The stars of South American soccer are set to align this June when the Copa América 2015 comes to Chile in fifty days. All ten members of COMNEBOL will be accompanied by CONCACAF regulars Mexico and newcomers Jamaica, rounding out the twelve nations aiming to have their arms raised in victory at end of the tournament in Santiago’s National Stadium. The tournament kicks off on June 11, and finishes on July 4. From Cavani to Messi, and James to Neymar, and even a Chicharito, some of the world’s top footballers converge on what could be the biggest Copa América tournament in recent memory.
Nine venues will be used in eight different cites throughout the tournament. Places like the mining port town of Antofagasta to the north to the bustling commune that is Concepcion to the south provide the backdrops for these matches. The capital, Santiago, hosts the opener when Chile takes on Ecuador, and the final championship match. The twelve teams in this version of the Copa América field a very competitive pool.
Group A has the host Chile with Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia. The Chileans are led by Arsenal standout Alexis Sanchez and Juventus midfielder maestro Arturo Vidal. Alexis is the leading goalscorer for Chile with 26 goals to his name, while Vidal is possibly one of the most complete central midfielder in the game today for his high workrate. Mexico has Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Giovani dos Santos and a deep supporting cast. Ecuador, like Chile and Mexico, competed in last year’s World Cup, and will look to utilize that experience once more in Chile. Bolivia will look to their mostly domestic core of players to surprise their competition.
Group B has favorites Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Jamaica. Argentina were runners-up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and the Albicelestes will look to bounce back from their embarrassing 2011 Copa América seventh place finish on their soil, the same tournament the Uruguayans won. They’ll be without Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, leading scorers for the Celeste in the last Copa América, but Edinson Cavani will look to fill in for that goalscoring blank. Paraguay has some veteran players that each have over 100 caps, including leading goalscorer and captain Roque Santa Cruz, and top Chilean league goalkeeper Justo Villar. The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica will be making their first of two straight Copa Americas, with the centenary tournament to come in 2016 the next step. Jamaica has talent from all over North America and Europe, and it’ll be interesting to see how these next two years shape out for a team that will compete with this level of play.
Group C has Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. Perhaps a group of death of sorts, with Brazil and Colombia, a semifinalist and the team they beat by the slimmest of margins in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinal round. Brazil may have burned out at the end of their World Cup run, but they can and will most likely bounce back with a victory in this Copa América. Neymar, David Luiz and a plethora of other stars will likely suit up for the Seleção this June. Colombia will look to the forward duo of James Rodriguez and captain Radamel Falcao to lay waste to defenders in this tournament. Peru and Venezuela will have a lot of work cut for them, but they are just as capable of pulling off some great soccer. Juan Arango is a top player for Venezuela and will be a threat all over the pitch. Peru will use their youth to disrupt the opposition.
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