Some of these games will highlight the quality of the tournament this year.
The 2021 Copa America begins on June 13 with a blockbuster opener between Argentina and Chile. Divided into North and South zone respectively, five teams will battle it out in each group to qualify for the knockouts.
Defending champions Brazil are one of the strongest contenders and will look to retain the title. However, the Selecao will not have it the easy way especially with Colombia and Peru in the same group. On the other hand, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay sum up a deadly Group A.
As the excitement for the Copa America grows by each passing day, we take a look at the five group stage games one must not miss.
5. Peru Vs Brazil
A repeat of the 2019 Copa America final, Peru will be going into this game with revenge in mind. However, Los Incas have not had the best of time in the past couple of years as they are winless in the last seven games in all competitions.
Incidentally, their last win came against Brazil in an international friendly in September 2019. In October last year, they also fell to a 2-4 defeat against the Selecao in a FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifying game. Interestingly, Peru’s top scorer Paolo Guerrero (37) will most probably be playing his final major tournament for the country and will be hoping for a memorable send-off.
However, Brazil are one of the favorites to win this tie on June 18. Tite has put together a very strong squad and the team have a winning momentum to back it with.
4. Uruguay Vs Chile
Record 15-time Copa America champions Uruguay are one of the contenders for the 2021 edition of the tournament. The La Celeste have some rather in-form stars in their roster including Luis Suarez, Matias Vecino, Jose Gimenez and Lucas Torreira. They will be banking on these players’ services who are coming on the back of successful domestic seasons. Against an opposition like Chile, they will have to display their best performance.
Moreover, Uruguay have defeated the La Roja in their two previous meetings. That could act as a confidence booster when they meet once again in the Copa America on June 20. However, Chile are also a team to reckon with and Uruguay will not have it the easy way, thus making it an exciting fixture to watch.
3. Brazil Vs Colombia
Brazil will understandably be the favorites to win the game, but considering Colombia’s threat in the recent years, it will be a far from pre-decided result. The Los Cafeteros have a good blend of young and experienced players in the squad.
However, James Rodriguez will be direly missed when they take on the continent’s heavyweights. The Everton star has been left out of their squad due to injury. Nevertheless, they are blessed with the attacking firepower of Atalanta duo Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata.
The two sides have met each other only twice in the last four years and both games have ended in draws. When the two sides face each other June 24, the spectators will most probably witness a spectacle.
2. Argentina Vs Chile
Despite outwitting Chile in the past couple of years, Argentina would still be looking to avenge their 2016 Copa America Final loss. Their talismanic attacker Lionel Messi will also be hoping to break the curse of not winning silverware with the national team.
Against Chile, the La Albiceleste have a chance to make it a perfect start to their tournament which they haven’t won since 1993. The La Roja, on the other hand, have had a mixed set of results in recent games. Alexis Sanchez will once again be their target man, especially as he comes on the back of a historic Serie A title with Inter Milan.
The last time these two sides met, Messi and Gary Medel were both given marching orders. Nevertheless, Argentina sealed a third-place finish in 2019 Copa America with a 2-1 victory. Their tie in the World Cup Qualifiers prior to the 2021 Copa America opener on June 13 will prove to be a test of calibers.
1. Argentina Vs Uruguay
Who wouldn’t want to watch a ‘Messi vs Suarez’ in a crunch Copa America clash? The duo has been phenomenal over the years. Both are aching over winning the prestigious title for their country and thus, all friendships will be forgotten during the tie on June 17.
This fixture has always been evenly-matched over the years, with their last two meetings ending in draws. The last time Argentina faced Uruguay, Sergio Aguero and Messi were on target for the Albiceleste. On the other hand, Suarez and Edinson Cavani stepped up for Uruguay to make it a 2-2 draw.
It will be interesting to see which side gets on top this time, with several youngsters also coming in focus.