Colombians win competition against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.


What makes the two young Rosario Central players Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso the players they are?


An interview with Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori ahead of Sunday's Clásico.


Taking a look at the next great Argentinian #5, the next Javier Mascherano.


Colombians win the Copa Sudamericana after penalty thriller against Huracán.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Derlis Gonzalez is Paraguay’s hero – Brazil out

The drama on Friday night was extended until the last possible moment. Argentina needed penalties to get by Colombia in a game which was heavily dominated by the Albiceleste. Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina put on a show and gave his Colombian teammates the (through 90 minutes highly unlikely) chance to come out as winners on penalties. But it was not meant to be. 3 misses were one too many, and after Murillo could not convert the seventh penalty for Colombia, Carlos Tevez did and ended the quarterfinal.

A day later, Paraguay completed the semifinal. They shocked Brazil with a 5-4 win after penalties. In the first half, Brazil impressed with technically good football. That led to the opening goal by Robinho, who finished off an excellent low cross from Dani Alves (still wondering when this guy learned how to cross). Paraguay were by no means playing a bad game either. They might not have the individual quality that the Brazilians can put onto the pitch, but they made up for it by fighting for every inch. Due to Brazil’s vulnerability at the back, this led to quite a few chances, none of them really 100% though. Jefferson kept looking like a risk in goal as the tournament goes on, you might remember the weird goal they gave up to Peru in the first group game.

Since Paraguay already showed their comeback qualities in the 2-2 draw against Argentina, the second half still held a lot of excitement. They came right back out in their aggressive style and were ultimately rewarded with some huge chances for an equalizer. A freekick was saved on the near side, a Valdez header went over the crossbar and da Silva produced a great save on the line from Jefferson. Paraguay controlled the game in large parts now and kept Brazil defending in their own half, then profited from a ridiculous handball from Thiago Silva which resulted in a penalty. Derlis Gonzalez left no doubt and fired it into the bottom left corner and suddenly Brazil had their backs against the wall, needing to get back into an attacking mode that they lost at the end of the first 45 minutes. With penalties on the horizon (no extra time at the Copa América before the final), neither team managed any sort of breakthrough and never was the phrase “a game of two halves” more fitting.

CIixToWW8AAkSQw.jpg large

Gonzalez goal! Paraguay’s #10 ties the game up via penalty and rewards Paraguay for a fantastic second half.

The shooting competition from 11 meters that noone really likes, unless you are German, had to decide this quarterfinal. The unpleasant memories from 2011, when Brazil missed all four penalties against this same Paraguay at the same stage, still in the head, their demons came back to haunt them fast. Substitute Everton Ribeiro, who came on late just for the penalty shootout, missed the second one wide to the right. When Douglas Costa shot the fourth penalty over the crossbar it seemed all over, Roque Santa Cruz shortly gave them hope again doing the same. But the fifth penalty was the coolest of them all. Derlis Gonzalez stepped up again and he would have scored this one in his sleep. Paraguay turn it around and kick out Brazil! And most of all, after this second half, it was completely deserved.

Now they will get the chance to play against Argentina again. While their opponent are strong favorites yet again, Paraguay have shown throughout the tournament that you have to expect a good and competitive match out of them, and this is what will happen again in the semifinal. I am looking forward to it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

First semifinal complete – Chile vs Peru

The first two quarterfinals of the 2015 Copa América have been played, and the outcome was on one side very controversial and on the other side more than deserved. Let’s get to the facts first of all. Chile beat Uruguay 1-0 while Peru were too strong for Bolivia, winning 3-1. So far, so good. Now where is the controversy?

The game between the hosts and the record champion was overshadowed by a questionable performance from the Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci and his assistants. While the 1-0 win was okay overall (81st minute goal from Mauricio Isla), the circumstances in which it came together were not. Uruguay played a lot better themselves than they still did in the group stages, having quite a lot of chances. The scene that probably lost them the game took place in the 63rd minute, when Edinson Cavani was sent off. What happened? Mainz 05 defender Gonzalo Jara put his finger into a body part of Cavani where it does not belong. This went unnoticed, not so much the reaction from the PSG striker, who was unsurprisingly not amused and slapped his opponent’s face. His second yellow card fired the game up even more than it already was and ended in another late dismissal for Nacional defender Jorge Fucile. Ricci lost control of this game way earlier in the first half and you could never get rid of the feeling that something was not going quite right in Santiago.

guerrero-1435301033_zoom26_crop_800x600_800x600 23 11

Hattrick hero: Paolo Guerrero scored all three goals as Peru knock out Bolivia.

In the second quarterfinal on the day after, Peru was always in control against Bolivia. When I said Paolo Guerrero was due to score a goal, I frankly did not expect this kind of night from him. One of the top South American forwards scored not one, not two, but three goals against a team that could never deal with him or the Peruvian offense in general. The better team clearly won and in the process outplayed Bolivia that had the same happen to them in the 0-5 loss to Chile. For two time Copa winners Peru, this is a performance they can build upon when facing the favorites Chile in the next round. Both will have a chance to play for a medal, only one though for the title.

After both team’s performances, it is not extremely easy to predict a semifinal outcome. But as of today, I will go with Peru upsetting Chile and making it to their first final since 1975, leaving the hosts behind once again.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Copa América – Quarterfinal previews & predictions

Chile vs Uruguay (June 24)

One of the most intriguing quarterfinals starts off the round. Chile were convincing in the group stages playing offensive power football, while scoring a whole 10 goals. Despite a 3-3 draw, they kept a clean sheet two times. If you look at keys to beat a team like Uruguay you will not get past a good defensive performance. After watching a lot of football at this tournament, I have to say Chile are the only favorite that completely convinced me.

Uruguay have been mediocre at best. They have looked slow and not very creative. While this has never really been a strength of this team, you would just expect more against teams like Jamaica or Paraguay. On the bright side, their defense was there when needed, and Godín, who missed the clash with Paraguay, will return for the game against Chile, giving them an additional boost. They will need him against Alexis Sanchez and Co.

Prediction: It is a tough one, but if Chile can keep up their form from the group stage games, they will come away with a win. Uruguay will do their best to destroy the hosts offensive plan. 2-1 Chile.

Bolivia vs Peru (June 25)

A quarterfinal, that not many would have necessarily predicted ahead of the tournament’s start. Bolivia beat out Mexico and Ecuador to finish second only behind the hosts. Those Chileans destroyed them 5-0 in the last group outing though. Personally, I am pretty certain that Bolivia will bounce back against Peru. Bolivia showed that they can score goals, but they can not keep the ball out of their own net in return. It should be an interesting game.

Peru on the other side made the quarterfinal with a good defensive group stage. The only two goals they gave up were scored by Brazil in the first game. With Cueva, Pizarro and Guerrero, just to name three, the two time Copa América winner are dangerous up front as well and Bolivia will have to keep their eye on the opponent’s offense at all times. Guerrero is still without a goal, he might be due for one soon.

Prediction: If defense wins championships, you have to go with Peru here. A one goal win for them.


Peru with captain Claudio Pizarro will look to reach the semifinals for the second time in a row by beating Bolivia on Thursday.

Argentina vs Colombia (June 26)

The style in which Argentina marched through the group reminded of the World Cup. Previously announced as a more offensive version for this tournament, they lacked a lot especially in the final third of the pitch. That it was still enough for 7 points does not speak for the rest of the group. Still, the Albiceleste has tons of quality as you well know. In this tournament they would automatically be favorites against anyone for my liking.

Colombia played an up and down group stage themselves. Following a surprising loss to Venezuela, they even more surprisingly beat Brazil, just to follow it up with a goalless draw against Peru, which makes you wonder where they stand again. Playing dirty against Peru, they can call themselves lucky to have James and Cuadrado available for the quarterfinal. Not all that much to see from the football that was celebrated around the world a year ago.

Prediction: Argentina to win 2-0, maybe Messi to wake up?

Brazil vs Paraguay (June 27)

A Neymar-less Brazil made it through to the quarter finals after a controlled win against Venezuela. Others were shining in the captain’s absence, for example Willian and Roberto Firmino. Now that it is crunchtime in the tournament, the loss of Neymar might have more of an effect on this Brazilian team. Sure, they still have a good team, but we know that this situation has the squad bothered. You wonder which team will show up against Paraguay: The average one from the Peru game? The bad one against Colombia? Or the good one that beat Venezuela? The last one might be required.

Paraguay on the other hand have not lost a single game yet in the 2015 Copa América, which is even more impressive as they come out of the group including Argentina and Uruguay. In addition, they did not have much trouble scoring goals and were dangerous from open play as well as set pieces like we recently saw against Uruguay. The 2-2 draw against Argentina in the opening match was a huge confidence booster, that the team has used to their advantage ever since.

Prediction: A close game that can go both ways. I am going with the surprise and Paraguay to win 1-0.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chile cruise to Group A win – Ecuador still hope

At the end of the day, Chile did not leave any questions. Ever since the Vidal accident under influence of alcohol, people were wondering what kind of team from the hosts we would see in the last match against Bolivia. While coach Sampaoli stated early, that Arturo Vidal would remain a key part in the first 11, the incident brought up a lot of disturbance around the team.

The team itself did not seem to be bothered the slightest in the meantime. 5-0 against a poor Bolivian team meant Chile top Group A with 7 points and a whole 10 goals from 3 matches. While the defense did not hold up in the second game (3-3 draw against Mexico), it did again last night. One of the bright spots in all the goalfests is that Chile gets good production from all around the team. Midfielders Vidal (3) and Aranguiz as well as striker Vargas (2) all scored alongside of Alexis Sanchez and Gary Medel.


Chile’s players celebrating a goal in their massive 5-0 win over Bolivia last night.

The opponent in the quarter final is not clear yet. It will be either the third placed team from Group B or C. Possibilities include Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina (B) and every team from C.

Bolivia, despite their 0-5 thumping, follow Chile into the round of the best 8. Previously I would have counted them in for maybe a surprise semi final appearance, but last night’s match speaks another language. We will see how they can deal with that big loss. They will play the runner-up from Group C, so a Neymar-less Brazil is the worst that can happen to them.

Ecuador have hope. The third place team in the Chile-Group waited until the last day to collect their first three points. Whether it will be enough will be determined by the other two groups today and tomorrow. At least one third will need to finish worse than with three points and a goal difference of minus 2. The only possible candidate to do so today would be Uruguay, if they lost at least 0-2 to Paraguay. Not likely? Then Group C has to help, and will need a winner in each of the last games on the last matchday to avoid Ecuador going home.

Mexico are going home. After a promising start which was not rewarded by a win against Bolivia, another good draw against Chile, they could not do well in the final fixture and were eliminated by Ecuador themselves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

3 reasons why Brazil will go far

If you watched Brazil’s opening fixture in Group C on Sunday evening/night, you probably felt underwhelmed just like most others did. It took them until the 92nd minute to score the winning goal against Peru, who were on the same level. And Brazil is supposed to be a favorite? They did not show it on that day, but here is why they still are.

1. Brazil are clutch

While you saw the big football nation crumble under pressure at their home World Cup a year ago, things look different now. Playing in Chile, they have a lot less pressure. It showed at opportune times. Neymar’s 1-1 was scored just two minutes after the team fell behind due to a series of horrendous defensive errors (David Luiz, Jefferson). Throughout the game Brazil had chances to put the game away which they wasted. Nevertheless they never stopped, and were rewarded with Douglas Costa’s winning goal in the 92nd minute.

2. Brazil have Neymar

The man of the first group match was inevitably and expectedly him. Barca’s treble winner was part of every dangerous attack, scored the first goal himself and assisting on the late winner. The captain of the team is playing in a different class than everyone else at the moment. Peru could not stop him, but can Venezuela or Colombia? I personally am doubting that a lot and expect Neymar to be the decisive factor on the pitch. If his country goes far, it will be a lot because of him being the focal point of their game.

3. Brazil can bounce back from injury problems

A lot was written and talked about before the tournament even started and one big worry concerning Brazil was all their bad luck concerning injuries. They might be without Diego Alves, Luiz Gustavo and Co. So what? The players that came in did their job more than solid. Dani Alves, a late injury replacement callup by Dunga, played a magnificent game and crossed beautifully for the 1-1 goal. Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, who was supposed to play the main role in Brazil’s creative midfield, missed the first game because of a slight injury or knock as well. Fred, also a late injury replacement filled the void. Maybe not as good as Coutinho himself, but at the end of the day the results are what matters. And Brazil found a way to get it done.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Super Barrios - Paraguay pull one out of the hat late

On the third day of the Copa América, Group B played their first games. Uruguay beat Jamaica 1-0, the game itself was not particularly pretty. Cristian Rodríguez scored the winner in the 52nd minute. The game I am going to write about in detail will be Argentina vs Paraguay though.

Inevitably, some big names had no place in Argentina’s starting 11, and this time it was Carlos Tevez as well as rightback Pablo Zabaleta, who found themselves on the bench. Here are the lineups in full:

Argentina: Romero – Roncaglia, Garay, Otamendi, Rojo – Banega, Mascherano – Pastore – Messi, Agüero, di María.

Paraguay: Silva – M. Cáceres, da Silva, Aguilar, Samudio – V. Cáceres, Ortigoza, Ortiz – Bobadilla, Santa Cruz, Valdez.

1st half. We did not have to wait too long for the first half chance, Valencia’s Otamendi moved forward for a set piece and headed the ball (pretty far) over the crossbar. Fireworks like in the early stages of Chile’s opener were not really expected and did not happen either, since Argentina is a team that first of all relies on their defense as seen previously at the 2014 World Cup. Despite that, Paraguay is certainly the outsider in this match and any point for them would count as success. Back to the game, and Argentina has the ball almost all the time, but seems clueless with it so far, the only times it ever gets a bit dangerous remain set pieces. As you see so many times all season long, Messi has tons of opposition players around him. Still he ended up with the biggest chance of the game in the 18th when he redirected a Mascherano shot just wide.

Not much to see from 2011’s surprise second Paraguay, a lot of misplaced passes in their own half does not help their course. The Bundesliga striking trio (or former in Santa Cruz’ case) hangs in the air. Logically, Argentina just kept trying to do their thing, a low shot from Agüero was easily saved by Silva. Two minutes later, Kun did it better, taking advantage of a ridiculously poor back pass right into his run by Samudio and he had no trouble walking around the keeper and putting it into the back of the net, 1:0 (29’).

Only six minutes later, Argentina made it 2-0, a run from di Maria ended in an awful dive and a penalty, which was converted by Messi. The way this match has been going, this could game over for Paraguay already. The Albiceleste should have gotten a real penalty in the 40th when Messi was brought down, this time though for some reason the referee’s whistle kept quiet. The score remained until halftime and we have to analyze that we have just seen a pretty bad half of football with a dreadful Paraguay and a not much better Argentina who lead because of an individual defensive blackout and a penalty gift by the referee.

CHaZbaJUkAE93ik.jpg large

Copa start made easy: Agüero gets the opening goal against Paraguay served on a silver platter. It was not enough for the win though.

2nd half. What would the reaction to those 45 minutes be by Paraguay? There was none. They were still as bad as previously and, with all respect to their opponent today, if this is their ceiling, then Jamaica will be a bigger challenge for them than expected.

In the meantime, Argentina tried to extend their lead, Messi’s shot was saved by Silva after he played a beautiful one-two with Javier Pastore. Just as Paraguay looked like falling asleep an hour into the game, they suddenly woke up out of nowhere, Nelson Valdez had his shot saved by Romero, his second try was better. An absolute screamer found the top corner and made it 2-1.

On the opposite side the attempt for a quick answer by Lionel Messi went wide after he broke through the defensive line on the edge of the area. Pastore’s great shot was saved brilliantly by Silva, after the following corner Agüero had another go. The only thing you can blame Argentina for in the second half is their bad usage of quality chances. I do not want to take anything away from Paraguay though, who clearly got more offensive ever since scoring their first goal. Victor Cáceres had the chance to level things up, his backheeled ball did not find the target. Chances up and down the field, too many to even include them all in this post.

15 minutes from the end, the Argentines decided to show us their squad depth when they substituted Agüero and Pastore for Tevez and Higuaín. The first action the new guys saw was at the other end, Samudio’s shot was punched over the crossbar. Would have been a nice story for the player who made the horrible mistake that led to the opening goal. The favorite continued to waste excellent chances, and one man made them pay. Lucas Barrios, who came on for Santa Cruz, fired a low shot into the left corner, Romero was without a chance. And really, it was 2-2 after all in the 90th minute.

Paraguay come away with an unexpected point against Argentina, that I would have never seen coming after their first half display. Great for them!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Uruguay vs Jamaica – Preview

After the Copa América is now finally underway, it is time for the first match in Group B. The teams meeting each other could not be much further apart. Title holders and record champions Uruguay face CONCACAF team Jamaica, who were invited as a guest team for this year’s edition. Will the fans in the Estadio Regional de Antofagasta still be witnesses of an interesting and exciting match?

Let’s just say, there are at least doubts on my end. Uruguay have some serious talent up and down the squad, while Jamaica’s team has an estimated market value of under 14 million € (see Funnily enough, the coaches of each side, Oscar Tabarez and Winfried Schäfer, have the same number of points per game statistically. That is about all when it comes to similarities though.


Edinson Cavani: The PSG striker is the star of the team, his goals will be needed for Uruguay to go far in the tournament.

The South Americans have won both games they played in 2015, the most recent one 5-1 against Guatemala. Superstar Edinson Cavani and Diego Rolán, both under contract in France, paired up to form a dangerous duo up front and scoring the first three goals of the match. This gives Uruguay an option they will most likely use against the Carribean outsiders. The rest of the team is absolutely solid enough to succeed, backed by the fantastic Atlético centreback duo of Godín and Giménez, though the latter is a doubt for the Jamaica match due to a slight injury. His replacement would be Sebastian Coates.

On the flipside, it was only in March that Jamaica have beaten Venezuela in a friendly. So do not underestimate a team that has a good coach from Germany, and a couple of players who are under contract in the English Premier League like defenders Wes Morgan and Adrian Mariappa. Furthermore, this is exactly the area that Jamaica will need to be good in to keep Cavani and Rolan off the scoresheet. Deshorn Brown from Norway’s Valerenga is their guy to score the goals. If they score any that is. Coach Schäfer recently said he wants his team to reach the quarter final, but the group is obviously tough, as it also includes Argentina and Paraguay. 


Uruguay: Muslera – Maxi Pereira, Gimenez, Godin, Alvaro Pereira – Arevalo Rios – C. Rodriguez, Sanchez, Lodeiro – Rolan, Cavani.

Jamaica: Kerr – Mariappa, Taylor, Morgan, Lawrence – McCleary, Watson, Austin, McAnuff – Mattocks – Brown.

Stadium: The Estadio Regional de Antofagasta has room for 21178 fans.


Friday, June 12, 2015

La Roja start in style – Alexis makes the difference

The scene was set and Chile was ready to go: After a spectacular opening ceremony, the Copa América 2015 could finally get underway with the opening match between the hosts Chile and Ecuador.

The lineup’s did not provide any big shocks, I expected Vargas for Chile, he did not start. Instead an additional defender in Mena came into the starting 11 which forced experienced Beausejour into a more offensive role. Ecuador in return put everything on the field that they could. Walter Ayoví plays his 100th international for his country today.

Chile: Bravo – Isla, Medel, Jara, Mena – Aranguiz, Díaz, Vidal – Valdivia – Sánchez, Beausejour.

Ecuador: Domínguez – Paredes, Achilier, Erazo, Ayoví – Lastra, Noboa - Martínez, Bolaños, Montero – E. Valencia.

I am ready for a firework in this opener, so let’s get this party started, La Roja vs El Tri!

The start was promising, it took Chile just over a minute to get the first huge chance of the game, Alexis Sanchez was through on goal and slotted the ball just wide. Two minutes later he had the next chance, as he tried to lob the ball over the goalkeeper, but Dominguez had the right answer at the edge of his area. The offensive approach by the hosts in the early parts of the match is fun to watch, just not for Ecuador, who have trouble with especially the fast moves and turns of Alexis. 17 minutes in, they just tried it with some offense themselves, Montero beat Isla on the left side with a great run, noone was there to meet his low cross. Chile gave the ball away again carelessly right outside of their penalty area, Martínez’ shot was denied by Barca’s Claudio Bravo.

Maybe the players were overwhelmed themselves, but the game took a little break for a while, both teams were trying to get a bit more structure into their actions. Mauricio Isla kept bringing danger on the right wing, but his crosses continued to be met only by Ecuadorian defenders. Shortly after, a shot by Valdivia was easily saved. Finally in the 39th another big chance for Chile, Alexis sent Isla through and his attempt went wide. The 0-0 that the teams went to halftime with, did not really do the game justice. It was attractive and offensive for the most part, La Roja being the dominating team.

CHQj4qoWgAEGGRa.jpg large

“Help, ball!” Alexis Sánchez with Ecuador’s Walter Ayoví who played his 100th game.

One change in Santiago to start the second half, Eduardo Vargas came on for Beausejour who I saw about once in the first half. Ecuador, probably happy with a point from a game against the group favorites, can continue playing like they did towards the end of the first half, one way to success might be to exploit the extremely offensive right Chilean wing, since Isla looked bad defensively twice in the first half.

And that is exactly what they tried, an attack from El Tri’s left wing ended in the feet of Enner Valencia, but he missed the target disappointingly. Despite that chance, Chile quickly took charge again, yet some eyes started to look at the clock in the stadium. Thirty minutes left for each team to get a (possibly decisive) breakthrough. Just after the hour mark, Chile had their best chance of the second half thus far, a rising shot from substitute Vargas was saved on the near side by Domínguez.

The 65th minute of this game will surely be regretted by one player. Bolaños with a clumsy shirt pull on Vidal on the inside edge of the area was completely unneeded but resulted in a penalty. The fouled player took it himself and converted into the top right corner: 1-0 Chile. All defensive plans of the guests were now for the trashcan, a goal needed to get back on level terms.

Throwing everything forward started to work well for them quite a while later. Following some defensive confusion after a freekick, Enner Valencia headed the ball against the crossbar in the 82nd minute. Too close for comfort for Chile, who ended this game in style shortly after. You should not misplace the ball into Sánchez’ foot, if you are Ecuador. They did nevertheless and his brilliant through ball found Vargas, who made it 2-0 with a cool finish. Furthermore, in injury time, experienced Chile substitute Matías Fernández received a needless second yellow card and was sent off.

While it was a lot closer than it had to be until the end, La Roja’s victory is absolutely deserved. For the upcoming games they can significantly improve in their usage of chances though. Ecuador showed some promising scenes here and there, and will battle for second place in this group.

Man of the Match: Alexis Sánchez. Speedy, tricky, unstoppable for his opponents.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chile vs Ecuador – Opening match preview

The Copa América will finally start in two days (Friday morning 1:30am MEST for you Central Europeans). How would you start the huge continental competition better than with the hosts being involved? Chile will start off their campaign against Ecuador in Santiago’s Estadio Nacional.

15 times have these two nations met in history and the statistics could not be much more even: Six wins for each Chile and Ecuador, along with three draws. The last match ended in a 2-1 win for the Chileans in October 2013.


Alexis Sánchez is the superstar of the Chilean team and will be one of this year’s Copa América in his home country.

This time around, the signs look pretty clear. Chile have a team that can compete for the first title, backed by their enthusiastic home fans. Ecuador meanwhile are dealing with injury trouble, as they miss their best player, Manchester United right winger Antonio Valencia. Another attacking minded midfielder, Michael Arroyo, also misses the tournament, like Valencia through an ankle injury. The hosts line up with superstar Alexis Sánchez and Arturo Vidal, who just recently played (and lost) the Champions-League final with Juventus.

Nevertheless, Ecuador will most likely not come into the game short on confidence. On Saturday, Panama played sparring partner and got destroyed 4-0. Gustavo Quinteros’ team played in a 4-4-2 system with two defensive midfielders, a tactic that will likely reoccur in this first Copa match. Enner Valencia and Miler Bolaños meanwhile provide danger up front, that Chile will have to deal with.

The hosts themselves had more trouble in their own recent friendly, managing only a 1-0 win over El Salvador. Goalscorer Jorge Valdivia will play a key part in Chile’s 4-3-3 as the central striker between Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez. This trio can take apart any opponent by themselves. If you then take into account, that Vidal will join them along with treble winning goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (behind a traditionally strong defense), you can see why Chile is counted into the circle of strong favorites.

What to expect in the opening match? Chile will dictate the game, try to score early if possible. Ecuador have the means to counter attack efficiently, the question remains whether the hosts will give them any room to do so. It might be a close game with added pressure to perform well on Chile, it might as well set free additional energy though. The chance to be part of the first Chilean team that wins the Copa América would motivate anybody even a bit more, don’t you think?


Chile: Bravo – Isla, Medel, Jara, Beausejour – Vidal, Díaz – Aranguíz – Sánchez, Valdivia, Vargas.

Ecuador: Domínguez – Paredes, Erazo, Achilier, Ayoví – Martínez, Lastra, Noboa, Montero – Bolaños, Valencia.

Stadium: Estadio Nacional in the capital Santiago de Chile. Capacity: 47.000.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dropping like flies – Injury trouble for Brazil

Under two weeks ahead of the Copa América start, Brazil’s worries are not getting any smaller. After goalkeeper Diego Alves and defender Marcelo last week, now Luiz Gustavo who still scored in the German cup final last weekend, has to undergo knee surgery and will miss the tournament. The midfielder had no apparent problems beforehand, so it is to be expected that he got injured in said match.


Luiz Gustavo (left) and Marcelo (middle) will miss the Copa América.

All of a sudden, Brazil’s first eleven appears to be a lot weaker as both Gustavo and Marcelo would have played key parts. Even in goal, the situation did not get better with reserve keeper Alves out injured. Both options behind Jefferson have not played a single minute for their country yet.

A replacement for Gustavo is yet to be named, with Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Felipe Anderson (Lazio), Rafinha (Barcelona) and Kaká (Orlando City) being the options open to Dunga after they were named on Brazil's stand-by list.