This Sunday begins the most atypical edition of the continent’s most important national team tournament, with ‘Canarinha’ as the big favorite
Uncertainty follows the 47th edition of the Copa America . After the postponement due to the pandemic, the change of venues and the sanitary instability in Brazil , the great football tournament in America begins this Sunday, June 13, with the Colombia-Ecuador and Brazil-Venezuela games. This time, unlike other editions, there will be no invited teams or fans in the stands.
What happened to James Rodríguez?
The Colombian national team dismissed its most media and talented player. James Rodríguez was not called up by coach Reinaldo Rueda. The coach argued that he did not want to risk the recovery of a calf injury to the former Real Madrid player . James published a statement in which he showed his “disappointment” with Rueda for not trusting him, since, according to the player, he felt capable of reaching the Copa America on a good level. The Colombian coach ended the controversy: “It’s normal, he’s not strong, it’s the pain at a time when he’ll have to go through this sadness. I told him ‘think about it, reconsider and we’ll talk in a few months.’ Edwin Cardona will be the heir of shirt 10. Colombia’s historic striker Radamel Falcao will also be absent due to injury.
Is Neymar’s Brazil favorite?
Coach Tite has built a stellar team in Brazil . The Brazilians are the current champions of Copa América for having beaten Peru (3 to 1). In the last two years, Canarinha perfected the machine and became the leader of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup . They won all six matches they played, with 16 goals in favor and only two against.
Tite has at his disposal two of the best goalkeepers in the world: Ederson (Manchester City) and Alisson (Liverpool). In the defense is the veteran Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Eder Militão (Real Madrid) and Marquinhos (PSG). In the center of the field there are two pillars such as Casemiro (Real Madrid) and Fred (Manchester United), added to Paquetá (Olympique) and Fabinho (Liverpool). On the offensive, Brazil has options to share with Neymar (PSG), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Richarlison (Everton), Éverton (Benfica) and Gabigol (Flemish).
Messi’s last chance?
Lionel Messi is one of the oldest football players in the Argentine national team. At 33, he already assumes the role of a mature captain. To the experience of the Barcelona player are added Franco Armani (River Plate), Sergio Agüero (Barça), Ángel Di María (PSG), Alejandro Papu Gómez (Sevilla) and Agustín Marchesín (Porto). Messi in his winning career failed to win the Copa America. He has already played in three tournament finals with Alviceleste and lost three times: in 2007 to Brazil, 3-0; in 2015 against Chile, 0x0 (4×1 on penalties) and in 2016 against Chile, 0x0 (4×2 on penalties).
Rosário’s player has one more opportunity to become champion with the alviceleste. This time the Argentina team has a renewed team full of young people. One of the best stimuli is having Inter scorer Lautaro Martínez as a great attacking partner and a Leandro Paredes who will protect the midfield.
Uruguay can surprise?
The Uruguayan team, the biggest winner of the Copa América, with 15 trophies, has in its squad several inspired soccer players. Luis Suárez, José María Giménez and Lucas Torreira won the LaLiga with Atlético de Madrid in a season of agony and triumph. There is also Federico Valderde, a versatile Real Madrid player who ended a great season because he was crucial for the team. Defender Ronald Araujo was part of the starting lineup for Barça and Jonathan Rodríguez was crowned champion for Cruz Azul, a Mexican club that had not won the championship for over 23 years.
What are the sanitary measures?
The Conmebol ensured that the Copa America tournament will be the safest with regard to the pandemic covid-19 . The organization received through a donation more than 50,000 vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Sinovac, which were used to immunize employees, coaches and soccer players. The vaccination of players, however, is not mandatory. Some, such as Neymar, Ángel Di María, Josef Martínez, had already been immunized in their respective countries of work.
The games will be played in four Brazilian cities (Cuiabá, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and Goiânia), behind closed doors. Each team will have a sports bubble in which there will be no third-party access to the hotels. There are fines of up to $30,000 (153,000 reais) for players who violate health protocols. Before each match, everyone involved must present a vaccination certificate or, failing this, a PCR test carried out 48 hours before.
Why didn’t it take place in Colombia and Argentina?
The edition of this Copa America would be the first to be organized in two different countries. In Colombia, President Iván Duque presented a tax reform proposal in late April to address the covid-19 economic crisis. Colombian society has taken to the streets to protest since April 28. The Duke Government increased the tone of the protests by sending the police and army to contain them. Police brutality led to more demonstrations across the country and more than 50 deaths. Social instability caused Colombia to withdraw from the Copa America. He asked for a postponement and Conmebol rejected it.
Argentina remained the only venue for the tournament. During the first months of 2021, doubts arose from the Alberto Fernández government as the country faced the beginning of a second wave of Covid-19 infections . Pressure hovered over the organization until on May 30, Conmebol suspended the event in Argentina.