As Copa America 2021 draws closer, fans are holding their breath with anticipation. It is the 47th edition of this celebrated tradition of the South American Football Confederation. Enthusiastic speculations are being shared worldwide about what 2021 has in store for contestants and what it would mean for their future.
The last-minute change of the hosting country from Columbia and Argentina to Brazil has already set up an atmosphere of uncertainty. Against this backdrop of wild nervousness and high hopes, let us look at some of the top performers in Copa America history and how they have prepared for Copa America 2021.
Led by coach Tite, the Selecao have got into a rigorous creative attacking and focused defense routine. Powerful players like Marquinhos, Fabhino, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves show immense promise. A few talented names like David Luz, a strong arsenal defender and Rodrygo Goes, a rising star in the field, would have made a good fit for the squad. But their absence worries fans as Brazil stares into the face of its first game against Venezuela.
If it is true that history repeats itself, Brazil is all set to add another feather in the cap after their track record of winning nine Copa America games in all. They bagged their first trophy in 2007 against Venezuela.
A year of multiple victories as Dani Alves won the Golden Ball Award and Allison Becker won the Golden Boot and Golden Glove. Since then, they have never looked back. As the 2021 host and a breeding ground for rising talent in football, Brazil gives a lot of scope for optimism to its fans.
Led by Coach Lionel Scaloni, the La Seleccion has won the second-highest number of titles after Uruguay. They have secured four runner-up medals in 12 years in the past but haven’t won Copa America since 1993. They did come close in 2015 and 2016 but stood defeated by Brazil.
Their performance in 2019 does not give us much cause for hope. They won a game in the group stage, just enough to qualify for the finals, where they defeated Venezuela, just to be knocked off by Brazil once again.
Just like every year, there is tremendous pressure and anticipation that 2021 might be the year they make it as winners. They are contending against a tough group that includes Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Team captain Lionel Messi needs an international achievement next to his name, and a victory in Copa America would work out great for his record. He has tough players like Aguero, Lautaro Martinez and Rodrigo De Paul on his team. Moreover, they stand second among the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which might mean good momentum.
Led by coach Oscar Tabarez, La Celeste has an intimidating presence. Having won the highest number of titles in the history of Copa America, they boast a proud tradition. However, they have lived most of their golden days before 2000.
After that, they tasted victory in Copa America only once in 2011. They did, however, make it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2018, so it looks like they have still got it.
Their strength lies in having a mix of budding superstars and seasoned players on their team. Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are a great attacking duo to lead the line. Rodrigo Bentacur and Fede Valverde show promise as central midfielders. Finally, Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin can do their magic on the defense. Some analysts believe that Uruguay performs better when they are on the defensive.
2021 is probably the last game they play under 74-year-old coach Oscar Tabrez, so it is a significant year for the team. Along with him, a lot of crucial team players are riding down the peak of their careers. These are big names, including the ones mentioned above, like Luis Suarez and Diego Godin. But Uruguay is known for its stubbornness and persistence. They might make it to the top once before their game transforms.
Led by Coach Martin Lasarte, La Roja celebrated their first victory in Copa America in 2015. It was a special year since they were also hosting. They were up against 14-time champion Argentina and won 4-1. They repeated this victory next year with the same score against the same opponent at MetLife stadium, USA.
Although they have veteran heroes like Eduardo Vargas, Captain Gary Medel and Alexis Sanchez on their team, their golden generation shone only between 2007-2017. Although the expectations are not as high as they used to be earlier, there is wishful thinking among fans that the team will rise to the occasion and bring home one last trophy before it gets a major makeover.
Led by Coach Eduardo Berizzo, Paraguay stands fourth in terms of winning in Copa America after the three big teams- Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. True, their FIFA rating is bad, and their performance has been poor lately. The farthest they have gone since 1999 is the semi-finals in 2015, where Brazil defeated them in a penalty shoot-out.
Paraguay is not expected to progress beyond the quarter-finals, but their performance in the 2010 Copa America and World Cup 2022 qualification leaves some space for hope. Key players on the team include Miguel Almiron and Angel Romero.
With 2015 and 2016 finalists Argentina contending each other in the opening game, it can be hard not to get involved in the excitement. If your gut tells you what will happen, betting on your intuition can be an extremely thrilling experience. 22bet app allows you to bet both pre-match and live on many possibilities. You can download the 22 bet app for both iOS and Android.
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are the top suspects on the list of potential winners should come as no surprise. 2021 is a different year because of turbulent happenings like the cancellation in 2020, withdrawal of Qatar and Australia and rescheduling. Nevertheless, assuming that all the teams are at their best, any of the three big players, and even Chile, to some extent, stands a high chance of winning. You can read more here.