Copa America Group A - Teams & Odds Analysis

Copa America Group A - Teams & Odds Analysis

This summer will be full of football. Euros and Copa America are going to be played simultaneously, so this means 24/7 football during some days.
These tournaments will be played simultaneously due to the Corona pandemic, and there are some changes in the format. This time there are only 10 teams in Copa America, placed into two groups.

All teams are from the region of South America. No Qatar nor Australia who had to withdraw from the competition. 
Four teams from each group will qualify for the playoffs. Games will start from the 13th of June and Group Stage will be finished on 28th of June.
Two games per day V three games per day in Euros. That's what we were waiting for. As expected, the main favourites are Brazil and Argentina, business as usual.
Brazil odds to lift the trophy are mainly between 1.9 to 2.2. Argentina odds are around 3.75. Colombia is the third favourite with odds around 7, followed by Uruguay with odds around 9 in Copa America.

Argentina, 2nd favourite to win Copa America

The heavy favourite to win the South zone with odds of 1.5. Rightly so I would say. There are not many markets available for this tournament yet, so I'm not going to suggest any side bets yet.
The squad value is around 720m, and the team is lead by Leo Messi, of course. As they have FIFA World Cup qualifiers games coming before Copa America, I'm going to check the squads for these games.
Biggest notable missings are Paulo Dybala from Juventus, Giovanni Simeone from Cagliari and Roberto Pereyra from Udinese.

Goalkeepers - Franco Armani from River Plate has been a go-to guy so far for Scaloni. Fifteen games for the team only, but the most experienced goalkeeper on the international level in the list.
Agustin Marchesin from Porto is the second most experienced, with only seven games. He plays for Porto for the second season. 
For me, the number one should be Emiliano Martinez as a potential debutant for the national team. The reason? He had an amazing season for Aston Villa in the England Premier League.
Before this, he got some games for Arsenal and Reading in the Championship.

Defenders - Nicolas Otamendi from Benfica and Nicolas Tagliafico from Ajax should have a guaranteed starting spot. Most experienced with 74 and 28 games.
Otamendi played for Manchester City for years before moving to Benfica and has many highest level games under his belt.
Tagliafico has been playing regularly in the Champions League for Ajax and has been under the radar of some top clubs for years by now.
German Pezzella has been a regular for Fiorentina in Serie A for the last four seasons and Juan Foyth played in the Europa League final for Villarreal.
23 years old Lisandro Martinez moved to Ajax 2 seasons ago and has been a regular starter since the move from the Argentina league. 
Lucas Martinez Quarta had a debut season for Fiorentina in Italy Serie A with 21 games and 1 goal. A potential starter on the right side is Gonzalo Ariel Montiel from River Plate. 

Midfielders - PSG duo Angel Di Maria (104 games with 20 goals) and Leandro Paredes (27/3) should be in the starting lineup. Paredes has been more of a fringe player in the team but has a nice connection with his teammate.
On the opposite wing with Di Maria should be Marcos Acuna from Sevilla. Both are scary fast players and the most experienced midfielders in the Argentina team.
They also have the luxury of having a Serie A trio of Rodrigo De Paul (21 games) from Udinese (9 goals in 36 games), Nicolas Dominguez (8/1) from Bologna (28/1) and Joaquin Correa (5/2) from Lazio (28/8). Not many games for Argentina, but all three are established players in a top league and regular starters.
Exequiel Palacios from Leverkusen has been injured for most of the last two seasons, so I don't think he will have a big game during the competition.
Lucas Ocampos has 19 goals in his last two seasons for the Sevilla team, and then there are, of course, Emiliano Buendia.
A debut game for the national team should be in the cards at least for the Norwich midfielder who had a fantastic season in the England Championship.
15 goals, and had a full season in the Premier League a season ago.

Attackers - 'Probably' the last Copa America for the talismanic and one of the best who has ever stepped on the green grass, Leo Messi. 71 goals in 142 games for Argentina. 12 seasons for Barcelona with at least 25 goals per season mixed with some seasons with over 40 goals. It's now or never for him and for another iconic striker.
Sergio Aguero has 41 goals in 97 games but has lost his place in Manchester City this season, mainly due to injuries.
Four goals in 16 games this season, but he has been around 20 goals per season goal machine in England Premier League for years.
Luckily for Argentina fans, they have Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan. Only 23 years old and already with 11 goals in 21 games. That's a goal in his every second game. 17 goals in Serie A this season, amazing for a 23 year old striker partnered with Lukaku in his team.
Fresh Spanish league winner Angel Correa is a constant goal threat. 2 goals in 12 games for the national team and 9 goals for Athletico Madrid this season.
Lucas Alario had an 11 goal season for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, and Nicolas Ivan Gonzalez had six goals in 15 games in the same league for Stuttgart.

Prediction

Everything except a final against Brazil would be a huge disappointment for this team in Copa America. Even the playoffs bracket has been built so that both groups winners would lock their horns in the final only. Messi needs a triumph for the national team as he has won everything on the club level possible, but at the moment will be remembered as a leader who has failed to bring the trophies for the national team. Copa America? Why not.

 

Bolivia

Bolivia is the outsider of the group. Odds of around 80 to win the group, while the second-worst has the odds around 20. Bolivias last two Copa Americas group stages have finished with goals 4 to 16.
Four scored and sixteen conceded goals with o points in 6 games. Around 99% of the squad consists of players from the local leagues, mixed with two players in the Greece league, 1 in Brazil, Chile, Italy and Switzerland.
The squad value is around 10m before Copa America.

Goalkeepers - The most experienced goalkeeper is Carlos Lampe from Always Ready with 34 games. Ruben Cordano from Bolivar and Javier Rojas, also from Bolivar, has 1 game each.
The fact that 2 of the goalkeepers are playing in the same team and covering one another shows the poor quality of this position.

Defenders - Diego Bejarano from Bolivar and Jose Sagredo from The Strongest are players with over 20 games for the national team. Luis Haquin is the rare players playing outside from the local league, for Melipilla in the Chile league. Oscar Ribera has 13 games and plays for Blooming. Another player outside of the local league is Adrian Jusino with 12 games and plays in Greece for AEL.

Midfielders - Leonel Justiniano from Bolivar has 28 games and 1 goal. Danny Bejarano plays for Lamia in Greece and has 26 games. Erwin Saavedra plays for Bolivar and has 24 games and 2 goals.
The next most experienced are Ramiro Vaca from The Strongest and Henry Vaca from Oriente, both with 7 games for the national team.

Attackers  - High hopes for the goals are on Marcelo Moreno from Cruzeiro, Brazil. 22 goals in 81 games. This means that he has scored alone twice as many goals as the rest of the team combined. 36 years old Juan Carlos Arce from Always Ready has 12 goals in 74 games. 19 years old Jaume Cuellar has 0 games for the national team, but has been in Spal academy in Italy and earned 2 games in the Serie A.

It will be tough games for the Bolivians once again, and every point is history in the making. There's a good mix of young players in the team and the target should be to offer some good games and experience for the next generation during Copa America.

Uruguay

Uruguay is the second favourite in the group behind Argentina in Copa America. For me, the team has always been representing the hard and tough playing style.
Always fighting until the end and is an extremely difficult opponent to anyone.
There has been a core pair of strikers and defenders for many tournaments for Uruguay. For me, they have lacked creative midfielders and wingers.
This time, they have more options and more settled midfield and who knows, maybe there's a surprise coming. The squad value is 340m.

Goalkeepers - Fernando Muslera is the man between the sticks for sure. 116 games already and currently plays for Galatasaray. Had a lot of seasons in Italy for  Lazio. Martin Campana plays for Al-Batin and has only 9 games. Sergio Rochet from Nacional doesn't have any games for the national team yet before Copa America.

Defenders - A pair of central defenders with a huge experience. Diego Godin from Cagliari with 139 games and Martin Caceres from Fiorentina with 102 games. Being already 34 and 35 years old, they are looking to Jose Maria Gimenez from Athletico Madrid. 60 games, 8 goals and Spain Champion this season. These 3 players are absolute cornerstones of this defence, and Godin has played many seasons with Gimenez in Spain side by side.
30 years old Sebastian Coates has been integral and one of the best defenders in the Portugal league for many seasons for Sporting. 40 games for the national team. Matias Vina from Palmeiras is a decent option on the wing, and 22 years old Ronald Araujo got 24 games and 2 goals this season for Barcelona. Diego Laxalt could be an option, he plays for Celtic but has several seasons in Serie A for 5 different clubs.

Midfielders - They have a strong trio of midfielders playing in Italy, Serie A. Matias Vecino from Inter has 41 games and 3 goals. Struggled this season due to injuries but has been an influential player for several seasons for Inter and Fiorentina. Nahitan Nandez has 35 games and plays for Cagliari. 2 seasons in a row as the main man for the team with 32 or more games.
Rodrigo Bentancur has 33 games and plays an important role in Juventus for his 4th season in a row.
Additionally to the Serie A trio, they also have a duo from Spain.
Lucas Torreira: 26 games for the national team and plays for Athletico Madrid. 19 games in Spain, but was in Arsenal for two seasons before that. He got the game time but didn't make a good impression there due to his personality. When he joined the Premier League from Sampdoria, he was coveted as one of the most promising in his position.
Fede Valverde has 2 goals in 22 games and plays for Real Madrid. 22 years old extremely versatile midfielder had a tough season because of injuries. He played himself into the picture season before.
From mostly defensive-minded midfielder into the influential box to box midfielder.
Mauro Arambarri from Getafe, Gaston Pereiro from Cagliari and Giorgian De Arrascaeta from Flamengo are the rest of the more excperienced midfielders in the mix for Copa America.

Attackers - Two absolutely excellent pieces of news in the attacker's section, but at the same time worrying news.
Luis Suarez has been one of the best strikers for several seasons. Moved from Barcelona to Athletico Madrid, the main reason, 34 years old. Has been the main provider in Liverpool and Barcelona since 2012.
63 goals for the national team in 116 games. Almost 150 goals for Barcelona and were ditched. Athletico Madri picked the too old guy up, and how he rewarded them for the trust? 21 goals and Spain Champions.
Similar situation with Edinson Cavani. 51 goals in 118 games for the national team. He was an absolute goal machine for PSG and Napoli since 2010. He was also too old for PSG and moved to Manchester United for this season.
10 goals in 26 games, mainly from the bench. 
These guys have been absolute legends and probably their last major tournament where they could shine. 24 years old Maxi Gomez have to fill these boots. 17 goals for Valencia during his last 2 seasons and 3 goals in 19 games for the national team. Or maybe 21 years old Darwin Nunez from Benfica? 6 goals this season in 29 games, but it seems like the potential is there.

For Uruguay and their legends, at least a semi-final spot is a must. Last chance for at least four legends to make something out for their beloved nation. If everything goes according to plan, they should meet Brazil in the semi-finals, and I am afraid that this would be a big upset if they beat them and reach the finals, but why not? 

Chile

Chile is the third favourite in this group, and rightly so. Just by looking at the squads, they should be above Paraguay and Bolivia for sure. Should they be so close to Uruguay? Not sure.
I have very bright memories of watching this team in the big tournaments before. This team were like never stopping the running—very fast-paced games with a lot of chances.
The usual lineup had three central defenders and wingers who ran up and down like shopping mall elevators. There's one issue with these tactics this time. The regular players who did the runs are now all over 34 years and older.

Goalkeepers - Claudi Bravo, with 126 games, is obviously the most experienced goalkeeper and plays for Real Betis. 20 games for the 38 years old goalkeeper who has also played for teams like Manchester City and Barcelona. Alternatives are Gabriel Arias with 13 games from Racing in Argentina and Gabriel Castellon from Huachipato, Chile and with 0 games.

Defenders - A lot of international experience in defence comes with age. Gary Medel, the bulldog, is 33 years old and plays for Bologna. The natural position is in the midfield and has been playing in Italy, Spain, Turkey and England.
Mauricio Isla is 32 years old and plays for Flamengo. Both have over 117 games for the national team. Isla has played a lot of seasons in Serie A on the top level before moving to Brazil. 37 years old Jean Beausejour has 109 games with 6 goals for the national team. He plays for Unido in Chile but has had some seasons also in England Premier League.
32 years old Eugenio Mena has 56 games and 3 goals, plays in the Argentina league for Racing.
Guillermo Maripan is the hottest name in the line at the moment. 26 games and 2 goals for the 27 years old Monaco player. Two seasons in France with 7 goals and 3 seasons in Spain.
Paulo Diaz from River has 27 games, and Enzo Roco from Fatih has 25 games.

Midfielders - Similar situation to defence. A lot of rather old legs have to do the job and lack of young talent coming up. 
Charles Aranguiz from Leverkusen is the most experienced with 80 games and 7 goals. I was just kidding. The most experienced, of course, is Arturo Vidal (34 years old), with 119 games and 32 goals in the midfield. Another bulldog in the team plays for Inter Milan and has been one of the most scared player in Serie A, German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga for different teams.
27 years old Eric Pulgar stands out due to his 27 games for the national team and 6 seasons in Italy Serie A.
Jose Pedro Fuenzalida is 36 years old midfielder from Universidad Catolica, 55 games and 5 goals for Chile.
Cesar Pinares has 14 games for the national team and plays for Gremio. The rest of the midfielders in the mix are all from South American leagues and with 10 or fewer games.

Attackers - Three strikers are standing out a lot thanks to their experience, goals and leagues they play in. Of course, the main man still is Alexis Sanchez from Inter Milan. 136 games and 45 goals for Chile.
Raised to a big game while playing in Udinese, Barcelona and Arsenal. He moved to Manchester United and never seemed to click in the team. He left to Inter and had a nice season with 7 goals in 30 games.
Eduardo Vargas have 93 games and 38 goals for Chile. He plays for Athletico Mineiro and has spent most of his career in South American leagues. He has also played in Italy Serie A, German Bundesliga, Spain La Liga and England Premier League but without big success.
Fabian Orellana is 35 years old striker from Valladolid and Spain La Liga. 43 games and 2 goals for Chile, but he had one of his most prosperous seasons in Spain with 6 goals.
Some high hopes on 22 years old Ben Brereton from Blackburn Rovers and England Championship. 7 goals in 40 games and could be one for the future.
20 years old Carlos Palacios banged in 8 goals last season in the Chile league before moving to Brazil and Internacional.

Paraguay

As 4 teams will qualify from five teams, it's a nice chance for Paraguay to reach to playoffs in this tournament. As the odds also suggest, they are the 4th favourite in this group, ahead of Bolivia.
They have managed to pull out some surprises despite being the underdogs the whole time.
Who remembers the 2010 World Cup? Paraguay won the group ahead of Slovakia, New Zealand and Italy. In 2019 Copa America, reached to quarterfinals and pushed the game against Brazil to penalties.
The lack of scoring goals and experience in the top leagues they should cover with attitude and cuts in Copa America.

Goalkeepers - Antony Silva from Puebla (Mexico league) and Roberto Fernandez from Botafogo (Brazil) are the only goalkeepers in the squad and recent call-ups with 17 or more games for Paraguay.

Defenders - Two defenders with more than 30 games for the national team and 3 defenders who play outside of South American leagues.
With 45 games and 3 goals, Gustavo Gomez plays for Palmeiras, and Junior  Alonso with 32 games and 1 goal plays for Atletico Mineiro.
Fabian Balbuena has 17 games and plays for West Ham United in England Premier League. 14 games this season only, mainly due to injuries. 
Omar Alderete has only 3 games for Paraguay but plays in German Bundesliga and for Hertha Berlin. 17 games this season, but was the starting defender a season before in Switzerland for Basel.
Blas Riveros moved from Switzerland and Basel to Brondby, in Denmark. A huge question mark as he has been injured a lot this season and during this year have had only 2 games.

Midfielders - There are 4 midfielders with more than 13 games for the national team in the mix—only 1 player who is playing in the top league.
Oscar Romero has 46 games and 4 goals for Paraguay and plays for San Lorenzo in Argentina. Richard Sanchez has 14 games and 1 goal and plays in Mexico League for America.
Rodrigo Rojas has 28 games and plays for Olimpia, whereas Celso Ortiz has 22 games and plays for Monterrey in Mexico.
Only Celso Ortiz has been playing in Europe. 6 seasons in the Netherlands league for AZ Alkmaar.
The only midfielder currently playing in a top league is Andres Cubas, with 3 games for the national team. Cubas moved to Nimes in French League from Argentina club Talleres Cordoba. Debut season and 27 games with one goal.

Attackers - The main reason for Paraguay being ahead of Bolivia in the odds are their strikers. The main man is Miguel Almiron from Newcastle. 29 games and 2 goals for the national team only, but got 4 goals in England Premier League during this and previous season. Angel Romer has more experience with 24 games and 6 goals, plays for San Lorenzo.
He shouldn't have many chances to play if Pablo Sanabria and Federico Santander are included in the squad.
Sanabria has 25 games and 1 goal for Paraguay but managed to score 5 times in 14 games for Torino in Italy Serie A. Playing in top-level since 2015 for Gjion, Betis, Genoa and Torino.
Federico Santander has 2 goals in 20 games for Paraguay. Only 2 games this season for Bologna due to injuries. In his debut season in Italy Serie A banged in 8 goals in 32 games.

The most important game for Paraguay will be against Bolivia for sure. I can't see Bolivia taking points from other teams, so it should be between them to decide who will take the last playoff spot in Copa America.

 


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