Spotlight on Copa América 2019, the oldest continental football competition in the world. Carlos Molano follows the Brazilian event for The Cult of Calcio, providing match analysis and personal insight.
The Quarter Finals of the Copa América 2019 are about to kick-off after a group stage packed with exciting games. Mention of honor for the two guests from Asia, Qatar and Japan: Both were extremely competitive and had big chances of qualifying until the very last moment.
Japan were even virtually into the next round as Real Madrid starlet Takefusa Kubo scored an added time goal, unfortunately disallowed on grounds of offside. It’s going to be interesting to see the evolution of this top quality player as he approaches his first season in Europe.
But let’s take a quick look at the interesting Quarter Finals coming up:
Venezuela-Argentina at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro
The first pairing is between Argentina and Venezuela. La Albiceleste might seem favorite to go through, but the low level shown in the first games, as well as Leo Messi’s poor performance and the questions and doubts raised by media might all have a negative impact on them.
La Vinotinto surprisingly finished unbeaten the group stage. The VAR saved them three times against Brazil, but they gained much confidence during the first games – which makes them especially dangerous.
Brazil-Paraguay at Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre
The Brazilians ended first in an easy Group A, nevertheless they didn’t quite convince the local fan base. Supporters have been asking for Tite to resign from head coach after the tournament. On Saturday, Brazil will need to increase the level of their performance against the always difficult and very physical Paraguayan side, which will in turn try to bring the first big surprise of the tournament.
The Sunday game will be hosted at the Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre, a venue carefully selected with the influence of Brazil’s controversial President Jair Bolsonaro – who allegedly wished to avoid other stadiums where he could face more criticism from the local supporters.
Colombia-Chile at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo
In my opinion, the most interesting fixture in this round by far. The very beautiful and competitive football shown by the Cafeteros in the first round makes them a potential favorite to take the trophy home. To do so, they will have to beat La Roja, the South American champions from the last two editions of the cup. Without any doubt, an unmissable game which promises loads of emotions!
Uruguay-Peru at Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador de Bahia
This is probably the game featuring the largest gap between the two squads, but in football unexpected results are all but uncommon. Uruguay are a clear favorite after qualifying as first from Group C. Peru, on the other hand, went through only as one of the best third-placed teams. The match takes place on June 29 in Salvador de Bahia, a city known for its lavish Carnival festivities.
My prediction is that Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay will make it to the Semifinals. What about you?
Let us know in the comments!