As the footballing powerhouses of South America are prepare to battle for the 44th Copa America, here are the potential group toppers from the 3 groups. The tournament features 12 teams and kicks off on Friday 12th June at 12:30am with host nation Chile facing Ecuador in Santiago.
Group A; Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia.
In Group A it’s impossible to look past Chile. They are of course the hosts of the tournament they’ll have the majority of their fans supporting them as we’ve seen in the past the 12th man is massive for teams. Chile has never won the Copa America and this seems to be their best chance yet, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo and Eduardo Vargas in their squad they should easily see off the Group A competition. On paper some may think Mexico could cause them a challenge however they’ve left their best players at home resting for the Gold Cup later this summer. Recent form however is a worry for La Roja, they lost 2-0 to Iran and 1-0 to Brazil in the lead up to the competition and in their most recent fixture only narrowly beat El Salvador 1-0, despite this I’m still tipping Chile to top Group A.
Group B; Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Jamaica.
Argentina are arguably favorites to win the tournament, having come runner ups in the World Cup last year and have won all but two of their games since that defeat to Germany, a defeat they will be keen to put behind them in Chile. Lionel Messi is currently unstoppable having just guided Barcelona to a treble in a quite frankly remarkable season for the little magician he comes to the tournament in fantastic form. Added to this is the talent of Sergio Aguero a clinical finisher who towards the end of the season couldn’t stop scoring. Their midfield is resilient and with Masherano and Gago likely to anchor the midfield. A pairing that mixes creativity with strength and power. Uruguay are going to be the biggest threat to La Albicelestes however they are missing man player Luis Suarez. The defending champions will look to Edinson Cavani to lead the line the onus is on him to fill Suarez’s shoes. If Uruguay are to top Group B he will need to be on top form. For me though Argentina will top Group B
Group C; Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela
Group C looks a mouthwatering group, Brazil will be looking to bounce back from embarrassment at the World Cup whilst Columbia will be looking to upset the odds and top the group. Peru and Venezuela will be looking to cause an upset – one they are both capable of doing. Brazil are very much a new team with a new look. Dunga has replaced Scolari and the team looks rejuvenated, they’ve beaten France, Columbia, Argentina and Chile since that 7-1 defeat and with Neymar in the form of his life the Selecao will be out for redemption. It wont be easy though Columbia were not a one tournament wonder. Their team is full of talent that will cause any team trouble. The form and fitness of Falcao will be pivotal if he can rekindle his goal scoring form and the likes of Cuardrado, Bacca, Ospina and Martinez are on top of their game they could overcome Brazil and top the group. When in full flow they are one of the most attractive and entertaining teams to watch. This is why I’m tipping Columbia to top the group letting my heart rule my head.