Copa America 2024: Team spirit key to Colombia’s remarkable run, says head coach Lorenzo

Colombia’s strong team spirit is a key factor in the South American side’s brilliant form in a 27-match unbeaten run, coach Nestor Lorenzo said after its thumping 5-0 win over Panama in the Copa America quarterfinals.

Colombia, whose last defeat came in a 1-0 loss to Argentina in February 2022, cruised through the group stage with two wins and a draw, before hammering Panama in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday to book a spot in the last four.

READ MORE | Copa America 2024: Who will Colombia face in the semifinals?

The win has boosted morale ahead of a tough semi-final clash against Uruguay, with several fringe players in the Colombia set-up also getting some game time as Lorenzo made five substitutions in the quarterfinal clash.

“Each of those 11 players have to play for their teammates, for the other 10, and that is what this team is showing. Great attitude and giving it all for their teammates,” Lorenzo told reporters. “That has been apparent from minute one. This is how I feel leadership should be handled and this is what the coaching staff thinks. Thank God it is a very even team in this sense. They all compete for the positions in a very healthy way.

“I was happy to sub in players. I was waiting for this moment because it’s very important for coaches to put the players on the field at the right time when it is favourable for them to succeed, so we have to be cautious when we make those decisions,” he added.

Ahead of the Uruguay vs Brazil clash, the coach was asked who he would rather face between the two. Lorenzo said, “We cannot pick an opponent. That wouldn’t be right.”

“I think there are two great teams, two champions, and any of those teams is a candidate to be a title holder, so I wouldn’t choose,” Lorenzo continued. “We have played against both of them and we will compete against the one that wins today.”

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