to make a clearance. The ball deflected towards the goal and was rolling in, bit Jeison Murillo cleared off the line.
Because they insist on being weird, Copa America games go to penalties after 90 minutes, not extra time. The first six penalties were all exquisite until Luis Muriel broke up the monotony by putting his spot kick into outer space. Lucas Biglia stepped up for Argentina's fifth penalty with a chance to win it, but pushed it wide. Juan Zuniga and Marcos Rojo both missed in the next round, leaving Murillo to step up for round seven. He hit an awful penalty, nearly as far over the crossbar as Muriel's. Inexplicably, after a few defenders had gone, Tevez stepped up and scored as you'd expect him to do, sending Argentina through.
Argentina: Romero, Rojo, Otamendi, Garay, Zabaleta, Mascherano, Biglia, Pastore (Banega 77'), Di Maria (Lavezzi 87'), Aguero (Tevez 73'), Messi
Colombia: Ospina, Arias, Murillo, Zapata, Zuniga, Mejia, Ibarbo (Muriel 86'), Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Martinez (Falcao 74'), Gutierrez (Cardona 24')
1. This was an all-time great 0-0. Most 0-0 games are lacking in excitement and scoring chances, especially in international tournaments. This game was nothing of the sort. There was pretty much constant excitement and the lack of goals made little sense. There should have been five or six.
2. Argentina are super unlucky. Of those five or six should-have-been-goals, we're only giving one to Colombia. This game was all Argentina, all the time. They steamrolled Colombia, who bizarrely started with just one true central midfielder against Argentina's super robust center. If not for Ospina, some good play by the Colombia central defenders and some downright bad luck, Argentina would have won this game comfortably.
3. And they're the best team left in this tournament. Argentina have yet to record a truly impressive, convincing win in this tournament, but four games isn't a huge sample size. They've been playing some really outstanding football, their defense has improved immensely since their collapse against Paraguay and Messi is at the top of his game. This lineup is getting the most out of Argentina's front six -- they just need to finish a bit better.