Predicting the Entire 2019 Copa America
The 2019 Copa América will be the 46th edition of the tournament, and the third one in the last four years. Hosts Brazil kick-off the tournament today with Brazil -- minus Neymar -- facing Bolivia. Chile have won the last two championships, in 2015 and 2016 -- the Copa Centenario. So here's a rundown of each team's chances.
Brazil will favourites to win, simply because they have plenty of talent on show. Their defence and attack are balanced and include a mixture of youth and experience, which will help as the tournament goes on. There's the additional benefit of having the home crowd behind them. Not having Neymar will help Brazil rather than halt their progress, with the focus now more on the team rather than their talisman.
Venezuela can throw up a few surprises in the tournament. Their recent form has been fantastic, with high-profile wins against the USA and Argentina. The squad has a new ambition compared with three years ago, thanks to the work done at the youth level -- the Under-20 team went all the way to the World Cup final in 2017. With the pace of Josef Martinez and the strength of Solomon Rondon, they can threaten. Venezuela are good enough to finish an third place.
The only real way Bolivia can score a point is because they are an unknown quantity -- team's might not know what to expect.
Last year in the World Cup, Peru were one of the unlucky teams. Despite having put in good performances against France and Denmark, there was not much to show for it. And since then, it has been a disappointing time for Peru. They're likely to finish third in their group and miss out on the knockout stage.
Colombia are one team to watch this tournament. They have kept together most of the squad from the World Cup, and although their game time under under new coach Carlos Queiroz has been limited. Even so, the experience of playing together in the World Cup should help them in this tournament. Colombia are likely to make the semi-final. And if they do get there, James Rodriguez will have to be the leader to inspire his team on.
Argentina will always be in contention as long as they have Lionel Messi in their side. But they'll also struggle, just like they have done for a number of years now since their defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa final. Despite Messi's presence, they're like to go out as early as the quarterfinals. If they do go further, it'll have more to do with individual performances rather than the team coming together.
Paraguay have struggled in recent times, only winning one game in their last six. They could still sneak out of the group stage in third place, finishing below Colombia and Argentina. The defence will be key to how they do, but they do not have the quality to make a deep run in the tournament.
They are likely to come last in their group. They will get their chances and might even play well, but ultimately it may be a step too far for them to take as compared with their Asian Cup triumph.
Their group should be easy enough to navigate, with Chile out of form and neither Ecuador or Japan at their level. The mix of experience and youth they have in the squad can lead them all the way to the final. With Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up top, there is always something for the opposition to worried about. Their midfield knows how to play together, having done so at the World Cup and during qualification. Diego Godin at the back will also play a key role in organising his defence, another reason they're hard to beat.
They have an aging squad and the heartbeat of their side, Alexis Sanchez, is not fully fit or in good form. This will ultimately lead to Chile struggling in this tournament. They haven’t looked great in recent friendlies, having to work hard to beat Haiti 2-1 earlier in the month.
Ecuador, too, do not seem like a threat to any of the other sides and could go out in the group stage. Their squad strength is fairly average, and their captain Antonio Valencia simply hasn’t played enough football this season. Copa America’s future will include an Ecuadorian challenge following strong performances at the under-20 level, but just not now.
A hard-working side, Japan have enough to get out of their group. They were impressive during the World Cup, beating Colombia and were very unlucky against Belgium. Their hard work should get them to the quarterfinal stage, but probably not beyond. They will be eager to show they're not just making up the numbers.
Brazil 3-0 Bolivia
Venezuela 2-0 Peru
Bolivia 1-1 Peru
Brazil 2-2 Venezuela
Bolivia 1-2 Venezuela
Peru 1-3 Brazil
Table - 1st Brazil, 2nd Venezuela, 3rd Peru, 4th Bolivia
Argentina 1 vs 2 Colombia
Paraguay 2 vs 1 Qatar
Colombia 2 vs 0 Qatar
Argentina 1 vs 0 Paraguay
Qatar 0 vs 2 Argentina
Colombia 0-0 Paraguay
Table - 1st Colombia, 2nd Argentina, 3rd Paraguay, 4th Qatar
Uruguay 2-0 Ecuador
Japan 2-1 Chile
Uruguay 3-1 Japan
Ecuador 0-0 Chile
Chile 0-1 Uruguay
Ecuador 1-2 Japan
Table - 1st Uruguay, 2nd Japan, 3rd Chile, 4th Ecuador
Brazil 2-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-1 Argentina
Colombia 3-2 Japan
Uruguay 1-1 Paraguay (Uruguay to advance on penalties)
Brazil 2-0 Venezuela
Colombia 0-1 Uruguay
Venezuela 3-1 Colombia
Brazil 1-1 Uruguay (Brazil win on penalties)