June 3, 2011
11 nations will try to stop Brazil from clinching their third consecutive Copa America
The Brazilians will affront this challenge guided by Santos rising star Neymar in what will be Mano Meneses’ debut in an official competitions with the five times FIFA World Cup winners.
By Andrew Hill
From July 1st-24th the 43rd edition of the Copa America will be held in Argentina with the participation of 12 countries: the hosts, Colombia, Costa Rica and Bolivia (group A), Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela (group B), Uruguay, Chile, Mexico and Peru (Group C). The first and second place of each group, along with the two overall best third places will then advanced to the quarter finals to begin the knock out phase.
Hosting the competition, having 2010 FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi as their leader, and not winning the title since 1993 do nothing but add all the pressure of clinching the championship to Argentina. Runners up of the past two editions, the Argentineans can’t stand another humiliation against their archrivals, Brazil, not in their home land, for it would turn their fans against them and more than likely roll some heads, specifically coach Sergio Batista’s one, dictating the end of his cycle.
Argentina is not only the country to have hosted the most Copa America editions with nine –including the upcoming one-, but also the one to have reached to more finals with 26 presences and with more titles as well with 14 –along Uruguay- . But since their last title was won in Ecuador they have fallen into an 18-year draught in all competitions. Despite this bad streak they are still considered as a world power in the game, thanks to their two FIFA World Cup championships from 1978 and 1986, a credit that threatens to run out if results don’t start to come along.
Besides Argentina, Brazil’s biggest threats towards the title are Uruguay and Mexico.
Batista’s plans are to make his team play like FC Barcelona, with a classic 4-3-3 scheme where everything turns around their star Leonel Messi. The question is if in such a small period of time –less than one year in charge- he will be successful to do so in the Copa America, where their margin of error is of 0%.
That scheme is the same that defending champions Brazil head coach Mano Meneses has been implementing since he took over Dunga’s charge after the 2010 FIFA World Cup elimination, with the big difference that their game spins around their rising star Neymar, and not a consecrated one as Messi. But probably the biggest difference lies in the pressure that these two archrivals will experience. After winning the last four out of five editions the Copa America is not a pending business for Brazil, and not disputing it at home also takes some more pressure off their shoulders, which gives them a wider margin error than the hosts.
Besides Argentina, Brazil’s biggest threats towards the title are Uruguay and Mexico with their fearsome young strikers Edison Cavani and Chicharito Hernandez respectively. Both players signed wonderful campaigns in their clubs: Cavani netted the ball 33 times with Napoli, while Hernadez had 20 goals in his debut season with Manchester United.
This Copa America will be played during the transfer market in Europe, and good individual performances could open doors to players to better contracts or transfers to better teams. The players know this well, therefore the intensity of the games will be atop, guarantying the fans a Copa America packed of great games.
About the Author
When it comes to sports, Andrew Hill is more than just a passionate fan. Despite being in the early years of his career as a journalist, which began in 2006, he has proven that he can translate that passion into truthful and objective information of interest for the sports betting industry. As of today he specializes in the coverage of European soccer and NCAA basketball for BetIAS’ website.