Football fans will look to South America for their big serving of international tournament action this summer. It’s the Copa America 2019, coming to you from Brazil.
Defending champions Chile and star man Alexis Sanchez will be looking to complete a hat-trick of wins. They will face strong opposition from some of the biggest names in world football though. We fancy Uruguay to come through a strong field and claim the championship.
Copa America Schedule
26 games will take place from the 14th of June to the 7th of July across six venues in Brazil. The hosts will play the opening match against Bolivia in Sao Paulo and hope to be in the final three weeks later in the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
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Each country will play against the other three teams in their group in a round-robin format. The top two teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, along with the two best third-placed sides. After that, the competition will be knockout all the way to the final in Rio
Copa America Previous Winners
Who has the most Copa America wins? Who has the best record?
This is the 46th edition of the Copa America. Surprisingly it is Uruguay who have the most wins with 15, one ahead of Argentina. Brazil trail behind in third place with a mere eight victories. Results from a century ago aren’t of huge interest to us though, so we’ll take a closer look at more recent tournaments.
Four runner-up placings for Argentina is perhaps the most striking feature of this table. Three of those included a certain Lionel Messi in the Argentinian team. He will celebrate his 32nd birthday during the event, so this is probably his last chance to add this massive prize to his list of trophies.
Copa America – Main Contenders
TIP – Uruguay to win Copa America 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13
Hosts Brazil are the logical starting point of any Copa America 2019 preview. This tournament comes at the end of a decade which saw the country host both the World Cup and the Olympics.
The gold medal was achieved in the Olympic football event, but the World Cup was a disaster. They rode their luck to a semi-final where they were humiliated 7-1 by eventual winners, Germany.
The signs are mixed as to whether it will be glory or disaster this time. Their most recent competitive outing was last summer in Russia at the 2018 World Cup. They again flattered to deceive and were eliminated by Belgium at the quarter-final stage.
Their squad oozes quality though. Fabinho, Marcelo, Douglas Costa and Lucas Moura are amongst the names who didn’t make the cut, which gives an idea of the strength in depth they possess. Whether coach Adenor ‘Tite’ Bacchi has made the right calls remains to be seen.
They look solid in defence, marshalled by Thiago Silva with the superb Alisson Becker in goal. At the other end of the pitch much will rest on Neymar. He is a hugely divisive figure and often bends the rules with his level of gamesmanship.
There is no doubting his goalscoring ability though, with 60 goals in just 96 games for his country. With support from Gabriel Jesus they could go close. Phillipe Coutinho will be expected to provide the creative influence in midfield.
If everything clicks they might win in sensational samba style. Even in second gear, they may have enough to get the job done. But there will be huge pressure on them from the entire nation, and this team has a history of failing on the big occasion. At 5/42.25+1251.251.25-0.80 we think they are a very risky bet.
Argentina are second in the betting at 4/15.00+4004.004.00-0.25. Recent tournaments have been characterised by excellent attacking options mixed with a poor defence. That trend looks set to continue.
They look particularly weak in goal where the selected trio only have nine international appearances between them. Their defence is uninspiring. Nicolas Otamendi is likely to be the leader at the back, despite rarely featuring for Manchester City this season.
The peerless Lionel Messi will head the attack, with big-name support from Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria. A victory on Brazilian soil would make heroes of these players. However, it’s doubtful that their attacking prowess can cover for failings elsewhere.
At 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13Uruguay merit our attention. They are packed with international experience from back to front. Captain Diego Godwin will lead the defence and is a warrior with 126 caps to his name. Also in the century club are goalkeeper Fernando Muslera along with forwards Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.
It is by no means a team of veterans though. Some of the best young talent in Europe will be vying for starting places. 21-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur has two seasons under his belt as a starting midfielder at Juventus whilst the even younger Federico Valverde broke into the first team at Real Madrid during the last campaign.
Revered coach Oscar Tabarez looks as sharp as ever at the age of 72. The squad is a perfect mix of youth and experience and has no obvious weak links. If they win their group they will likely avoid Brazil until the final which aids their cause. At 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13 they are well worth backing.
TIP – Sergio Aguero Top Goal Scorer 9/110.00+9009.009.00-0.11
Colombia are always a source of fascination, as we are never quite sure what to expect.
Their 2019 squad doesn’t mark them out as likely winners. Radamal Falcao and James Rodriquez are their only players to have scored more than 10 international goals.
Falcao is still scoring for Monaco in the French league but has looked a shadow of his former self. The career of James Rodriguez is at a crossroads, having told Bayern Munich he doesn’t want to sign for them permanently and a lack of interest from his parent club Real Madrid.
Everton centre-back Yerry Mina went on an unlikely scoring spree at the 2018 World Cup, notching three important goals. Similar heroics may be needed from set-pieces if they are to progress. Expect them to be tough and resilient, but to come up short.
Copa America – Best of the Rest
With 11 of their squad aged over 30, Chile are clearly sticking with what has worked for them in the recent past. Warriors like Jean Beausejour, Mauricio Isla and Arturo Vidal are bidding for their third straight Copa title, along with talisman Alexis Sanchez.
The form of Sanchez is a big worry, following a terrible 18 months at Manchester United.
He will need to return to his brilliant best of 2016 if they are to repeat their heroics.
They failed to qualify for the Russia World Cup in strange circumstances, so this will be their first competitive outing since November 2017. The age profile of the squad looks all wrong, though the players have done enough this decade to merit this final shot at glory.
Peru became a well loved underdog at the Russia World Cup. They played some great football and their huge travelling support was a popular sight in Russian cities. Two 1-0 defeats to France and Denmark were their undoing, and that failure to score goals will likely be a problem again.
Ex-Bayern Munich forward Paolo Guerrero is their captain and most likely source of goals. However, he is a veteran now at 35 years old. They are a hard-working outfit, but 25/126.00+250025.0025.00-0.04 is a little on the short side.
Venezuela are no longer the laughing stock of South American football. They have been competitive in the Copa during the past decade and have also shown improvement in the qualification process for the recent World Cups. Their Under-20 team finished runner-up in the 2017 FIFA World Cup, so a brighter future may be on the horizon.
This tournament is likely too early for those stars of 2017, and they look weak all over the field. Salomon Rondon is their goal threat, but the Newcastle front-man has never been prolific. 40/141.00+400040.0040.00-0.03 isn’t tempting.
Also at 40/141.00+400040.0040.00-0.03 are Paraguay, who had a disappointing 2018 World Cup qualification campaign. They were always a little behind the pace, yet a win at home to eliminated Venezuela on the final day of qualifying would have been enough to secure a play-off against New Zealand. Instead, a disappointing 0-1 defeat saw them miss out.
They have failed to win a friendly in the intervening 18 months, and it is difficult to be optimistic on their return to competitive action. Forward Miguel Almiron was signed by Premier League side Newcastle United for £21M but has yet to score for either Newcastle or his country.
Copa America – The Outsiders
With only 10 permanent members of CONMEBOL, traditionally there are two invites given to make it a 12-team affair. Japan are one of the invited duo this time. On paper, they have a lot going for them at 50/151.00+500050.0050.00-0.02. They performed gallantly in the World Cup, leading Belgium for long periods of an epic round of 16 tie.
Also on the invite list are Qatar, rank outsiders at 100/1101.00+10000100.00100.00-0.01. Perhaps most famous in football as controversial host of the upcoming 2022 World Cup, they have been making good strides on the pitch.
They won their first Asian Cup in February in sensational fashion, scoring 19 goals in their seven games, conceding just one. They defeated some big names in Asian football along the way, with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South Korea and Japan amongst the teams they beat.
They have selected much the same squad for this event, all players who ply their trade in the Qatari league. They will clearly travel full of confidence and it will be fascinating to see how they get on.
On home territory, Bolivia are always a threat. Their chosen venue is 3000 metres above sea-level and visiting teams may find it difficult to adjust. Outside of the rarefied atmosphere of La Paz, they struggle to compete. There isn’t enough quality in their squad to consider them, even at 66/167.00+660066.0066.00-0.02.
Ecuador complete the line-up at 50/151.00+500050.0050.00-0.02. They are another of the teams who played their last competitive game 18 months ago, failing to qualify for the World Cup after a decent start. Nothing in their friendly results suggests they are going to surprise us this summer.
Antonio Valencia has been out of favour at Manchester United but is their most likely source of creativity. They will look to Enner Valencia for goals but his record at the top level is very patchy. A place in the quarter-finals looks their limit.
Copa America 2019 FAQ
Is the Copa America on TV?
Yes. In the USA all games will be shown live on ESPN+. In the UK all games will be shown live on Premier Sports.
Who will be the Copa America winners?
Our top tips are:
Winners – Uruguay 8/19.00+8008.008.00-0.13
Top Goal Scorer – Sergio Aguero 9/110.00+9009.009.00-0.11
Where is the Copa America being held?
The Copa America hosts are Brazil, with the final taking place in the Estadio do Maracana in Rio.
When is the Copa America 2019 taking place?
The opening match of the Copa America between Brazil and Bolivia takes place on June 14th at 9.30pm local time. The final is on the 7th of July.
JK hails from Dublin and is an avid fan of all sports. He's been gambling with success for nearly 30 years and believes that research and dedication is the key. JK's attention to detail and knack of spotting opportunities that others often miss gives him the edge over the bookies.
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