Venezuela Tests Its Faith Against Canada in the Copa America Quarterfinals

Venezuela (Credit: Getty Images)

With nine points in three games, six goals were scored and one was conceded. One phrase: ‘Mano, I have faith’, loaded with motivation for its impeccable first phase, Venezuela faces Canada this Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Copa America in the United States.

Canada, meanwhile, is coming into the game hit by a serious last-minute injury. Tajon Buchanan underwent surgery on Wednesday for a fractured tibia, a day after the Inter Milan winger left Jese Marsch’s team in an ambulance after injuring his left leg and his teammates are promising to do everything they can to dedicate a victory to him.

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The winner of the match at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will face the winner of Thursday’s match between world champions Argentina and Ecuador in the semifinals.

“We’ve already played three games; there are three more to come,” said top scorer Salomon Rondon, who was named the best player of the match in Venezuela’s three victories in Group B of this Copa América against Ecuador (2-1), Mexico (1-0) and Jamaica (3-0).

“My faith is still shaken,” the 34-year-old striker joked in an interview with Venezuelan TV channel Televen.

Venezuela had never been able to win all of its matches in the first round of the tournament.

And now, with that momentum, the goal is to go further than ever. Since its first participation in the continental tournament, in Uruguay in 1967, the Venezuelan team has only reached the semi-finals once, in Argentina in 2011, where it finished in fourth place. There are only three survivors of that milestone in the squad that is now managed by the Argentine Fernando ‘Bocha’ Batista: Rondon, Tomas Rincon, and Alexander González.

Batista will return to the bench after being part of the four coaches sanctioned for their teams coming out onto the pitch late at half-time of a match, along with Lionel Scaloni (Argentina), Ricardo Gareca (Chile) and Marcelo Bielsa (Uruguay).

The coach will have some of his key players rested, as he left out center-back Nahuel Ferraresi, left-back Miguel Navarro, and midfielder Cristian Casseres Jr. in the last match due to the risk of suspensions due to accumulation of yellow cards.

For this reason, however, attacker Darwin Machis is missing.

“We have a very good connection in the locker room, everybody is eager to be there. There is a very nice synergy,” said Eduard Bello, who scored two goals for Venezuela in this Copa America.

The Canadian side:

Canada’s players had a tough time on Tuesday with Buchanan’s injury.

One of his teammates, right-back Alistair Johnston, promised to try to “win for him”, although he stressed that this should not take the focus off the team, which qualified for the quarter-finals in second place in Group A, behind leaders Argentina, after losing to the Argentina (2-0), beating Peru (1-0) and drawing with Chile (0-0).

“He would be the first one to say, ‘Guys, do it for me but focus on the game,” Johnston told the Canadian press. “It’s given us extra motivation.”

And there is also good news: midfielder Ismael Kone has just been signed by Olympique de Marseille.

Canada has seen the Copa América as an important step in its preparation for the 2026 World Cup, which it will host alongside the United States and Mexico.

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