Colombia advanced to the semifinals in Copa América in emphatic fashion on Saturday, taking down Panama, 5-0, and getting goals from five different players: Jhon Cordoba, James Rodriguez, Luis Diaz, Richard Rios and Miguel Borja.

That said, Rodriguez was undoubtedly the standout performer in the match, finishing with two assists, which made him the first player to score and assist on a goal in the first 15 minutes of a Copa América match since 2011, according to FOX Sports Research.

Rodriguez also became the third player to have three goal contributions (goal or assist) in the first half of a Copa América game in the last five editions of the tournament, with the other two being Lionel Messi (2021) and Clint Dempsey (2016).

When it’s all said and done, could Rodriguez be named the Player of the Tournament?

Melissa Ortiz broke down the Colombian star’s success in the tournament, after Jimmy Conrad proposed that possibility.

“James Rodriguez has been just stellar. Stellar performance, through and through, not only offensively but also defensively, too, because you see his work rate,” Ortiz said. “And I think he really sets the tone and the energy of this team, and that’s why they’re so intense up until the final whistle. He’s the engine; he’s the motor; he’s the heart of this squad. … 

“I just think that having him as a key component of this squad when he didn’t even play in the 2021 Copa América, and then now seeing him evolve, it’s been extraordinary.”

Rodriguez, who turns 33 later this month, currently plays in Brazil with São Paulo, but he holds a wealth of experience of playing in several prominent leagues, including the Premier League (for Everton), La Liga (for Real Madrid), and Bundesliga (for Bayern Munich), among others. Has he shown enough to get another sweet gig?

Wes Morgan made the case for Rodriguez.

“After this display that we’ve seen so far in this tournament, I think most teams will take him,” Morgan said. “I think that No. 10 role, sometimes you look at it as a luxury role. The person’s that’s got the freedom. Give them the ball, and they can express themselves and mix things up. I think Rodriguez is showing good qualities in terms of getting on the board and kind of evading the challenge and the pressure of position. …

“He’s had his turn in the Premier League, and it didn’t work out. And then he’s gone on a bit of a journey, but in this tournament, he’s looked fantastic. I’m sure he’d be useful for any team, not just [in] the Premier League.”

As for Colombia’s thundering win over Panama, they got off seven shots, including five on goal. Meanwhile, Panama got off 14 shots, including three on goal — of course, though, to no avail. Colombia previously went 2-1-0 in Group D play, beating Paraguay, 2-1, which was followed by a 3-0 win over Costa Rica and playing Brazil to a 1-1 draw.

Colombia will play in the semifinals on July 10 (8 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app).

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