The long-awaited 2019 Copa America is here. Will Brazil win another title on home soil? Will Messi finally win a major international trophy? Can Chile defend their crown? Here are Things to Look Out for in Copa America. Bet on football here.
Messi’s last chance to win a major international title?
Lionel Messi, arguably the best player of all time, will be playing in probably his last Copa America tournament which kicks off on Friday. This will be Messi’s fifth Copa and he’ll be turning 32 during the event. This tournament has been Messi and Argentina’s house of pain. Messi was involved in final losses in 2007, 2015 and 2016. Although Albiceleste have always had the quality, they are always dubbed as favourites, they have massively underwhelmed in major tournaments, for example, the 2018 World Cup. Can Messi finally win an international title to add to his glittering trophy-laden career?
Brazil’s last Copa America title came in 2007. Since then, they are yet to light up a major tournament. The 2014 World Cup, which they hosted was a catastrophe and they never really showed up in last year’s showpiece. However, they have a chance to redeem themselves in this year’s Copa America. They will have to win the trophy, as they did on all four previous occasions they hosted the event. They have all the ingredients they want to win it all. The experience of Fernandinho, Dani Alves and the youthful exuberance of players like Lucas Paqueta, the Brazilians can go all the way. Tite and Brazil have a lot to prove.
Baptism of fire for Carlos Queiroz
The seasoned Carlos Queiroz has never worked in South America before. He is obviously a slight gamble in appointing him and the 2019 Copa America might have come a little too early. Queiroz did wonders with the Iranian national team with less quality compared to Colombia. His first match in charge will be against Argentina, a giant in world football. Although he’s faced the same predicament before in his long managerial career, this will be unchartered territory.
Qatar and Japan, winner and runners-up in the Asian Cup held earlier this year, will both be in Brazil to compete for another piece of silverware, the Copa America. Given there are only ten national teams in South America two countries are invited to fill the gap and make it a 12-team tournament. This tournament is perfect for the Japanese. It will also be a preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2022 considering that 18 of their 23 players are 22 years and under. Regardless of what happens, this is a good tournament for them to develop their players. Qatar are on a roll at the moment. They’ve beaten Switzerland and Ecuador in 2018 which suggested they were building something special. The Maroons took the Asian Cup by storm in January, emerging triumphant by scoring a staggering 19 goals and conceding just once. This means that they are not a walkover and their opening match against Paraguay is winnable.
Chile’s title defence
After almost a century, Chile finally clinched the Copa on home ground in 2015. They achieved one of the greatest feats in their history by winning it a year later in New Jersey. Therefore, the class of 2019 will be highly motivated to defend their crown. However, nearly all of Chile's golden generation have aged together and ran out of steam failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Now, they don’t have players to replace the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas. With other teams going from strength to, Chile has been left behind and there’s huge doubt if they can defend their title.