The Copa America Centenario is about to enter its last rounds of group fixtures, and the results so far have revealed a lot about the teams. Here are a few talking points from what we have seen thus far.
No Suárez, no Uruguay.
When Suarez limped off in pain during the Copa del Rey Final against Sevilla, not many feared his country wouldn’t be able to progress to the quarters of the Copa America without him. It was believed he would be fit enough to feature in the knockout stages. But, that won’t be happening after Uruguay suffered their 2nd defeat. Venezuela’s lone goal victory courtesy of Salomon Rondon was enough to dump them out of the tournament, as Mexico went atop the group with a 2-0 victory over Jamaica. Cavani once again wasn’t able to lead his side to a win as he squandered a handful of clear-cut chances. Face it. No Suarez, No Uruguay.
Argentina don’t need Messi all the time.
But the same can’t be said of Argentina. It looks like opponents lower their defensive efforts when the skipper is not on the pitch. Chile was almost beaten via 2 unreplied goals until a closing minute attempt saw them cancel out 1. Éver Banega and Di María each got a goal and an assist as La Albiceleste cruised to a much-needed victory, and they are on course to topping the group. With or without Messi.
Like Tahiti, like Haiti.
Brazil stormed to an important victory with a 7-1 thrashing of Haiti. And no, it wasn’t as a result of a great Brazil attack, it was just a poor Haitian team as usual. They are the least favorite to win the tournament, and thus easily pass as the weakest. Like Tahiti back at the the last Confederations Cup, Haiti are showing they can let in as many goals like their namesake country, and we can’t wait to see how many Ecuador will put past them.
Are Mexico and Colombia dark horses?
Uruguay were definitely in everybody’s top 3 list as far as winning the Copa went. Brazil and Argentina completed the list, but it seems the dark horses also have a great chance to pull a surprise. Mexico and Colombia are definitely teams to watch out for, and they sure can put the likes of Chile, Argentina and Brazil to the sword. Chicharito and James Rodriguez have been key to their countries’ forms, and they will surely give their best as the knockout stages begin.
USA aren’t poor against a poor team.
The hosts have done well by bouncing back with an emphatic victory against Costa Rica, but that doesn’t equate to a great form. Costa Rica have been surprisingly poor at this tournament, and the U.S. only took advantage. Jürgen Klinsmann’s side will put any poor team to the sword, but there won’t be any in the next round. They will have to get at least a draw against Paraguay if they are to have a chance of advancing, and it will be a very tough test.