The biggest tournament in the Americas is coming to our own backyard, and kickoff is in just a few hours. The titans of South America face off against the best of North America, as the Copa America celebrates its 100th anniversary. Some of the biggest stars on the planet will put on a show for the Americans as they host the Copa America for the first time.
Teams To Look Out for:
Mexico: Winners of last year’s Gold Cup, Mexico comes into the tournament with full momentum and are candidates for the trophy. They’re 7-0-0 under new head coach Juan Carlos Osorio and look to bring some of their best players from Europe. From their 23-man roster, 17 players have been a part of a World Cup squad. Clearly, they’re an experienced core with several members playing in the top divisions of Europe.
Jamaica: Arguably the best Caribbean team at the moment, Jamaica shocked the world by eliminating the U.S last year in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. This year, they’re back with practically the same team. Their fast pace and physicality is enough to cause problems for defenses all tournament long. Playing as a team with nothing to lose, Jamaica will have no problem risking everything to go out and get a win. If Luis Suarez cannot compete with Uruguay, Jamaica might see themselves getting out of the group and going far in the competition.
United States: It’s obvious that Jürgen Klinsman’s time with the USMNT might be coming to an end. The results achieved are far from what was expected of the team. In recent matches, it appears as if the U.S is a bit lost or a step behind their usual dominance in the past decade. There’s no real sense of an “undisputed” starting lineup and offensive productivity is a big concern. With the injury of Altidore, the position of starting striker might be up for grabs. If the veterans like Dempsey or Wondolowski fail to show up, the U.S is in trouble.
Brazil: Star player and captain Neymar is set to miss the Copa America in order to represent his country in the Olympics. With his absence, Brazil is left extremely vulnerable on offense. Their three forwards, Hulk, Gabriel and Jonas, are far from elite. A situation similar to 2014 when a struggling Fred couldn’t be the forward Brazil needed. This time however, Neymar wont be there to almost single-handedly carry the team.
Player to watch:
Brian Wood: Hamburger SV’s 23-year-old striker has quickly risen to the spotlight under Klinsmann. He’s recorded four goals in his first 16 appearances, including a late equalizer off the bench against Mexico in the Confederations Cup Playoff Game. An incredibly agile player with a killer instinct. Brian Wood may be the revelation of the tournament.