The first international tournament out of 3 this summer has begun with the Copa America. This year its a special edition celebrating the 100 years of the Copa America including teams from both South America (10) and North America (6) and being played on North American shores for the first time. It promises to be an exciting tournament getting some teams/players warmed up for the Olympics while serving as good preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers for some teams.
Mexico come into the Copa America as one of the underdogs of this tournament, winning the Gold Cup and not losing a single game since June of 2015, which is now 18 games on the trot. They beat Paraguay & Chile by a score of 1-0 while heading into this tournament, and will feel their chances of qualifying will be good. They boast a strong bunch of talent with the likes of Raul Jimenez, Javier Hernandez, Oribe Peralta, Carlos Pena, Hector Moreno and of course the star from the World Cup and Copa America Guillermo Ochoa; they will definitely fancy their chances to get out of the group, while also creating an impact in this tournament. They will have almost home support with their games taking place in Pasadena, California; Houston, Texas and Glendale, Arizona. Mexico should definitely qualify from the group, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they upset Uruguay for top spot.
Uruguay boast one of the most talented teams in this tournament with very familiar players who play across in the top teams in Europe like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Christian Stuani, Abel Hernandez, Gaston Ramirez, Jose Giminez and Fernando Muslera. In recent years they have done well in International Tournaments winning the 2011 Copa America, 4th place in the Confederations Cup, Round of 16 in the World Cup 2014; 4th place in the World Cup 2010. They have dominated the Copa America not finishing lower than in Copa America since 1999. Their form coming into this tournament is good with just 1 loss in their last 7 games and they top their South American World Cup Qualifying Group while scoring 12 goals in 6 games and conceding only 4. The defensive unit boasts the likes of Godin, Gimenez, Alvaro Perreira and Maxi Perreira to give them solidity at the back. Uruguay are one of the favourites to win this tournament, should Luis Suarez overcome fitness concerns to start from them first game itself.
Venezuela come into this tournament with a relatively young squad but still boast some exciting talent in Salomon Rondon, Tomas Rincon, Josef Martinez, Juan Anor and Roberto Rosales. The Venezuelans will be struggling for form recently, winning just a solitary game in their last 15 games since June last year. They are trying to give the youngsters a lot of experience with the aim of trying to qualify out of their World Cup Qualifying group, but have managed just one point from 6 games so far. Current form and current talent wise I don’t see how Venezuela can beat Mexico and Uruguay to qualify out of this group.
Jamaica are out to entertain the crowds in this fixture. They come into the tournament after beating Chile in a friendly game, and will take a lot of heart going into the tournament. Jamaica have a few notable names who have played many games for them in Giles Barnes, Rudolph Austin, Je-Vaughn Watson, Jermaine Taylor, Adrian Mariappa and Wes Morgan who should put in some good performance heading into this tournament. Their firepower is their weakness as its fairly inconsistent and that will stop them from qualifying out of the group.
Mexico and Uruguay to Qualify @ 1.53 (Betfair) – 4 points
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