The centennial addition of the Copa America is set to kick off this week and it wouldn’t be an international football competition without a boatload of Premier League talents involved. So here is my complete guide to every Premier League player involved and what to expect from their countries.
Argentina- Sergio Romero, Ramiro Funes Mori, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo, Sergio Agüero, Erik Lamela.
My early favorite to win the tournament after World Cup final and Copa America final appearances in the last two years, Lionel Messi and company are determined to win. When you have Messi in your team there is no need to speculate tactics and playing styles when you very well know Messi will be involved somehow along with Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, and Javier Pastore. I predict Argentina to finish first in Group D.
Brazil: Philippe Coutinho, Willian
Always a strong team is Brazil who will enter the competition without Neymar who I believe is off to the Olympics. Despite missing a few big names, Brazil still look deadly with the likes of Hulk, Jonas, Douglas Costa, Coutinho and Dani Alves to name a few. With the lack of box to box centre midfielders in the team, expect Brazil to use the wings and pace to win games as well as involving the fullbacks in the overlaps which has been a trademark of them for years. I predict Brazil to finish first in Group B.
Chile: Alexis Sanchez
Last years winners, Chile will look to repeat their great form and with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in your team, it shouldn’t be hard. One thing last year was getting caught up in their own defensive third and being punished for it and with a not so strong defence compared to some of the other teams in the competition, is the reason I don’t see them repeating. I predict Chile to finish second in Group D.
Columbia: David Ospina
Coming off a good Copa America last year and a good World Cup, Colombia will definitely look for another good showing here. Lead by James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca just to name a few, Colombia still look strong despite not having Falcao or Jackson Martinez. I predict Columbia to finish second in Group A.
Costa Rica: Cristian Gamboa, Bryan Oviedo, Joel Campbell
Costa Rica recently sent the football world into shock with a string of good performances starting back at the 2014 World Cup. With players like Christian Bolanos, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell, Costa Rica are gonna look to use their speed and flair to punish teams on the counter attack and make-up for their maybe not so stellar defense. I predict Costa Rica to finish first in Group A.
Ecuador: Antonio Valencia, Enner Valencia, Jefferson Montero
A team seriously lacking depth, reputation, and respect, Ecuador have something to prove this summer. Leading the charge will be Jefferson Montero and Enner Valencia, both proven Premier League attackers. Ecuador don’t have what it takes to do well in this tournament but due to the lack of quality in their group, I predict Ecuador to finish second in Group B.
Jamaica: Adrian Mariappa and Wes Morgan
Similar to how I reacted to Mexico, Jamaica have looked sensational and their squad looks capable of going places. Wes Morgan will pick up where he left off with Leicester, Andre Blake has been on the form of his career and gets better as the weeks past, Clayton Donaldson finished asBirmingham City top goalscorer, Gile Barnes and Simon Dawkins both putting up good numbers in the MLS, this team just lacks a stand out midfielder and a real playmaker away from being serious contenders. I predict Jamaica to finish third in Group C.
Paraguay: Juan Iturbe
Having the potential to upset at this tournament, with players like Nelson Valdez and Oscar Romero going forward. What will let them down is their lack of defending and their insistence on attacking proven by calling up more forwards than midfielders. I just don’t think they have what it takes to get anywhere this summer. I predict Paraguay to finish last in Group A.
Uruguay: Abel Hernandez
With Luis Suarez questionable for the tournament and a lack of wide players from fullbacks to wingers, Uruguay may struggle this summer. Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez need to be lights out in defense and the anchors in the back as they’ve been all season for Atletico Madrid and Edison Cavani needs to pick up where he left off with PSG in order for them to succeed. I predict Uruguay to finish second in Group C.
USA: Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin
The host of the tournament, Jurgen Klinsmann named a well blended young and old squad not nearly capable enough of winning the tournament. Jozy Altidore set to miss with yet another leg injury is a massive blow in the goal scoring department. Veteran midfielders Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, and Jermaine Jones will anchor and control the midfield. Young attackers like Gyasi Zardes, Bobby Wood, and Christian Pulisic will offer their speed and talent going forward. I predict USA to finish third in Group A.
Venezuela: Salomon Rondon
With Salomon Rondon their only real spot of hope, I wouldn’t expect much from this team. Look for them to be exposed in the back and minimal service to Rondon will cause a lack in goals. I predict them to finish fourth in Group C.
With talent like that, we’re in for a treat of fantastic football in America.