It will mostly be about Brazil in this group and a little about Colombia as well. The 2014 FIFA World Cup was a huge disappointment for entire Brazil, they were the hosts and everybody expected them to win, but they were literally outplayed by Germany in every aspect in the semi-finals. So Copa America will be their chance at redemption.
Colombia dazzled everyone at the World Cup with some good football and they would want to prove that they deserve the 4th place in the FIFA World Rankings. One cannot underestimate the likes of Peru and Venezuela as both these teams managed to reach the semi-finals at 2011 edition of the tournament.
Peru’s squad looks better than that of Venezuela on paper, but the lat has been growing as a footballing nation in recent years, so there might be some surprises.
Group C Schedule
|5||Colombia vs Venezuela||June 15||12:30 am||Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua|
|6||Brazil vs Peru||June 15||3:00 am||Estadio Municipal Bicentenario Germán Becker, Temuco|
|11||Brazil vs Colombia||June 18||5;30 am||Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago de Chile|
|12||Peru vs Venezuela||June 19||5:00 am||Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander, Valparaíso|
|17||Colombia vs Peru||June 22||12:30 am||Estadio Municipal Bicentenario Germán Becker, Temuco|
|18||Brazil vs Venezuela||June 22||3:00 am||Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago de Chile|
Of the 6 group matches, Santiago, the capital city of Chile and the South Chilean city of Temuco will host 2 matches each. The other two matches are scheduled to be held at Valparaiso, also known as the ‘Jewel of the Pacific‘ and Rancagua, a city which has one of the largest copper mines in the World. Estadio Municipal Bicentenario Germán Becker, Temuco will also host one of the quarterfinals.
|Estadio Municipal Bicentenario Germán Becker, Temuco||18,936|
|Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago de Chile||47,347|
|Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander, Valparaíso||20,575|
|Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua||15,2 52|
*capacity as per FIFA website.
The temperature in all the 4 cities is almost similar, with the average set to be around 15-18 degree Celsius. It will be mostly sunny and pleasant in Santiago and Rancagua, but you can expect thunderstorms or overcast conditions in Valparaiso and Temuco over the next month or so. The conditions will be pretty humid in all the 4 cities, and normally during this time of the year it would be around 80%-90%.
1) Brazil (FIFA Ranking – 5)
Brazil come into the Copa America desperate to regain some international credibility, a year after their disappointing World Cup performance where they got slaughtered by Germany. This would be the first major tournament for coach Dunga in his second Brazil stint. He had won the tournament back in 2007 with them.
They have won all their 8 friendly matches since Dunga took over from Scolari. Going by recent form at least, they should qualify for the next stage without many problems. However they are having a lot of injury issues already, with the likes of Oscar, Luis Gustavo, Marcelo and Diego Alves pulling out.
Veteran striker Robinho, who is having a thigh problem, is also doubtful. New faces include Internacional left back Geferson, midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco right -back Fabinho and Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto. Felipe Anderson has also kept ready on stand-by in case Robinho is not fit.
It will be up to Neymar to light up Chile 2015, he is their big star and everyone expects him to deliver, especially after the phenomenal season he had with Barcelona. With Robinho now doubtful, Firmino seems to be the likely candidate to partner Neymar upfront in case Dunga plays with two strikers.
It will be a new-look Brazilian midfield with the likes of Casemiro, Douglas Costa and Coutinho playing their first major tournament for Brazil. They will have to rely heavily on Liverpool man Coutinho for creativity and vision in the absence of Oscar.
Even with all the injuries, Brazil’s defence looks quite strong on paper with the likes of Thiago Silva, Miranda, David Luiz and Filipe Luis. After the World Cup semi-final debacle, this would be a good stage for them to redeem themselves. And it will be up to the youngsters like Marquinhos and Danilo to impress Dunga and push for a permanent place in the line-up.
Copa America offers the perfect chance for the Brazil team to bury the ghosts of the past and move on and focus on the next World Cup. Unlike previous Brazil teams that were filled with superstars, this team has only one, Neymar and he will need to be at his best if they are to win the championship.
Key player - Neymar
Colombia (FIFA Ranking – 4)
Colombia were the darling of the neutrals last year at the World Cup, with their attractive football, unique goal celebrations, wonder goals and of course James Rodriguez.. They have only won the tournament once in 2001, but they have a good chance this time around with a very talented and settled squad and a experienced coach like Jose Pekerman.
The squad, coached by Argentine Jose Pekerman, will feature a potent attack, including Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, who is looking to redeem himself after a disappointing season with Manchester United, Jackson Martinez, Teo Gutierrez and Carlos Bacca who is coming on the back of a great season with Sevilla.
It will be the defence that Pekerman will be worried about, as with Mario Yepes now retired, they are looking for new centre-backs, and highly rated Jeison Murillo of Granada
could just be given the opportunity to prove his worth. 23-year-old wing back Santiago Arias is one to look out for. They can still count on experienced goalkeeper David Ospina between the sticks
They will look to use this Copa America to soldify their status as a Latin American powerhouse. They should go through with the array of attacking talent they have in their side. James Rodriguez along with captain Falcao will have to play a major role if they are to upset the likes of Brazil and Argentina and win the trophy.
Key Player - James Rodriguez
Peru (FIFA Ranking – 61)
Peru come into the Copa America with a lot of experienced players in their line-up. They have a lot of experience throughout the team with the likes of Juan Manuel Vargas, Jefferson Farfan, Claudio Pizarro, Carlos Zambrano, Luis Advincula, Christian Ramos and Yoshimar Youtin in their team.
Coach Gareca has only managed the side for two matches, but he has already decided the system and style of play.
Peru’s defence looks a bit lightweight on paper and will look up to experienced centre-back Carlos Zambrano to hold it together. Defensive midfield duo of Josepmir Ballon and Carlos Lobaton are expected to start with Schalke’s Juanfran handling the playmaking duties. They have good wing players in Andre Carrillo and Juan Manuel Vargas, and Gareca plans to use their speed and trickery to good effect.
Flamengo forward, Paolo Guerrero will most probably lead the line, and he is coming into the tournament in good form, having scored 12 goals in 19 appearances in Brazil. This also means Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizzaro will be on the bench.
Peru finished 3rd in the last edition, but this year the competition seems to be way tougher, as teams like Chile and Colombia are a lot more stronger. But qualifying to the next round is possible if they can finish as one of the two best 3rd-placed teams in the competition. They will use the tournament to test themselves before the World Cup qualifying round begins.
Key player - Paolo Guerrero
Venezuela ( FIFA Ranking – 72)
Venezuela, unlike their neighbours, have never been viewed as a footballing nation. However since the 2007 Copa America which they hosted, they have improved drastically as more investment came into football.
In the 2011 Copa America, Venezuela made history by qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time their history and finished fourth in the tournament. The stars of the team are Rayo Vallecano’s Miku and Salomon Rondon of Zenit St. Petersburg.
Most of their players have international experience and 11 of their 23 players currently play their club football in Europe, so this is a squad that has been constantly improving.
The results haven't gone their way since Noel Sanvicente took the reigns of the team but that could easily change in the Copa America since this will be the first time Sanvicente will have enough time to work with his players.
They have an experienced goalkeeper in Dani Hernandez, who plays for Tenerife in Spain while the main players in defence are Malaga man Roberto Rosales and Nantes centreback Oswaldo Vizcarrondo. 35-year-old Juan Arango has been in fine form for Club Tijuana in Mexico and Venezuela will rely heavily on his playmaking ability while Genoa's Tomas Rincon will play the anchor role in midfield. Miku might start on the left and then cut inside with Salomon Rondon playing as the main striker up-front.
Their realistic target would be 3rd position in the table behind Brazil and Colombia and qualify for the next round as one of the best 3rd-placed teams.
Key Player – Salomon Rondon
- Brazil vs Colombia – This would be a repeat of last year’s World Cup quarter-final where Brazil beat Colombia 2-1. If the Colombian defence can neutralize the Brazilian attack, then there is a real chance for them to beat Brazil as their strike force is very much capable of completing the job.
- Peru vs Venezuela – This fixture will probably decide who finishes third and who could progress to the next round as the best 3rd-placed team. Peru looks the better team on paper but Venezuela is a rapidly improving team so it will be a tight match.
Brazil to go through as table toppers with Colombia finishing second. It will be very difficult for Peru and Venezuela to qualify as they might concede a few against the other two teams. This might just hamper their chances of going through as the best 3rd-placed team.Published 10 Jun 2015, 21:19 IST