Uruguay will begin their journey to what they hope will be Copa America glory on Sunday, when they meet Ecuador in a Group C showdown.
The Celeste will be seeking to make amends for three years ago. They were well below their best at the centenary edition of the competition, failing to qualify from the group stage. With a squad of high-class players to choose from, manager Oscar Tabarez should be taking this team deep in the tournament.
Ecuador always present dangerous opposition, though, and Uruguay will need to be wary of their threat. In the day's other encounter, Paraguay will face invitees Qatar in Group B.
Start Time and Odds
3 p.m. (ET)—Paraguay: 4-5, Draw: 5-2, Qatar: 5-1
6 p.m. (ET)—Uruguay: 4-5, Draw: 12-5, Ecuador: 23-5
Odds according to Oddschecker.
TV Info: Premier Sports 1 (UK), NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.)
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The players in the Uruguay squad are ideal for tournament football, and Tabarez will feel his team is ready to compete for the trophy in Brazil.
The side's core still comprises familiar veterans who epitomise the Celeste's progression in recent years. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin and Fernando Muslera were all key components in the team that won the tournament in 2011, and all will be expected to star again at this Copa.
Having ended his season with Barcelona early to have an operation, Suarez's fitness is a big talking point ahead of the match against Ecuador.
He came off the bench to net in the recent friendly against Panama and but has said he's not sure how much of a role he will play on Sunday:
Warriors of Uruguay @UruguayHeroes
Luis Suárez on his fitness ahead of the Copa opener vs. Ecuador: "The physical condition is marked by the rhythm of the game. At the 2014 World Cup when I played against England, I got cramp after 60 minutes. 90 minutes with operation a month ago? I don't know. We will see." https://t.co/ESjdopnQSo
Encouragingly for Uruguay, they also look strong in areas of the field where they have often been let down. Football journalist Andy West commented on the strength of their midfield:
They will be confident of overcoming Ecuador, whose preparations for the event have been far from ideal. They have not won a game since November, when they edged past Panama in a friendly.
There will be intrigue about what Qatar can bring to the competition as part of their preparations for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Per OptaJavier, the Copa America has a tradition of inviting teams to take part outside CONMEBOL:
They appear to be making progress too; they won the Asian Cup in February. Football journalist James Montague was impressed with their run at that tournament:
It means Paraguay are likely to face a tough opening game in what they hope will be another impressive Copa run. In 2011, they were beaten by Uruguay in the final, while they lost out in the semis in 2015.
With Argentina and Colombia also in their group, it feels imperative La Albirroja pick up three points from this encounter. They will be looking to star midfielder Miguel Almiron to make the difference in what promises to be a tight encounter.
Predictions: Uruguay 2-0 Ecuador; Paraguay 1-0 Qatar