This summer, 12 teams will meet in Brazil to decide the outcome of the2019 Copa America tournament. Chile are the current holders of the tournament, having won the last two times the event was held (in 2015 and 2016) but they face a stern test to hang on to the title against the host nation, plus a very strong representation from Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia in particular.
In this article, we are going to preview each of the 12 teams in the tournament, giving you our view on how we see them performing, their key men and where we think the team will reach in the tournament, as well as the current odds (correct at the time of writing) on them to win the entire thing.
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Copa America 2019
Group A Fixtures
- June 14th – Brazil v Bolivia
- June 15th – Venezuela v Peru
- June 18th – Bolivia v Peru
- June 18th – Brazil v Venezuela
- June 22nd – Peru v Brazil
- June 22nd – Bolivia v Venezuela
Although no longer the whipping boys of South Amerian football, Venezuela are still one of the minnows in the tournament and it would be a real feat if they were able to snatch third place in the group. The games with Peru and Bolivia will ultimately decide their fate. Star men include Torino midfielder Tomas Rincon, and striking duo Josef Martinez (Atlanta United) and Salomon Rondon (Newcastle United) – Tip – A spirited battling third place in the group but it may not be enough to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.
Only three of the Bolivian squad ply their trade outside of their home nation, with two playing for Club Puebla in Mexico, including key midfielder Alejandro Chumacero. Marcelo Martins is their main attacking threat but Bolivia don’t tend to travel well and I fancy they will be the team that struggle the most in this group. Tip – Fourth place.
After a rather dismal period, Peru’s current team are arguably the best in a generation and hopes are high that they could snatch second place in the group. Paolo Guerrero is still the key man in attack alongside Jefferson Farfan. Miguel Trauco is a solid defender and Cristian Cueva a danger in midfield. This is a decent side, who should pick up a couple of wins in the group. Tip – Defeat to Brazil but will still finish in second but will lose out in the quarterfinals.
The hosts will definitely win their group and it would be a huge shock if they did not win all three games comfortably to do so. Neymar’s absence won’t be so keenly felt in the group stage, but I feel as the tournament progresses, it will become more and more acute. Even so, they will comfortably reach the semifinals, but if Argentina are there to meet them, that could be the key game in this entire championships. – Tip – Brazil will win their group and their quarterfinal, but could come unstuck in the semis if they face Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
Group B Fixtures
- June 15th – Argentina v Colombia
- June 16th – Paraguay v Qatar
- June 19th – Colombia v Qatar
- June 19th – Argentina v Paraguay
- June 23rd – Qatar v Argentina
- June 23rd – Colombia v Paraguay
All members of the Qatar squad play their football in their home country and they are a side that should not be dismissed having beaten the likes of Japan, Switzerland and South Korea in recent months. That said, I am not sure how well they will travel to South America and I think against three experienced and quality sides, they could find it tougher. Tip – They wont make it easy for any team but I feel they will finish fourth in the group.
They don’t come into this tournament in particularly good form, but Paraguay do have a tendency to produce their best displays in this event. Veteran striker Oscar Cardozo still leads the attack with Newcastle playmaker Miguel Almiron and West Ham defender Fabian Balbueno familiar faces to Premier League fans. Hard to beat, I can see them perhaps stealing a point against one of the big two and a win over Qatar to progress. Tip – A steady third place in the group, likely on goal difference.
One of the most talented teams in the tournament and an outside bet to win it, Colombia should be very confident of progressing from this group either as winners, or at the very least, in second spot. I can see them losing their opening game but should have enough to get wins in their last two to secure second spot. James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao will once again be their attacking inspiration alongside the in form Duvan Zapata, who enjoyed a superb season with Atlanta in Italy. Tip – Pushing Argentina hard for top spot but finish a close second.
While I can see Argentina winning this group, I think Lionel Messi’s team will not have things all their own way. I can see them beating Colombia but I feel they are liable to drop a couple of points against the likes of Paraguay, who have troubled them in the past. Even so, a win over Qatar should be enough for them to progress top of the group. Tip – Group Winners, but only just but I am backing them to reach the final and claim the win.
Group C Fixtures
- June 16th – Uruguay v Ecuador
- June 17th – Japan v Chile
- June 20th – Uruguay v Japan
- June 21st – Ecuador v Chile
- June 24th – Chile v Uruguay
- June 24th – Ecuador v Japan
Perhaps not the most talented side, Ecuador still have some decent players including Manchester United stalwart Antonio Valencia and ex-West Ham striker Enner Valencia. They are a tough side who will be difficult to beat in what is a very evenly matched group but I feel they may just fall short of landing one of the qualification spots in the group. Tip – It will be close but I think they’ll just be edged into fourth.
The winners of the past two tournaments, Chile would be many people’s favourites along with Uruguay to get through the group stage, but I feel their squad is ageing and not in great form at the moment. Add to that the strength of an emerging Japan and while I can see Chile perhaps beating Ecuador, I don’t think they will finish in the top two. Tip – A nervy third placed finish but a place in the quarterfinals is possible.
Japan are for me the real unknown quantity of this tournament. They could lose all three games very badly, but they could equally win all three. I feel they have enough quality to win at least one game and perhaps take a point in another. That could well be enough for them to perhaps sneak into second in this group. Tip – Don’t rule out the Japanese springing a surprise to finish second.
Another team with lots of talented but ageing players, Uruguay do at least have a couple of talented youngsters coming through but they are not yet of the quality of Godin, Cavani and Suarez. Those three, plus Jon Giminez, will be the bedrock of this team and they are still good enough to win the group and reach the semifinals, but they could come unstuck at that point. Tip – Group winners and semi-finalists at the very least.