An early goal from Lautaro Martínez and a late second from Sergio Agüero gave Argentina a 2-0 win over Qatar on Sunday, a deserved victory that takes them into the Copa América quarter-finals to face Venezuela.
Argentina took the lead after three minutes when an atrocious pass out of defence went straight to Martínez, who made no mistake from 15 metres.
The South Americans dominated the game more and more as it went on, and Agüero made up for earlier misses when he scored a fine angled drive with eight minutes remaining.
Argentina’s win against the Asian champions, their first after a loss to Colombia and a draw with Paraguay, leaves them in second place in Group B on four points behind group winners Colombia, who beat Paraguay 1-0.
Colombia won despite fielding a second-string side to make it a clean sweep of victories in their group stage campaign, leaving Paraguay’s hopes of staying in the tournament hanging by a thread.
Colombia were guaranteed a place in the last eight as Group B winners and made 10 changes from the side that beat Qatar in their last outing but still dominated play while Paraguay, who had to win to ensure they progressed, barely caused any danger.
Midfielder Gustavo Cuéllar put Colombia ahead just after the half-hour mark, sliding the ball through the legs of Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernández, while Luis Díaz struck in the second half but the goal was ruled out by VAR.
The technology was used again in stoppage time to overrule a penalty that had been awarded to Colombia.
Argentina will play Venezuela in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, while the other ties will be decided only after Monday’s final Group C matches. The top two teams in each group qualify for the knockout stage along with the two best third-placed sides.