Copa America Group B - Teams & Odds Analysis

Copa America Group B - 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.

 

Brazil, Copa America favourites

The main favourite to lift the Copa America trophy at the end of the tournament. Average odds around 2.1 to 2.3, squad value over 900m and on the paper always the favourites in Copa America and World Cup. Brazil won the competition last time but dropped out already in the group stage the competition before. This shows that surprises can happen, and the heavy favourites have to work hard to justify the odds.

Goalkeepers - You can check any of the top 10, or even the top 5 current goalkeepers list, and you can see the dilemma Tite has. I would say that Brazil has two goalkeepers in the top 5 at the moment. Recent Premier League winner Ederson from Manchester City and previous Premier League winner Alisson from Liverpool. Alisson has 44, and Ederson has 11 games for the national team, but what a luxury, or a disaster for either of them, as both can't start at the same time.

Defenders - The man, the myth, the legend Dani Alves was called up for WC games but withdrawn due to injury. There's a hope he will be ready for the Copa America games and get probably his last chance on the higher stage. 118 games with 8 goals for the right-back who plays in the Brazil league at the moment. 17 seasons in the top leagues and 38 different trophies for the 38 years old.
The second defender in the 'legend' status is, of course, Thiago Silva from Chelsea. 93 games and seven goals, current Champions League winner and has been a rock in the defence in the top leagues for over a decade.
Marquinhos from PSG, with 51 games and two goals, should be a starter in the defence. Played several seasons with Thiago Silva in PSG, and they have a strong understanding between them. Has been in PSG as a regular starter since 2012.
Back up centre backs are Eder Militao from Real Madrid and Diego Carlos from Sevilla. Diego has 0 games for Brazil but has been in top form in Spain for the past 5 seasons. Eder has been a back-up in Real Madrid behind Ramos and Varane, but when given the nod has been delivering.
On the wings, there's fresh Spanish La Liga Champions from Athletico Madrid. Felipe and Renan Lodi. 10 games combined for the national team, but both have been regulars in Spain. 22 years old Emerson from Real Betis have only 1 game for Brazil but has been a regular in Spain for 2 seasons. A duo of wingers from Juventus - Danilo and Alex Sandro has over 20 games and one goal for Brazil. Several seasons in top leagues for Juventus, Manchester City and Real Madrid for this pair.

Midfielders - Not very usual that the most capped player in the Brazil midfield is a player who is more known for his defensive capabilities. 48 games and 3 goals for Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro. The only competition for him is offered by Coutinho (63 games and 18 goals), who is struggling with injuries in Barcelona.
Arthur from Juventus and Allan from Everton have had injury-ridden seasons. Allan was a regular in Serie A for several seasons for Napoli and Udinese.
Arthur changed the Barcelona shirt for Juventus this season.
23 years old Lucas Paqueta has 13 games and 2 goals for Brazil and plays for Lyon in France. The young midfielder was a sensation in Flamengo before he joined AC Milan. He never lived up to the expectations and moved to Lyon last year. 30 games and 9 goals and rightly in the national team once again. His teammate Bruno could earn a call for the team after his 33 games and 3 goals.
Then there's a midfield trio from Premier League. Fabinho from Liverpool with 12 games and 0 goals, Fred from Manu with 11 games and 0 goals and Douglas Luiz with 5 games and 0 goals from Aston Villa. Douglas grew to be a regular in Premier League during the last 2 seasons, the same story with Fred. Everton Ribeiro from Flamengo is also in the latest squad.

Attackers - Neymar, 64 goals in 103 games for Brazil. During his four seasons spell in PSG, he hasn't had a season with over 20 games but still averages like 15 goals per season. The reason is injuries and saving him for Champions League games. He is fully fit to terrorize the defences during Copa America, and there's a huge burden on his shoulders to carry the team.
His partners in crime will be a trio from England Premier League.
Roberto Firmino (48/16) from Liverpool, Gabriel Jesus (41/18) from Manchester City and Richarlison (23/8) from Everton. Firmino is well-known quality for Premier League and Bundesliga fans, a decade in these top leagues. Gabriel Jesus has been a constant 25 plus games striker for Premier League champions, and Richarlison has been in nice form for Everton in his last 3 seasons.
25 years old Everton have 18 games and 3 goals for Brazil. He earned a move to Benfica from Gremio and had 7 goals in his debut season.
Gabriel Barbosa from Flamengo has two goals in 5 games but has been a constant 20 plus goals threat in Brazil league per calendar year.
20 years old Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo from Real Madrid are in the mix. 4 games combined so far, but they should be the future goal threats for the Brazil national team. Both had over 20 appearances last season in Spain, and considering how young they are, there are high hopes on them.
22-year-old Matheus Cunha should be knocking on the door if he wouldn't have picked up an injury just before the season finished in Germany. Had seven goals for Hertha Berlin and 5 goals in 15 games a year before.

Brazil is always one of the main favourites to lift the trophy. Be it Copa America or a World Cup, until we speak about football competitions, of course. World-class players in every line, 2 goalkeepers from the current world top 5 list, many top leagues champions during the last 3 years span mixed with some Champions Leagues winners over the previous three years span. A lack of goals from the midfield department shouldn't be a worrying sign. Since the 4-3-3 formation, the 3 midfielders chosen are with other tasks, except Paqueta in the current team. Casemiro is not a goal-shy for Real Madrid also, and players like Firmino, Vini, Richarlison and Ney are all very multi-talented regarding the positions they need and could play.

Colombia

Colombia is the third favourite after Brazil and Argentina to win the Copa America. They had a huge setback after it was confirmed that James Rodriguez is not called up due to injury, and Juan Fernando Quintero had tested positive to Covid. Two influential midfielders for the team and James with 23 goals in 80 games. Also, important defender Jeison Murillo and iconic striker Radamel Falcao face the truth of missing Copa America.
Santiago Arias from Leverkusen has missed almost the whole season in Germany and has over 50 games for the national team. It's five very important players who all would be probable starters.
Still, it would need a miracle or two to stay as the last team in the group stage. How they are bigger favourites than Uruguay is a mystery for me. Unfortunately, there are no odds to bet on Uruguay to reach further.
The squad value is 256m.

Goalkeepers - David Ospina is the most experienced player with 106 games in the squad for WC games. He plays for Napoli as a rotation goalkeeper with no more than 17 games in his last 3 seasons in Italy, Serie A. Other goalkeepers are Camilo Vargas from Atlas with 9 games and Aldair Quintana from Atletico Nacional with 0 games for Colombia.

Defenders - The core of the defence is Yerry Mina (27/7) from Everton and Davinson Sanchez (33) from Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs defender was regular for 3 seasons until the last season, where he got 18 games. Mina has been a regular in Everton in the last two seasons. There should be Stefan Medina from Monterrey (22 games) and William Tesillo from Leon (14 games and 1 goal) on the wings. Oscar Murillo has 17 games and plays for Pachuca. Carlos Cuesta played for Genk and was called up for a debut game. Hope that Johan Mojica from Elche will be fit enough to earn a call for the Copa America squad. 

Midfielders - Juan Cuadrado with 95 games and 8 goals is more known as a defender, but has been playing in the midfield and as a winger for Juventus and Colombia in recent games. 33 years old and still going strong. His good crossing and technical ability are highly valued and thus should be more valuable in his new position with less defensive and more offensive duties.
The next two most experienced players are Edwin Cardona with 40 games and five goals from Boca Juniors and Wilmar Barrios with 34 games from Zenit, Russia.
I didn't think that neither of them will be a starter and the first WC game against Peru confirmed this.
Instead, Mateus Uribe should be a starter in the midfield. He has had 2 great seasons for Porto and has 30 games and four goals for Colombia.
Jefferson Lerma from Bournemouth had a great season in England Championship and 33 games in the season before in England Premier League. 
Two potential starters are Gustavo Cuellar with eight games and from Al-Hilal and Luis Diaz with 17 games and 2 goals, also from Porto.
Obviously, a nice connection with Uribe; both are playing as regulars in Porto during the last 2 seasons.

Attackers - Even more meaningful connection is in the attacking line. Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel. 21 games and 4 goals V 37 games and 7 goals. Not too many goals nor games for 30 years old strikers, but. Falcao and James have been the focal points in this team for years, but this duo can deliver many goals as they have shown for their home club Atalanta in Serie A. Yes, both are playing in the same team.
Muriel last 2 seasons in Atalanta: 34 games and 18 goals, 36 games and 22 goals.
Zapata last three seasons in Atalanta: 37 games and 23 goals, 28 games and 18 goals, 37 games and 15 goals. This goes for league games only and there's also plenty of goals in Cup games and Champions League.


With or without Falcao and James, this team has to qualify for the playoffs and should reach to semifinals if they play their positioning right. No one want's to face Argentina from this group in the first round of playoffs in Copa America.
Second place in this group could be ideal to avoid Argentina and Uruguay in the first round, considering that Uruguay and Argentina will take the first two spots in group A.

Venezuela

Venezuela team is considered as the second biggest outsider to lift the Copa America trophy, after Bolivia only. The squad value is around 50m only, and half of this consists of the value of 2 leading players. They lost the first WC game against Bolivia 3-1, but there's a huge but. Bolivia is playing their home games high in the mountains in La Paz. Why it's important? Go and try to run and play football at more than 4000m above sea level and then ask again. Even the teams like Brazil and Argentina struggle a lot there against this team. It's one of the biggest home advantages in the whole world for sure. Venezuela has beaten Chile in the 2020 WC game and lost against Brazil with only one goal. So, they can make a tough game for their opponent, but to make it to the playoffs, they have to win at least 1 game, probably 2 games.

Goalkeepers - Wuilker Farinez, with 26 games, is the most experienced goalkeeper, plays for Lens. He moved to France from Millonarios and lost the number 1 position between the sticks as he has had only 1 game for the French team. In their last game, Joel Graterol from America de Cali was the starting goalkeeper.

Defenders - With 85 games and 1 goal from Leganes, Roberto Rosales is the most experienced defender in the team. Leganes plays in Spain La Liga 2, but he had 6 seasons in the highest Spain league. So, the most important piece in defence for sure. Wilker Angel has 28 games and two goals, plays for Akhmat in Russia. Jhon Chancellor has 19 games and 1 goal, plays for Brescia in Italy, Serie B. Last season got 26 games and 3 goals in Serie A.
Mikel Villanueva has 26 games and 2 goals, plays for Santa Clara in Portugal.

Midfielders - Tomas Rincon from Torino has 105 games and 1 goal. The captain of the team and has been playing in Italy and Germany highest leagues since 2008.
The second most experienced player is Romulo Otero, with 38 games and 6 goals from Corinthians. Close to him is Jhon Murillo from Tondela with 31 games and 4 goals.
He got injured last month, and not sure if he can recover in time.
The probable starter is Cristian Casseres from New York Red Bulls. Only 5 games for the national team, but he is also only 21 years old. 3 goals in 7 games this season in MLS.
Alexander Gonzalez from Malaga should be on the wing. 49 games and 1 goal, plays for Malaga.

Attackers - The most important name in the team for sure. Darwin Machis. Played against Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals. 12 goals as a winger in his last 2 seasons in Spain La Liga for Granada. 6 goals in 27 games for Venezuela. He didn't play in the WC game, and I hope it's because of the game's place and to save him for the Copa America games.
Not much behind him is a striker from MLS. Josef Martinez from Atlanta United. 12 goals in 55 games and have had seasons with 28 and 35 goals in MLS.
Had some injury issues this year but managed to shake them off just for Copa America.
Fernando Aristeguieta from Mazatlan, Mexico, were the starting striker in their last WC game. 15 goals in Mexico in his last 2 seasons and 1 goal in 12 games for Venezuela.
Sergio Cordova has 10 games and 0 goals for the national team. He is only 23 years old but got a nice season in German Bundesliga for Arminia with 23 games and 2 goals. Was in Augsburg in the same league for 3 seasons and will become the focal point of this team for sure.

For me, it will be between Venezuela and Peru. Ecuador is not very far from them and this group is actually also weaker than group A. With important missing: Yordan Osorio from Parma and Salomon Rondo (31 goals) from Dalian it will be very tough for this team. 

 

Ecuador

Ecuador has been a so-called mid-table team in Copa America. 
During the last calendar year, they have lost against Brazil 2-0 and Argentina 1-0. They have won against Uruguay 4-2, Colombia 6-1 and won twice against Bolivia. Their usual limit in this competition has been group-stage. As the competition will be played a little bit differently this year, I'm going with Ecuador to reach at least playoffs in Copa America. The team value is around 65m, and their potential success lies a lot on a few players playing in Europe.

Goalkeepers - Their main goalkeeper should be Alexander Dominguez, with 58 games for the national team, who currently plays for Velez Sarsfield in Argentina.
The backups asre Hernan Galindez with 9 games and from Universidad Catolica and Pedro Ortiz with 2 games, plays for Emelec.

Defenders - Pervis Estupinan from Villarreal is the player in the top league at the moment. 23 years old and 6 games with 1 goal for the national team. Has been a regular starter in Spain La Liga for the second season in a row for Osasuna and Villarreal. Robert Arboleda has 21 games and 2 goals for the national team and plays for Sao Paulo. Angelo Preciado has 7 games for Ecuador and plays for Genk in Belgium.
Xavier Arreaga plays for Seattle in MLS and has 11 games and 1 goal for the national team.
Not too much international games experience in defence. 20 years old Jackson Porozo has been called up recently, plays for Boavista. 22 years old Erick Ferigra waits for the call for the Copa America squad. He plays for Torino.

Midfielders - The most experienced midfielder is Christan Noboa from Sochi, with 77 games and 4 goals. He has been playing in the Russian Premier League since 2007 and is 36 years old already.
The most important midfielder should be Carlos Gruezo from FC Augsburg and German Bundesliga. 30 games 1 goal for the national team, the second season in Bundesliga and got 28 games during the last season.
22 years old Alan Franco was a starter against Brazil, plays for Atletico Mineiro and has 9 games and 1 goal. 
Sebastian Mendez from Orlando City was also a starter in the last game in WC. Plays for Orlandi in MLS and has 17 games for the national team.
They have 2 youngsters shaping themselves to become the core midfielders in the team. Moises Caicedo plays for Brighton in England Premier League and Gonzalo Plata plays in Portugal, for Sporting.

Attackers - The biggest goal threats are Angel Mena from Leon and Enner Valencia from Fenerbache.
Enner Valencia has 57 games and 13 goals for the national team. There were some really high hopes on him when he joined West Ham in England Premier League after a fruitful season in Pachuca with 18 goals in 23 games. He also scored 3 goals in the 2014 WC group stage and earned a contract in the top league. 32 games and 4 goals in his debut season, the same amount of goals next season in 19 games and went to Everton. 21 games and 3 goals and bought to U.A.N.L in Mexico league before joining Fenerbache. He has somewhat found his form again in Turkey with 12 goals in 34 games.
Angel Mena from Club Leon has 6 goals in 26 games for the national team but enjoys three strong seasons in a row in Mexico. 17 goals in his last season.
Michael Estrada has 14 games and 4 goals. He plays for Toluca in Mexico. 11 goals in 37 games this season.


For me, it will be between Venezuela and Peru. Ecuador is not very far from them and this group is actually also weaker than group A. On paper, based on recent results and squad value, Ecuador should be ahead of Venezuela and Peru in this group. 

Peru

Peru had a very nice form and run of results in 2017 and 2018. They beat teams like Uruguay, Ecuador, Croatia, Iceland, Scotland, Australia and Chile. In 2018 WC they stayed in the group stage, yes but never was ashamed there. They lost only 1-0 against Denmark and France. They won against Australia 2-0, but this wasn't enough to reach to playoffs.
During their last 8 games, there's seven losses and 1 draw. The team was lead by Edison Flores, Jefferson Farfan, Carlos Zambrano, Luis Advincula and Yoshimar Yotun during these peak times. I remember watching the 2018 WC, and they were indeed tough, but at the same time also an entertaining team. While working on the squad list and recent lineups, I have to move them ahead on Venezuela and more equal with Ecuador. The squad value is 75m.

Goalkeepers - Pedro Gallese is the main man in the goal. 66 games for the national team and plays for Orlandi City in MLS. The backups are Carlos Caceda with 6 games from Melgar and Jose Carvallo with 7 games from Universitario. Both backup goalkeepers are playing in a local league.

Defenders - The most experienced defenders on the international level are Luis Advincula from Rayo Vallecano with 93 games and 1 goal and Christian Ramos from Universidad with 75 games and 3 goals. Luis had a season in Spain La Liga 2 seasons ago and has been regular in different leagues from Portugal to Mexico. Miguel Trauco from Saint- Etienne and the top French league, has 51 games. 2 seasons as a regular in a top league and an essential player in the team. Luis Abraham has 24 games and 1 goal, plays for Veles in Argentina. Aldo Corzo has 31 games and plays for Universitario in the local Peru league.

Midfielders - Three players have been a core in the midfield for Peru for several years by now. Renato Taipa, Yoshimar Yotun and Christian Cueva.
Yotun has 96 games, and three goals plays, for Cruz Azul. Defensive minded anchor who has also played in Sweden and MLS.
Renato Tapia has 56 games and 4 goals while being 25 years old. Celta Vigo midfielder had a nice season with 32 games after moving to Spain from Feyenoord, Netherlands.
Christian Cueva has 67 games and 10 goals, plays for Al-Fateh in Saudi Arabia. In the mix, there's also Pedro Aquino Sanchez from Club America with 3 goals in 28 games.

Attackers - Paolo Guerrero is the current national team top scorer. 38 goals in 101 games for the current Internacional striker. He played in German Bundesliga for Bayern Munich and Hamburger from 2004 to 2012.
31 years old Gianluca Lapadula has only 2 games for the national team but had 8 goals in 37 games for Benevento in Italy Serie A. 11 last season in the same league for Lecce. Edison Flores would not be fit in time, most probably, but has 53 games and 13 goals for Peru. He plays for D.C United in MLS. Andre Carrillo is fit and in fine form for Al-Hilal. 9 goals in 68 games for Peru and 7 goals this season in the Saudi league.
Raul Ruidiaz has 4 goals in 46 games, plays for Seattle Sounders in MLS and has started a season with 6 goals in 8 games.

I might have underestimated this team based on the squad list and recent games. Yes, they have dropped in the form a lot when comparing the 2018 and 2019 season. There are some unlucky results and they gave a big battle against Brazil a few months ago. They were leading 2-1 until there were less than 30 minutes to play and conceded a late goal while being with 10 players. This team can make some surprises and for me a playoff team with Lapadula.

 


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