Thursday, June 30, 2011

Copa América 2011

One of the most interesting tournaments this year starts tomorrow: the South American championships, or Copa América 2011. It will be hosted in Argentina, and the groups are as follows:

Group A:
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
Argentina are undoubtfully huge favourites playing at home, with a team full of stars, led by the magician Lionel Messi, and hungry to win a trophy they have not had since 1993. Colombia will be an interesting team to watch; they play good football, but have always suffered from a lack of scoring ability, something they will be hoping to remedy with FC Porto's goal machine, Radamel Falcao.
Bolivia and Costa Rica are probably not expected much from Costa Rica is participating by invitation and with a youth team.

Group B:
  • Brazil
  • Paraguay
  • Ecuador
  • Venezuela
Brazil has won the tournament four of the last five times, and with a new and interesting side under Mano Menezes will be looking to playing some more charming football than they did during the world cup.
Paraguay are always a strong team of seasoned players from strong clubs in Europe and South America, and will undoubtfully prove difficult to defeat, and may even be qualified as a dark horse in the tournament.
In the meantime, Ecuador and Venezuela will have to play their best. Both are teams that are growing, and perhaps looking more for a possible classification for the 2016 World Cup.
Personally, I will eagerly watch my current country, Venezuela, with curiosity and a small "Vinotinto"-heart, hoping that I will be here to see Venezuela do great things in football (I usually have a good football karma on the countries I live in).

Group C:
  • Uruguay
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Mexico
Uruguay was the best South American side at the 2010 World Cup, and arrive in Argentina with almost the same seasoned side. While their 2010 star, Diego Forlán, has not been in his best form lately, they have other strikers who have been spreading fear amid European defenses, such as Luis Suarez from Liverpool and Edison Cavani from Naples. With a solid midfield and defense, led by Fenerbahce's Diego Lugano, Uruguay should undoubtfully be counted as one of the favourites for the title.
Chile will be interesting to watch, now under a new coach Claudio Borghi, after Marcelo Bielsa left. They still have a stong side, where everyone should look forward to see Udinese's highly demanded Alexis Sánchez.
Mexico, newly winners of the Gold Cup, is also participating by invitation, and largely with a youth team who had eight players sent home last week after a ladies night out.
Perú is very weakened by the fact that both of their biggest stars, Schalke 04´s Jefferson Farfán and Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro are out with injuries. They will surely have a difficult time.

Anyway, everyone should look forward to some splendid South American football over the next few weeks!

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