Colombia have done it!
The hosts of Copa América Femenina 2022 beat Argentina 1-0 in the semi-final on Monday night (25 July), to secure their spot in the final.
It also guarantees the Colombians a place at the Paris 2024 Olympic women's football tournament.
Tense start in Bucaramanga
In front of 15.000 people in the stands of the Alfonso López Stadium, in Bucaramanga, Colombia's players were tense in the opening minutes, with Argentina better organised and on the pitch.
The locals struggled to keep the ball and play their characteristic position game. Argentina midfielders Estefanía Banini and Flor Bonsegundo took control, but Yamila Rodríguez failed to convert two good chances to score.
Colombia got back into the game, and showed their promise when Linda Caicedo put the ball in the net. The 17-year-old started her dazzling show by beating Argentina’s keeper Vanina Correa, but the goal was disallowed due to a handball when controlling the ball.
The home side were encouraged. From minute 30 Colombia started to take control, forgetting the nervousness and starting to keep possession.
On minute 32, Catalina Usme found playmaker Leicy Santos who assisted Caicedo with an accurate ball through. The striker missed the shot and the ball was blocked by Correa.
A few minutes later Colombia had the best chance of the first half. Santos combined with Mayra Ramírez, who dribbled past two defenders before hitting the post (36’).
Right after halftime, Bonsegundo shot from outside the box for Argentina, before Colombia found the long-awaited goal.
Caicedo took advantage of a mistake from the Albiceleste defense, and her crossed shot to the far post beat Correa. It was minute 63’ and the crowd went wild.
Red card in the closing stages
Argentina's hopes of finding an equaliser took a blow when Gabriela Chávez was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. With one woman less on the pitch, they kept pushing up front, but whenever they lost the ball, Colombia created danger on counter attacks.
With the final whistle, the Colombians started to celebrate their 1-0 win on the pitch.
Colombia will be in Paris 2024, their third time at the Olympic women's football tournament after London 2012 and Rio 2016. They want to be there as South American champions, and will have the chance to claim that title on Saturday at the Copa America final. They'll face Brazil, who won Tuesday's second semi-final over Paraguay, and also secured themselves a Paris 2024 qualifying ticket.
Both teams also guaranteed themselves places at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.