Copa America knockout rounds: No continent for old men?
Background photo: Kari Leal
Despite more credible showings than the two Conmebol teams eliminated from the Copa America, the guests have gone home and South America can get down to the business of deciding its champion for 2019.
Bolivia and Ecuador looked more like rank outsiders than Asian champions Qatar and the youthful Japanese. Qatar were solid in their group games against Colombia, Paraguay and Argentina but could only muster a draw against the middle team. They weren't allowed to be as spectacular as they were in January for the Asian Cup. For all the talk of South American decline, there was just too much quality in their opponents' ranks for the Gulf upstarts to shine. Japan, on the other hand, matching Uruguay goal for goal in their encounter. Samurai Blue's U23s made certain that Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin slept well after the match, running La Celeste's old guard ragged.
In fact, a changing of the guard is emerging as the theme in this edition of the Copa America. When the 2020 tournament rolls around [Conmebol is switching to an even-yeared calendar], expect many of these squads to be significantly changed despite the short turnaround. Names like Brazil's Everton, who has two goals in this tournament, could be household names. In the meantime, let's have a look at the quarterfinal matchups.