The biggest football extravaganza in South America is underway in Brazil, though laced with controversy and dissatisfaction across numerous quarters in the manner with which it has been organized and the way dissenting voices’ concerns have been ignored.
Of course, there was going to be dissenting voices after stripping Argentina and Colombia the hosting rights, but that is not the only issue.
CONMEBOL left tongues wagging after settling on Brazil, with civil unrest causing the cancellation in Colombia while rising cases of Covid-19 were cited for overlooking Argentina.
Argentina’s cases, on a world scale, are still lower than Brazil’s by far, and it would explain why Brazilian fans, players and leaders alike were against the tournament being hosted in Brazil. They say they want vaccines more than the cup.
This can no longer be considered a sideshow, especially after Venezuela and Bolivia reported some players and officials had to go into isolation after testing positive.
After the cases reported ahead of the opening game, it will be everyone’s hope that no more players will test positive, with that set to deplete the standard of the competition.
This competition falls in a window where a lot of events are on course or are set to take place across the world.
Euro 2020 is underway and the Gold Cup is coming soon while the World Cup qualifiers in Asia are going on.
For all these and more, Wincomparator will have sports betting odds for the events covered in this busy period.
There’s a lot of talent on show at the ongoing Copa America among the 10 teams involved, with top-class football set to grace the screens between June 13 and July 10. Here we have a look at some of the players to watch:
Emerson Aparecido de Souza
The young Brazilian defender has just completed his third season in Europe, playing for Real Betis, a side that jointly, with Barcelona, signed him from Atletico Mineiro.
He is set to switch to Barcelona next season and coms up as one of the payers to follow at the Copa America. He may not have featured in the opening game as Brazil beat Venezuela 3-0 but his athleticism, aerial prowess and strength, all of which have seen him attract interest from Arsenal and Inter Milan, mean he will come in handy for the Brazilians.
With the growing interest in his services, Copa America will be a good avenue to market himself.
At 21, Penarol attacking midfielder Facundo Torres has done enough to catch veteran Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez’s attention and heading to this competition, he has two caps.
He rose off the bench for his first senior cap then got his full debut after days against Venezuela.
His pace and ability to play anywhere across the attack places him high among his peers and there has been rumoured interest from Europe.
For him, success in this tournament is key, and he will know many eyes are watching. With Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez soon leaving the scene, Torres could be the man being readied.
There has been talks of the ageing Chilean squad and the need to inject new blood. Carlos Palacios, 20, of Internacional represents that new blood.
A winger who can also lead the attack, Palacios has been mooted as Alexis Sanchez’s long term replacement.
He was the second-best player in the Chilean league in 2020 while playing for Union Espanola and it engineered a move to Internacional, on loan.
Palacios has good speed on the ball and a good shot; these are major attributes he brings to the fore, and make him a player to watch.
The 21-year old midfielder was on show for 84 minutes as a depleted Venezuela lost 3-0 to Brazil in the first game of Copa America.
With the issues surrounding the team, he may have been limited in showing away his best but he can always be banked on to provide moments of magic.
A good passer, Casseres also offers defensive presence and has a good shot. Currently he plays his club football at NY Red Bulls.
In any football competition in South America, two players that will always stand out are Neymar and Lionel Messi.
These will always be players to watch and thy lead a contingent of experienced heads across the CONMEBOL region.
Whereas the young players offer the excitement an extra push in such competitions, they need the experienced heads for the leadership, inspiration and ability to handle the tough situatiuons.