Dedicated Brazil a favourite to defend Copa America title

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The Copa America will kick off Sunday with defending champion Brazil in opposition to Venezuela.

Brazil’s worldwide gamers had been reluctant to play within the Copa America on residence soil. Now that they are dedicated, they’re favored to win it.

Argentina nonetheless looms as a risk to Brazil’s title protection, however now as a visiting group.

Argentina and Colombia had been dropped as match co-hosts earlier than Brazil contentiously stepped in late to stage the continental championship.

Being away from residence takes some strain off Lionel Messi and his Argentina group.

The Copa America will kick off Sunday with defending champion Brazil in opposition to Venezuela on the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia. The ultimate shall be on July 10 on the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, one of many COVID-19 epicenters in Brazil, the place greater than 480,000 have died from the coronavirus.

No spectators shall be allowed to attend any Copa America matches due to restrictions in place for the pandemic, which has already delayed the match by a yr.

Brazil gamers ended hypothesis a couple of potential boycott by issuing a unified assertion on Wednesday saying they’re “unhappy” with the choice to maneuver the match to their nation, but it surely would not cease them representing their nationwide group.

And if South American World Cup qualifiers are something to go by, the Copa America title is Brazil’s to lose. Brazil has received all six of its video games and is six factors away from second place Argentina.

With the likes of Neymar on board, coach Tite expects not solely to defend the title lifted in 2019, but in addition use the subsequent 30 days to arrange for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Many checks are anticipated. Alisson is not the group’s unchallenged goalkeeper, with Ederson getting extra possibilities to start out.

Captain Casemiro is but to seek out out whether or not he’ll play as defensive midfielder subsequent to Douglas Luiz, Fred or Lucas Paqueta. And 4 choices seem up entrance to work with Neymar: Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa.

Argentina positioned third within the 2019 Copa America, however the group has improved beneath coach Lionel Scaloni. Defender Cristian Romero, and midfielders Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso at the moment are trusted to interrupt the opponents’ traces. Up entrance, Lautaro Martínez and Sergio Agüero carry the identical respect.

And which means Messi, who turns 34 later this month, does not must be a part of each play for Argentina to win. “Argentina all the time dominates, typically in a really vertical means,” Scaloni mentioned.

“When you take a look at all our matches in qualifiers we deserved to win. However at soccer, deserving does not rely.”

Argentina hasn’t received a significant title for the reason that 1993 Copa America. Colombia has improved for the reason that return of coach Reinaldo Rueda. It trashed Peru Three-Zero in Lima and bought a late equalizer to drive a 2-2 draw after being two targets down in opposition to Argentina. Copa America may additional improve the group, which won’t have midfielder James Rodríguez due to health issues.

Uruguay has struggled regardless of relying on Luis Suárez and Edison Cavani, who will return to the group after a two-match suspension in World Cup qualifiers. Uruguay hasn’t received any of its three newest matches on the highway to Qatar.

“We’ve got to bear in mind there’s issues to enhance as all the time and prepare for one thing that provides us loads of aspiration,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabárez mentioned after Tuesday’s Zero-Zero draw with Venezuela.

Peru, the 2019 Copa America runner-up, is struggling in World Cup qualifying however hoping a 2-1 win at Ecuador earlier this week would possibly spark a change in momentum. Coach Ricardo Garca determined not to usher in striker Paolo Guerrero, who’s coming back from harm. He shall be relying as an alternative on Santiago Ormeño, who performs at Mexico’s León.

Chile coach Martín Lasarte has determined to make use of an inexperienced squad in Copa America, making it extra of a precedence to qualify for the subsequent World Cup.

“We are going to use it as a software to strengthen youthful gamers,” he mentioned. Chile is presently within the sixth in qualifying. The match shall be divided into two teams of 5. Group A consists of Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. Brazil is in Group B with Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

The 4 finest of every group advance to the knockout stage. Quarterfinals will happen on July 2 on the Nilton Santos and Goiania’s Olimpico stadium, and July Three at Olimpico stadium and Brasilia’s Mané Garrincha.

The semifinals shall be on the Nilton Santos stadium in Rio on July 5 and in Brasilia the subsequent day. 

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