The fourth day of the 2016 Copa America kicked off Monday with arguably the tournament's toughest group opening up play.
Argentina vs. Chile is the headliner at the end of the night, as the two Group D teams are legitimate contenders to win the competition. The match will be slightly marred by the absence of Lionel Messi from Argentina's starting lineup. The Barcelona star could miss the entire game because of a back injury, per Diario AS (via SI Wire).
Panama showed in last summer's Gold Cup that it can play with the world's better teams. Los Canaleros get Bolivia in Monday's first match.
Take a look below at Monday's results, the upcoming tournament schedule and the group standings.
|2016 Copa America Results and Schedule|
|Monday, June 6||Location||Group||Score|
|Bolivia vs. Panama||Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida||D||2-1 Panama|
|Argentina vs. Chile||Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California||D||10 p.m. ET|
|Tuesday, June 7||Time (ET)|
|Costa Rica vs. USA||Soldier Field, Chicago||A||8 p.m.|
|Colombia vs. Paraguay||Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California||A||10:30 p.m.|
|2016 Copa America Standings|
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Colombia (3 Points)||Peru (3 Points)||Mexico (3 Points)||Panama (3 Points)|
|Costa Rica (1 Point)||Brazil (1 Point)||Venezuela (3 Points)||Bolivia (0 Points)|
|Paraguay (1 Point)||Ecuador (1 Point)||Jamaica (0 Points)||Argentina (N/A)|
|USA (0 Points)||Haiti (0 Points)||Uruguay (0 Points)||Chile (N/A)|
Panama def. Bolivia, 2-1
Panama used an electric start to fuel its 2-1 victory over Bolivia at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
The team came out flying in the first 15 minutes, generating a few quick chances around the Bolivian goal to establish some early momentum.
That play soon yielded a reward, as Blas Perez slotted home this pass from Alberto Quintero in the 11th minute to put Panama up, courtesy of Fox Soccer:
Quintero was an impact player throughout the half, as he set up this chance with some nifty footwork, courtesy of Fox Soccer:
Panama was the faster team, and it was able to utilize its speed by spacing out the field for its attackers to work.
It did not activate its entire midfield and full backs enough, as the quick-chance offense netted only 47 percent possession in the half.
Rain marred the second half, as the pace of play slowed down considerably.
This favored Bolivia, who struggled to match Panama's pace in the first half. The advantage culminated in a garbage goal for the Bolivians from Juan Carlos Arce:
This was poor set-piece defense from Panama, who collapsed toward the goal line while leaving Arce wide-open.
Both teams struggled to create much for the rest of the night. Panama dominated the shot count, 16-5, but it cashed in on its first legitimate chance of the half to take a late lead. Fox Soccer provided a look:
Bolivia nearly equalized shortly after, but Panama held on for the win.
This is a huge win for Los Canaleros, who needed to earn three points from Bolivia to have a shot at advancing. If they can earn an unlikely draw against Argentina or Chile, they have a chance to play past the group stage.
Bolivia is in a deep hole, as it needs to beat one of the two Group D giants for a chance to advance, which is improbable.
Argentina vs. Chile
Even without Messi, Argentina looked like the world's top-ranked team as it comfortably defeated the defending-Copa America champions.
The Argentines scored twice within a 10-minute span in the second half to take a commanding lead and assert itself as the class of Group D.
After a costly Chile turnover near midfield, Argentina quickly countered as Angel Di Maria scored on this beautiful finish, courtesy of Fox Sports:
The team used another transition opportunity to seal the game on this deflected shot from Ever Banega, courtesy of Fox Sports:
Argentina controlled the game and created chances throughout the night. It finished with 16 shots and six corners as Chile was unable to contain Argentina's dynamic forward group that included Sergio Aguero, Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain.
Chile dominated possession with 58 percent, but it was not able to make many significant plays with the ball. Argentina's counter-attacking play seemed to discourage the Chileans, who looked nervous to take any chances for fear of a scoring opportunity arising in the other direction.
Yet, the team was able to put one by Argentina is the closing seconds of stopping time with this header, courtesy of Fox Sports:
The win is significant for Argentina's group standing, but even more so because it did not need to use Messi against one of the top teams in the tournament. With Bolivia and Panama on the docket, Argentina could rest Messi until the knockout stage.
As long as Chile can take down Panama and Bolivia, it should be fine. The team needs to shore up its defense moving forward, as it allowed far too many shots on Monday.
Rankings are courtesy of FIFA.com.
All statistics are courtesy of CA2016.com.