Football

Your Quick Guide to Copa America Centenario

Your Quick Guide to Copa America Centenario

Euro 2016 is the only major international tournament taking place this summer in Europe.

But across the Atlantic is the 100th anniversary of the Copa America. Usually every four years, the Centenary Copa comes one year after the last and will be hosted by the United States. Chile won the competition last summer and will defend their title against 15 more teams.

When is it?

Begins on the 4th of June at 0230 GMT with hosts USA taking on Colombia. The final will be on the 27th.

Where is it Shown?

Digital channel Premier Sports has the only television rights in the UK. The earliest kick off is at 2230 GMT but most matches start around 0100.

Who’s in it?

There are usually 12 teams in the competition, but, as a celebration of America, six teams have been selected from CONCACAF with a further 10 South American nations. USA and Mexico, Haiti and Panama. Costa Rica and Jamaica. From South America: Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia.

Groups, Fixtures and Premiership players involved are at the bottom.

Big News

Misfortune has fallen to two of the big names with an injury to Uruguay’s Luis Suarez (although Suarez should return for the knockout section) and a club commitment clause meaning Brazil’s Neymar will not travel. Both teams are severely under strength with their two best players missing.

Favourite – Argentina

The full squads have been announced leaving one favourite. This has made the once narrow favourites Argentina stronger. Although not as potent as Argentinian teams of the past, their front line is sizzling. An incredible selection with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria to choose from. The main story again will be that, according to some, Messi has done nothing at international level (including the 2008 Olympic Gold medal) and is running out of time. This adds pressure to their challenge.

The other teams would argue that the tournament is wide open though. Notable challengers include:

Chile

The other favourite could be considered last year’s winners who have not changed and therefore could fancy their chances again. Stars of last time; Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gonzalo Jara, Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas are selected once more. But a new coach has not been working with some bad recent results matched by a drop in form by stars like Vargas and Sanchez.

Brazil

Their stars of the show Douglas Costa, Hulk and Philippe Coutinho pale in comparison to Brazilian front lines of the past. With a Costa injury they had to recall 34-year-old playmaker Kaka to bolster their line-up, but he is also now injured. People will turn to youngster Gabriel Barbosa, 19, another rising star in the making from Santos.

USA

The hosts do not have a lot to deal with in terms of talent, with soccer yet to set the nation alight. Jurgen Klinsmann’s hopes rest on a variety of youngsters – none more so than Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic. Home advantage will be massive to the USA team.

Colombia

An honourable mention to Colombia who shone at the last World Cup with Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca making up the stars of this team. Jose Pekerman is due some tangible success as boss of the nation and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did it at this Copa America.

Mexico

The form of Javier Hernandez has been well documented and another thing which should not be overlooked is the almost home advantage to the Latino populated US.

Ecuador

Being top of the World Cup qualification table alongside Uruguay indicates that Ecuador are a team to be reckoned with. Antonio Valencia, Enner Valencia and Jefferson Montero are the Premier League contingent of La Tricolor and will ensure they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Jamaica

The Reggae Boys got to the Gold Cup final last year and have an influential leader in Leicester City’s Premiership winning captain Wes Morgan. A win would be a surprise, but Jamaica are improving and this could be another big competition for them to impress in.

Groups

Group A: USA, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica

Group B: Brazil, Peru, Haiti, Ecuador

Group C: Uruguay, Mexico, Jamaica, Venezuela

Group D: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Panama

Fixtures

June 4 – USA vs Colombia, Costa Rica vs Paraguay

June 5 – Haiti vs Peru, Brazil vs Ecuador, Jamaica vs Venezuela

June 6 – Mexico vs Uruguay

June 7 – Panama vs Bolivia, Argentina vs Chile

June 8 – USA vs Costa Rica, Colombia vs Paraguay

June 9 – Brazil vs Haiti, Ecuador vs Peru

June 10 – Uruguay vs Venezuela, Mexico vs Jamaica

June 11 – Chile vs Bolivia, Argentina vs Panama

June 12 – USA vs Paraguay, Colombia vs Costa Rica, Ecuador vs Haiti

June 13 – Brazil vs Peru

June 14 – Mexico vs Venezuela, Uruguay vs Jamaica

June 15 – Chile vs Panama, Argentina vs Bolivia

June 17-19 – Quarter-finals

June 22-23 – Semi-finals

June 26 – 3rd Place Play Off

June 27 – Final

Premier League Players Involved

Argentina: Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo (Man United), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Nicolas Otamendi, Sergio Aguero (Man City), Erik Lamela (Tottenham)

Brazil: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea)

Chile: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Colombia: David Ospina (Arsenal), Juan Cuadrado (Chelsea)

Costa Rica: Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Joel Campbell (Arsenal)

Ecuador: Antonio Valencia (Man United), Enner Valencia (West Ham), Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford), Jefferson Montero (Swansea)

Jamaica: Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Wes Morgan (Leicester)

USA: Geoff Cameron (Stoke), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)

Uruguay: Abel Hernandez (Hull), Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough)

Venezuela: Salomon Rondon (West Brom)

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