South America's historic quadrennial football Championship - Copa América - will have its 46th edition this summer. The tournament organized by CONMEBOL will be hosted by Brazil, where defending champions Chile will look to defend their title.
12 nations will be a participating in this edition of the tournament where Japan and Qatar have been invited as guest nations. The final of the tournament will take place at the Maracanã Stadium.
The draw for the tournament had been held on 24th January 2019 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The 12 teams were drawn into three groups of four by selecting one team from each of the 4 ranked pots.
There are very strong sides competing this year and the tournament will be something to watch out for.
Here are the top 3 favorite teams to win the CONMEBOL Copa América 2019:
Uruguay are strong contenders for this year's Copa América under the management of veteran coach Oscar Tabarez. Uruguay holds the record for most Copa América titles won with 15 and will be looking to extend their record. The team boasts of world class players such as Barcelona's Luis Suarez, PSG's Edison Cavani and Diego Godin.
Uruguay has one of the best attacks in the tournament in the form of attacking duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani leading the line. Suarez is expected to miss the first part of the tournament with an injury and could be replaced in starting eleven with Cristhian Stuani. The Girona forward has had an amazing season for Girona, scoring 20 goals in all competitions.
The midfield, an area where Uruguay is blessed with talents such as Arsenal's midfield engine Lucas Torreira, Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus and Matias Vecino of Inter Milan. Federico Valverde, who was promoted to the Real Madrid first team set up by Santiago Solari, is another player to watch out for in the Uruguay midfield.
Uruguay has a formidable defensive pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, bot of whom play at Atletico Madrid. They form a reliable partnership to protect Fernando Muslera in goal. The Galatasaray man will be the first choice Goalkeeper and will be backed up by Martin Campana.
With such a strong squad, Uruguay will be force to be reckoned with at the tournament in Brazil.
Argentina have not endured the best of times over the last few years on the International front.Their last major trophy win was all the way back in 1993 when they won the Copa América. Lifting a trophy with the National team is one of Lionel Messi's unachieved dreams and the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner is almost guaranteed to be at his personal best in Brazil. The 23-man Argentina squad is a mixture of both experience and youth and could be just what Argentina need to lift the trophy.
The Argentinian attack is most likely to be lead by Messi with Aguero up top. Argentina are blessed with a wealth of options going forward, such as Juventus star Dybala, PSG's Angel Di Maria, and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.
There is no shortage of midfielders for the La Albiceleste, with Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso and Roberto Pereyra, all looking for a place in the starting lineup. Lo Celso who had a great season in La Liga for Betis scoring 16 goals, will be looking to replicate that form with the National team.
The Argentinian defense has both experience and young blood. Nicolas Otamendi who won the league with Manchester City this season will be looking to step up his performance for Argentina. Young players such as Ajax's Nicolas Tagliafico will be looking to prove themselves at the big stage. The first choice goalkeeper will be the experienced Franco Armani of River Plate.
Argentina will be looking to win their first major trophy in 26 years and will be an exciting team to watch this summer.
The current Brazil team is one of the most complete teams in the world with world class players in nearly every position. Under the management of Tite, Dani Alves will be leading Brazil this summer. They have the advantage of being the host nation and will be expected to do great things in the tournament. All eyes will be on Neymar as the Brazilian superstar plays in front his home crowd. Brazil last won the title in 2007, where they beat Argentina 3-0 in the final.
Even though there have been some surprising omissions from the squad by Tite - Marcelo and Fabinho to name a few - there are quality players to replace them.
The duty to lead Brazil's attack will be on PSG's Neymar along with Barcelona's Philipe Coutinho and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus. These names need no introduction in the context of world football. They can tear any defence apart on their day. Roberto Firmino is also another choice to play as striker. Richarlison, who had a great season with Everton and David Neres who had a splendid season with Ajax are also available for selection.
The midfield options are stacked with Arthur Melo (FC Barcelona), Casemeiro (Real Madrid), Lucas Pacqueta (AC Milan), Fernadinho (Manchester City) and Allan (Napoli). It will be a tough job for the manager to pick the starting midfield as there is so much talent on display.
The defensive options Brazil posses are very diverse.The right back spot will be probably occupied by Dani Alves (PSG) and will be backed up by Fagner (Corinthians). The left back options are Alex Sandro (Juventus) and Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid). Eder Militao (FC Porto), Thiago Silva, Marquinos (both from PSG), Miranda (Inter Milan), all provide quality options in the central defence area. In goal, Brazil have both Allison and Ederson, who were the best goalkeepers in the Premier league this season.
Brazil are strong favorites to win the title this year with such a strong squad. It will be a exciting tournament to watch as the next champion of South America will be crowned at the Maracana this summer.Published 04 Jun 2019, 14:15 IST