Finally some excitement to add to the summer transfer window. The 2011 Copa America is finally here. The 12 best Latin American teams face in one of the most prestigious international competitions.
Since the end of club football in May, the world has been able to watch the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the U21 European Championship. Both of these tournaments were interesting but lacked quality. In addition to these tournaments, transfer rumors have been all over the headlines. But it's extremely easy to get bored from all this gossip as almost none of the transfers end up being made.
Today, the Copa America finally begins. Argentina will face Bolivia to begin the tournament. The other two teams in Group A, Colombia and Costa Rica, face each other on Saturday. For the next 12 days, there will be non-stop (or almost) Copa America soccer.
When you think of South American powerhouse teams, you may stop at Argentina and Brazil. But there are so many more. Just look at last year's World Cup. In the Quarterfinals, four of the eight teams were from South America. In addition to Brazil and Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay all have superb teams.
So who will win this tournament? It's hard to say but Argentina are certainly the favorites. They are on home turf and have a massively talented squad. With attackers such as Messi, Aguero, Lavezzi, Tevez, Higuain, and Milito at their disposal, Argentina should be a ruthless side.
Of course, there are also some very strong defensive sides in this tournament to think about, i.e. Uruguay and Brazil.
Brazil will come next in potential winners, as their forward line includes Neymar and Pato. Their defense is extremely solid too, with David Luiz and Thiago Silva as a potential partnership. Their wing-backs, Dani Alves and Maicon, will certainly do some offensive damage.
In addition to Argentina and Brazil, I see Uruguay having a huge chance of winning the trophy. They were the huge underdogs in last year's World Cup and their whole team is superb. With an attack of Suarez, Forlan and Cavani, you would expect Uruguay to score lots of goals. Their defense is also superb, with the likes of Godin and Lugano.
So, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. I don't think many people think that any other teams have any chance of triumphing in the Copa America this year.
If I had to name another side to win, it would be Colombia. They are certainly one of the more unknown teams in the Copa America. This makes sense as they didn't participate in the last three World Cups. But it seems now that they have a really strong team.
This is somewhat thanks to Porto's treble winning season last year. Both Falcao and Guarin are in the Colombian team this year and will spearhead the team's attack. In addition, Hugo Rodallega should be great. In defense, Liverpool and Bayern Munich target Christian Zapata will be indispensable as he forms a partnership with captain Yepes.
Now that I have described some of the best teams' squads, what is the final verdict?
1. Argentina 7 Points
2. Colombia 7 Points
3. Bolivia 3 Points
4. Costa Rica 0 Points
1. Brazil 7 Points
2. Paraguay 5 Points
3. Ecuador 4 Points
4. Venezuela 0 Points
1. Uruguay 7 Points
2. Chile 6 Points
3. Mexico 4 Points
4. Peru 0 Points
Argentina vs. Ecuador = 3-1
Colombia vs. Chile = 2-1
Brazil vs. Mexico = 3-0
Uruguay vs. Paraguay = 2-0
Argentina vs. Colombia = 2-0
Brazil vs. Uruguay= 3-2
Argentina vs. Brazil = 3-1
I believe that Argentina will avenge their last two Copa America final defeats against Brazil. I believe Messi will score a double with Higuain securing the third. Brazil's scorer will be Alexandre Pato.
Golden Boot Winner(s):