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The 2015 Copa America will be the 44th edition of the international football tournament for South American teams, and it will be held in Chile this summer during June and July. Uruguay are the defending champions after beating Paraguay 3-0 in the final when the tournament was held in Argentina four years ago.
The competition is open to the ten member teams of CONMEBOL along with two guest teams from CONCACAF, Mexico and Jamaica. The twelve teams are separated into groups of four where they play a round robin format, and the top two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, along with the two best third placed finishing teams.
The groups are as follows:
Group A: Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia
Group B: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Jamaica
Group C: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela
Argentina and Brazil have dominated this competition in the recent era, fighting out both the 2007 and 2011 finals between them (Brazil won both tournaments), but Uruguay also have a very good record historically in the Copa America, and of course, they hold the current trophy.
They might be less popular in the betting this time around as an ageing side struggles to support the maverick talents of Luis Suarez, but they can’t be written off. Argentina were World Cup finalists last year, and with the depth of talent at their disposal they are worthy favourites. Brazil are like Germany in many respects, in that they can never be written off, and the likes of Colombia and Chile are perhaps too good to be considered dark horses, but it’s the tournament host that catches the eye. Let’s assess the odds for the outright winner of the 2015 Copa America.
Argentina look to tick all the boxes here and are deserving favourites at the top of the market. We know all about the quality in their squad, with the mercurial skill of Lionel Messi at the heart of a very talented team. They lost out 1-0 to Germany’s extra-time World Cup winner, but in truth there was precious little to choose between the sides, and with the game drifting towards penalties it could easily have been Argentina lifting the famous trophy. It wasn’t to be, but they’ll be looking for a consolation prize here by winning this tournament. They’ve appeared in two of the last three finals, although surprisingly didn’t reach the final of the last Copa America, which was held in Argentina, going out in the quarter-final to Uruguay.
Brazil looked destined for a place in their own World Cup final last year, but it all went terribly wrong in the 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the semi-final. It’s easy to be critical in hindsight, but those that remember the whole tournament will recall that Brazil didn’t really play all that well. They huffed and puffed through the group stage, then only just overcame Chile on penalties in the second round. They followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Colombia in the quarter-final, but again it was an incredibly tight match, and Colombia came out with as many plaudits in defeat as Brazil did in victory. In Neymar they have one of the best players in the world, and with Dunga in his second spell in charge, there is a new steel to the national side that has won its last 8 matches since the World Cup. They are big contenders, and Brazil have taken 4 of the last 6 Copa America titles, so they can never be ruled out.
Colombia will have plenty of backers after a World Cup in which they became many people’s favourite second team. They played with an attacking zest, and James Rodriguez scored the goal of the tournament with his wonder-volley against Brazil. They could be entering another golden era, and will hope to emulate the Copa America winning side of 2001. They’ve been regular semi-finalists in the modern era, and won the tournament on home soil 14 years ago when they beat Mexico 1-0 in the final.
Chile – +600 with Bet365
Our tip is on the host nation Chile, who have been considered dark horses for several recent international tournaments. They have a unique attacking style of football that is a breath of fresh air on the international scene, but their talents are probably too well-exposed now to call them dark horses. Leading the line is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, and they showed with their 2-0 defeat of Spain that they can hold their own with the best. Many neutral observers would have thought that Chile deserved to win their second round match against Brazil, and they have to be considered unlucky to have exited the tournament on penalties. They’ve never won a Copa America but they’ve reached at least the semi-final of every tournament they’ve hosted, and they won’t have a better chance this than when the competition is in front of their own fans.
Uruguay – +1200 with Betfred
Uruguay have one of the best partnerships up front in international football with Cavani and Suarez, but the difficulty for the national side is coming up with a team structure behind them to support them. The difference between the side when Suarez played and when he was not available in the World Cup was more than noticeable, and the team looked a little pedestrian without him. The tactic seemed to revolve around playing a solid and defensive back four and midfield, which would sit behind the ball and allow Suarez and Cavani to do the damage on the break. It was a tactic which worked against England and Italy in the group stages, but predictably they fell short in the second round without Suarez after the infamous biting incident, and they lost 2-0 to Colombia. Despite their striking talent, we’re not convinced they’ve got enough quality throughout the team to support it.
To win the 2015 Copa America, 11th June – 4th July 2015
Chile – +600 with Bet365
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