Saturday 15 June
Brazil vs Bolivia | Saturday 15 June | Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo | 02:30
Hosts and tournament favourites Brazil are overwhelming front runners to beat Bolivia in their Group A opener.
Since exiting the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Brazil have played 10 friendlies, winning nine times, beating USA (0-2), El Salvador (5-0), Saudi Arabia (0-2), Argentina (0-1), Uruguay (1-0), Cameroon (1-0), Czech Republic (1-3), Qatar (2-0) and Honduras (7-0) and drawing with Panama (1-1).
The Selecao will be without their superstar Neymar after he was ruled out of the tournament due to an ankle injury he suffered earlier this month during the friendly victory over Qatar. Tite has called up Chelsea forward Willian to replace the Paris-Saint Germain star ahead of the likes of Tottenham’s Lucas Moura and Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior.
Brazil last won the Copa America title in 2007 when they beat Argentina 3-0 in the final – they also won the previous edition in 2004. Tite’s side are strong favourites to win this year’s competition – which is played in Brazil – and they’ll look to get off to a winning start.
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio
Defenders: Dani Alves, Fagner, Alex Sandro, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marquinhos, Eder Militao
Midfielders: Casemiro, Fernandinho, Arthur, Allan, Lucas Paqueta, Philippe Coutinho
Forwards: Everton, David Neres, Richarlison, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Willian
Bolivia’s form coming into the tournament doesn’t bode well for their chances and even suggests that they’ll struggle to win a match in Group A. After their World Cup qualifiers, La Verde played 14 friendlies between March 2018 and June 2019, and won just once – a 3-0 victory over minnows Myanmar.
They lost seven times, including their last three against Korea Republic, Japan and France – failing to get on the scoresheet in those defeats. Avoiding defeat against Brazil, the hosts and tournament favourites, seems unthinkable. The last time they faced the Selecao on their turf was in 2016 when they played in a World Cup Qualifier. No surprize the winners were Brazil, with Tite’s side claiming a 5-0 victory with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho running havoc.
Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe, Ruben Cordano, Javier Rojas
Defenders: Marvin Bejarano, Diego Bejarano, Luis Haquin, Adrian Jusino, Mario Cuellar, Saul Torres, Roberto Fernandez, Jose Mario Carrasco
Midfielders: Alejandro Chumacero, Raul Castro, Erwin Saavedra, Leonel Justiniano, Samuel Galindo, Fernando Saucedo, Diego Wayar, Paul Arano
Forwards: Marcelo Martins, Gilbert Alvarez, Rodrigo Ramallo, Leonardo Vaca
Prediction: Brazil (Multiscores – 4:0, 5:0 or 6:0) 11/4
There’s only one winner here and that’s the hosts. For value, use Hollywoodbets’ Multiscores market and take Brazil to win 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 at 11/4.
Sunday 16 June
Argentina vs Colombia | Sunday 16 June | Arena Fonte Nova | 00:00
Argentina will face Colombia in Group B of the 2019 Copa America in what is arguably the most eye-catching matchup of the opening round.
Argentina will be searching for their first international title since they won the 1993 Copa America and Lionel Messi’s influence and inspiration will definitely be the key to La Albiceleste’s chances of success. Argentina have come agonisingly close to winning silverware multiple times in recent years, but have faltered at the final hurdle. They were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and lost back-to-back Copa America finals (in 2015 and 2016) on penalties against Chile. Coach Lionel Scaloni will be hoping third time lucky will be the charm for his side.
Following their poor World Cup campaign, Argentina played nine friendlies, winning six times. They hammered Guatemala (3-0) and Iraq (4-0), beat Mexico twice (both 2-0 scorelines), edged out Morocco (0-1), before trouncing Nicaragua (5-1) last weekend. Scaloni’s men tasted defeat against Brazil and Venezuela, and played to a goalless draw against Colombia, their weekend opponents. With the likes of Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Messi – who all missed out in that friendly – La Albiceleste will fancy their chances of victory this time around.
Goalkeepers: Franco Armani, Agustin Marchesin, Esteban Andrada
Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Tagliafico, German Pezzella, Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth
Midfielders: Angel Di Maria, Roberto Pereyra, Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, Exequiel Palacios, Guido Rodriguez, Ivan Marcone
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Matias Suarez
Following their exit at the 2018 World Cup, losing a penalty shootout against England, Colombia played eight friendlies, winning six times and losing once. They beat Venezuela (1-2), USA (2-4), Costa Rica (3-1), Japan (0-1), Panama and Peru (both 3-0 scorelines). Carlos Queiroz’s men suffered a 2-1 defeat against Korea Republic and as mentioned earlier, held Argentina to a goalless draw.
Coming up against Messi and co is a daunting task for most teams, however, Colombia, have enough talent to spring a surprise victory. South America’s fourth highest-ranked nation by FIFA have some top players in their squad such as goalkeeper David Ospina, defenders Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina, and Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao further up the pitch.
James will undoubtedly be one of Colombia’s main man. Unfortunately, his fitness could be an issue as he played full 90 minutes on only three occasions with Bayern Munich last season. Regardless, the temporarily Real Madrid man remains a key figure for Los Cafeteros due to his creativity and knack for scoring goals.
Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Alvaro Montero
Defenders: Cristian Zapata, Santiago Arias, Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Cristian Borja, Stefan Medina, Jhon Lucumi
Midfielders: Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez, Edwin Cardona, Wilmar Barrios, Mateus Uribe, Jefferson Lerma, Gustavo Cuellar
Forwards: Radamel Falcao, Luis Muriel, Roger Martinez, Duvan Zapata, Luis Diaz
Prediction: Argentina (23/20)
A tight affair is expected, but Argentina should prove too strong and are nicely priced at 23/20, get on!
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