With most football fans focussing on Euro 2016 in France this summer, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that the Copa America is also running this summer as the competition enters its 100th year.
As part of the ‘centenario’ celebrations, the tournament has been boosted to 16s team as opposed to its usual 12. The 10 South American teams have this year been joined by six from North and Central America, with the United States playing host to this year’s competition.
Winninggoals gives you the five best bets for this year’s Copa America.
The oldest football competition starts June 3 with a kickoff game between the host, USA, versus Colombia
The Argentines currently sit atop of the FIFA World Rankings with a comfortable lead. With the likes of Javier Mascherano, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and of course Lionel Messi in their ranks, La Albiceleste will be hard to stop. Gerardo Martino’s side are five games without a defeat but have only played two games so far this year. In the South American World Cup 2018 qualifying group, Argentina lie fourth, having suffered a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador last year.
Uruguay currently sit atop of the World Cup qualifying group, and with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin at the back and Luis Suarez & Edinson Cavani up front, they will be a real handful in the US. Los Charruas have performed well at tournaments in recent years winning the Copa America in 2011 and finishing fourth at the World Cup in 2010. With a kind group of Mexico, Jamaica and Venezuela, Oscar Tabarez’s men should be fresh for the knockout stages.
With Alexis Sanchez in their side, the reigning champions will always have a chance. Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz will bolster the midfield, and Hoffenheim’s Eduardo Vargas has 25 goals in 52 international games. La Roja currently lie just third in the FIFA World Rankings, but they have struggled in World Cup qualifying losing to both Argentina and Uruguay.
James Rodriguez lit up the World Cup in 2014 and his country will be hoping he does the same again. Juventus man Juan Cuadrado will be another tricky customer in midfield but with no Radamel Falcao or Jackson Martinez, Colombia’s goal hopes will be pinned on AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca. Managed by seasoned campaigner Jose Pekerman, Los Cafeteros can beat anyone on their day but they will need to improve on last year’s tournament where they only scored one goal.
You never know what you might get from the Brazilians, and despite some poor form you can’t write them off. Brazil sit seventh in the world rankings, however they are sixth in world cup qualifying only winning two of their six games. National captain Neymar will not be travelling to the US so that he can play in the Olympic tournament this summer in Rio, meaning they will have to rely on the likes of Dani Alves, Willian, Phillipe Coutinho and Hulk to get them through the competition.
Group of Death Pick
Group A (USA, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay)
Dark Horse Pick
Favorite to Win
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico.