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5 teams who will be the strongest contenders for Copa America 2016

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8.19K   //    01 Jun 2016, 16:26 IST

While most teams get to keep their crown for four years, Chile’s maiden triumph in the Copa America in 2015 will last only for a year as the Copa America celebrates its 100th anniversary with a tournament in the USA featuring 16 teams.

With the tournament taking place in North America, the chance of a couple of upset victories for teams from the continent shouldn’t be ruled out. But as far as the tournament goes, the contenders will largely be the usual suspects.

Here are the 5 teams who will be the strongest contenders for Copa America 2016.

5) Brazil

Copa America 2016 contenders Brazil Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho could prove instrumental for Brazil in the absence of Neymar

The loss of Neymar, who will be representing Brazil in the Olympics is certainly a huge blow to Brazil’s chances of winning their ninth Copa America but the return of the prodigal son, Kaka is a huge boost, especially after an impressive season at Orlando City in the MLS. With Philippe Coutinho, Willian and Lucas Moura also occupying the attacking midfield positions, they certainly won’t be short of creative players.

While it is true that they have struggled to find a striker to adequately lead the line, not for the lack of trying, they still have Hulk and Santos striker Gabriel, who is in good form. The addition of Lucas gives them pace on the flanks while Kaka provides them with an experienced head in attacking midfield.

The lack of a true goalscorer might come back to haunt Brazil but the fact that they have plenty of attacking midfielders who can chip in with goals should help them but Dunga’s defensive tactics and preference for two defensive midfielders means they are unlikely to be especially creative.

Although Brazil are usually not renowned for their defence, in Marquinhos and Miranda form a fantastic centre-back pairing and they have good full backs in Dani Alves and Filípe Luís and behind them is the keeper with the most number of penalty saves in La Liga history, Diego Alves. And they will rely on tight defence to give them a chance against teams with much better attacks than theirs.

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