Copa America and Other World Football Tournaments to Watch in Summer 2011
Soccer during summer : it's a period when the club teams don't play, unless for friendly matches, and it feels like there is nothing to watch. Well, that is true during the odd years, when there is neither a World Cup or a Euro. This summer could be the same, but there are some competitions that should be considered.
Here are three of the tournaments that will take place this summer:
CONCACAF Gold Cup
The CONCACAF Gold Cup won't catch the eyes of many people outside of Central and North America, but this will certainly be an exciting tournament to watch. Out of the 12 teams competing, the favorites will of course be the United States and Mexico. The two teams have faced in the final the last two occasions. The 2007 encounter was won by the US, while Mexico demolished their opponents 5-0 in the most recent one (2009). Players like Javier Hernandez, Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Wilson Palacios and Giovani Dos Santos could feature in this tournament. In 2009, the US team fielded a very mediocre side, but this was when Stuart Holden, now one of the best youngsters in the EPL, first showed himself.
This tournament will possibly disappoint you if you have too high of standards, but I would still encourage watching a game or two.
CONCACAF Gold Cup:
Begins: June 5
Ends: June 25
UEFA U21 Championship
There is something about the U21s that is always refreshing. They are all young and quick. In addition, they play the game and don't dive/fake as much as the older players.
This Euro 2011 for the U21s could be a really exciting competition. There are a lot of great teams, with England and Spain in it. There are only two groups of four, and it is a relatively small tournament. Lots of these players already feature in their country's senior team and are some of Europe's elite. The players to watch include Kieran Gibbs, Micah Richards, Mark Albrighton, Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell, Andy Caroll, Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott, Sergio Canales, Jeffren, Mata and Bojan. I only named the more famous players, all of them coming from England and Spain.
There is no certainty that all these players will be part of the final squad, though. Especially, players like Walcott and Wilshere are commonly on the senior level team sheet and also have a huge responsibility at their club. Still, I assure you that some of these good young players will show up.
While England and Spain are favorites, the other six teams should certainly not be overlooked. This will be a great tournament with lots of speed.
UEFA U21 Championship:
Begins: June 11
Ends: June 25
The Copa America may be the only tournament out of the three that people will actually end up watching. This certainly makes sense, with both Brazil and Argentina supposed to field their top players. The world's best Messi will again seek to silence his critics and show that he as good with Argentina as he is with Barcelona. Along with Messi, the players to watch include Javier Pastore, Gonzalo Higuain, David Luiz, Dani Alves and Neymar.
Both Brazil and Argentina failed to impress in South Africa last year and will want to win this tournament. Many people think that this is a two-team competition, but that is far from correct. Uruguay, for one, made it to the semifinals last summer with the help of Suarez and Forlan. In addition, Paraguay, Mexico and Chile will be participating in the tournament.
If you don't have the time to watch all three of these tournaments, I would certainly suggest that you watch the Copa America.
Begins: July 1
Ends: July 24