The first round of games saw plenty of action as the tournament gathers pace.
The 46th edition of Copa America comes to us from the football-loving nation of Brazil. Like every year, the eyes of football-lovers around the globe are focused on the tournament.
After the finale of the UEFA Nations League it was time for us to see which is the greatest South American team. This year was a little different as two Asian debutantes made their way into the tournament as special invitees- Japan and Qatar
5. Japan must adapt to physicality of opponents
Japan made their debut at the Copa America against defending champions Chile. The Japanese, though the underdogs in the match, put up a brave fight even coming close to scoring, when an unmarked Naomichi Ueda only had the Chilean goalkeeper at his mercy, but shot wide of the target.
owever,, it didn’t take long for Chile to capitalize on their opponents’ shortcomings in thje final third. Erick Pulgar opened the scoring, followed by Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez taking it away completely, to give themselves a comfortable 4-0 victory putting them at the top of the group table.
4. Oscar Tabarez’s team look formidable
Uruguay made a scintillating start to their campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Ecuador. The top South American contenders made easy work of their opposition, as they looked to make a strong claim for the title.
Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring for the La Celeste followed by a beautiful back volley by Edinson Cavani, which made it 2-0. Luis Suarez got a third one right on the brink of half-time and an own-goal by Angel Mina in the 78th minute wrapped it up for Oscar Tabarez’s boys. If this is the start of things to come, we can only hope for more firepower from them in the following matches
3. Argentina’s woes continue
Lionel Messi’s misery at the Copa America seems to have no end. The runner’s up of last year’s competition, who have made quite a habit of choking in the tournament have done it yet again. This time around they fell to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals Colombia. Two substitutes Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata scored the goals in the second half, which broke many Argentinian hearts.
Messi’s hunched shoulders and passive face at the end of the match told its own story. It will now be interesting to see how they bounce back from this early setback.
2. No Neymar, no problem for Brazil
Hot favourites Brazil started their campaign in the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Bolivia. Though, the first half saw no goals, it was the second 45 which opened the floodgates.
In the absence of Neymar, it was Phillipe Coutinho who lifted the weight of the team on his shoulders and scored two important goals with Everton adding the finishing touch in the 85th minute.
1. Qatar are not here to make up the numbers
Debutants Qatar made a great comeback in their opening match against Paraguay, after trailing 2-0 till the later stages. Paraguay scored early after Cardozo converted a penalty in the 4th minute. Then, Derlis Gonzalez increased the lead with a brilliant strike in the 56th minute. But the match was yet to be over.
In response, Moez Ali matched him with a brilliant strike from outside the box beating the keeper to make the score 2-1. In the 77th minute, an unseccessful clearance by Paraguay’s Matias Rojas saw him heading the ball to his own net to level matters.