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.
We football fans in Europe tend to think that summers without World Cup or Euro Cup are going to be long, boring periods without any game to follow. This summer of 2019 will however prove us totally wrong.
The Women’s World Cup, the Africa Cup of Nations, the U-20 World Cup, the Copa de Oro…and moreover, the CONMEBOL Copa América, the oldest international continental football competition, which kicked off last night with host country Brazil defeating Bolivia 3-0 in the opening match.
A tournament featuring players like Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Alexis Sánchez, James Rodríguez or Philippe Coutinho doesn’t need any marketing to attract the world football attention.
Unfortunately, just a few days ago the most attended player of the tournament, Brazil’s Neymar Jr., suffered an injury, and won’t make it on time to recover. This concluded an annus horribilis for the Brazilians, who could not have imagined a worse ending for this season.
The exotic note will be added by the two guest teams, Asian champions Qatar and runner-up Japan. Any good result by these two sides will be a big surprise.
Among the favorites to lift the trophy, we cannot but consider Argentina and Brazil. Still, no one should forget Chile, the champions of the last two editions (2015 and 2016). Names like Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez and Claudio Bravo, are the stars in a generation of players who know each other extremely well. Their rock-solid disposition make them tremendously difficult to beat.
Host country Brazil remain the biggest favorite in my opinion, even without Neymar Jr. They will try to replace him with the never-ending support from their local fans.
Argentina, probably the most technical team when it comes to single players, have not been so successful in the last decades. This will be one of the last chances for Lionel Messi to lift his first trophy with the Albiceleste, adding some extra motivation for him to face this tournament.
Among the top four contenders, I would also put Colombia, the most balanced side between technique and tactics. Players like James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao could breach into any defense.
The 12 participants were divided into three groups. The top two from each pool, plus the best two thirds qualify for the Quarter Finals:
Group A: Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru
Group B: Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Qatar
Group C: Uruguay, Ecuador, Japan, Chile
But I want to know your opinion. Do you agree with me? Which team is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
The tournament just kicked off and I already feel the excitement. Thank you CONMEBOL for organizing it and, moreover, for agreeing with UEFA to coordinate Copa América with the European Championship and hold them both in the same year from now on.
Happy days are coming for football fans worldwide!