Colombia and Chile take a step ahead of the pact and qualify for the next stage.
Round two of the group stage fixtures just ended in Copa America. The second round began with Peru getting the better of Bolivia and winning 3-1. Favourites Brazil and Argentina did not fare well in this round and were held to 0-0 and 1-1 draws by Venezuela and Paraguay respectively.
Argentina especially are in a deep mess given that they have just one point from two games and need to register a win against Qatar anyhow to qualify into the next round.
Colombia beat guest nation Qatar by a lone goal and the other Asian team in the competition Japan held Uruguay to a thrilling 2-2 draw. The previous two Copa America winners Chile also won their game against Ecuador.
All in all, it was twisting and turning match day, to say the least and here are the five things we learned from the six matches.
5. Is Tite too predictable with his selection?
Brazil coach Tite attracted a lot of flak for not trying to mix things up and going with the same lineup and substitution routine at the World Cup last year which made it very predictable to read Brazil’s plan of action. He has continued in the same method in the Copa America as well where there are hardly any surprises to the lineup and brings on the same players from the bench.
Against Venezuela, Tite adopted the same starting XI with the only exception of Arthur and made use of the usual changes which often sees him bringing Gabriel Jesus from the bench and playing him on the left, something that has been repeated often but hasn’t worked out. It is frustrating to see the manager make the same decisions given the depth in the Brazil squad.
4. Can Oscar Tabarez’s side go all the way?
Óscar Tabárez has built a dynasty with Uruguay and La Celeste look a great side with a gritty defensive stronghold. Their midfield comprises of hard-working but technically skilled ballplayers who are not afraid to do the dirty work and they have the dream pairing of Luis Suárez and Cavani up front.
Despite only managing a draw against Japan, Uruguay look well-oiled and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go all the way to lift their first Copa America since 2011.
3. Can Chile make a hattrick of successive Copa America wins?
Chile won its first international trophy in 99 years when it beat Messi’s Argentina in 2015 on penalties to win the Copa America. It repeated the same following year with Juan Antonio Pizzi succeeding Jorge Sampaoli as coach and attracted the attention of the world.
The side failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia however but look like their former selves in this year’s Copa under new manager Reinaldo Rueda. They have obtained great results in both the games they have played so far and are definitely worthy contenders for the title and would be eyeing to make history with three successive Copa wins.
2. Will the Asian Champions progress into the next round?
Current Asian Champions Qatar held Paraguay to a 1-1 draw in the opening game and unfortunately lost to a Zapata goal in the dying minutes of the game against Colombia. Qatar meet Argentina in the next round and given Argentina’s current state, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Felix Sanchez Bas’ side progress to the next round. Even if they manage a draw, Qatar would be the one to progress.
1. Is Lionel Scaloni the worst manager in Argentina’s recent history?
Watching Argentina transform from a near side to a full-blown toxic mess has been a revelation. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any worse, they did by appointing a manager who hasn’t managed in the top level ever before and the cluelessness is evident in his games.
Argentina practically play without a midfield and its defence looks like a heap of blunders. Lionel Messi is isolated and is expected to do it all as usual- dropping deep, building play, creating chances and finishing them. Scaloni has been horrendous with his changes as well and it would be a miracle if Argentina get as much of a sniff of the final.