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Copa America 2015 preview: Group C

Brazil

FIFA World Rank: 5

The Brazilians have a point to prove in Copa America, after their nightmare outing in the 2015 World Cup, in which they were humiliated 7-1 at home by Germany. Dunga was appointed as coach right after, and he has revamped his squad. He has included Douglas Costa, Fred, Firmino and Coutinho, based on their club form. However, the absence of Oscar and Luiz Adriano seem surprising.

Expectation: Brazil is here to win it, as their record in the friendlies suggest, with victories over Argentina, Chile, France and Germany.

Strength: Neymar has had a wonderful season, he also has Firmino, Fred and Coutinho in attack alongside him, so this team will not rely solely on the Barca forward to get on the scoresheet.

Weakness: Inclusion of players without international experience may hurt Brazil if they lose one of their starters to injury.

Players to watch: Neymar, Coutinho

Copa America record: Winners – 5, Runners-up – 11

Copa America 2011 finish: Quaterfinals

Coach: Dunga

Goalkeepers: Jefferson, Neto, Marcelo Grohe,

Defenders: David Luiz, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Fabinho, Geferson, Filipe Luis, Danilo

Midfielders: Fernandinho, Elias, Souza, Everton Ribeiro, Douglas Costa, Willian, Philippe Coutinho

Forwards: Neymar, Diego Tardelli, Robinho, Firmino

 

Colombia

FIFA World Rank: 4

Colombia arguably play the most attractive football, which is rare these days when it comes to international matches. Jose Pekerman, the 3-times South American coach of the year, has brought back Radamel Falcao, after he missed out on last year’s World Cup. But the heart of this team is James Rodriguez, with the two Juans on the wings, and Martinez upfront. They have the potential to decimate the likes of Brazil and Argentina, they might just do so.

Expectation: Colombians will attempt to build on their World Cup performance, Jose Pekerman will make sure that his team does not falter when it comes to big teams in the finals.

Strength: One of the best attacking line-ups in the world right now, however unlike Argentina, they have balance in their squad. Rodriguez and Martinez will give every defender 90-minute nightmares.

Weakness: Colombia is yet to reach the semifinals of any tournament since 2001, when they won their last was Copa America. They might lack the attitude to grind out a win during latter stages

Players to watch: James Rodriguez, Jackson Martinez

Copa America record: Winners – 1, Runners-up – 1

Copa America 2011 finish: Quaterfinals

Coach: Jose Pekerman

Goalkeepers: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Cristian Bonilla

Defenders: Camilo Zuniga, Santiago Arias, Carlos Valdes, Cristian Zapata, Jeison Murillo, Pablo Armero, Pedro Franco, Darwin Andrade

Midfielders: Alexander Mejia, Carlos Sanchez, Edwin Cardona, Edwin Valencia, James Rodriguez, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Victor Ibarbo

Forwards: Radamel Falcao, Carlos Bacca, Jackson Martinez, Teofilo Gutierrez, Luis Fernando Muriel

Peru

FIFA World Rank: 61

Peru appointed Ricardo Gareca as their coach in February this year. He has not been able to work with his squad long enough to decide on a consistent line-up. They do have forwards Jefferson Farfan, Paolo Guerrero, veteran Claudio Pizarro, along with some new faces in Andre Carillo and Yordi Reyna. Althoug they did reached the semifinals last time, they will find it difficult to make it out of the group stages this time.

Expectation: The result of the Peru vs Venezuela fixture will decide the two best 3rd-placed teams, both of them will suffer if they draw, so it is a must-win match for both of these teams.

Strength: Their only strength is the quality of their forwards, and they will heavily relied on for finishing with points.

Weakness: While Carlos Zambrano is a reliable defender, but he does not have a quality support beside him in defence. This will be a problem during the match against Venezuela, which they need to win.

Players to watch: Jefferson Farfan, Andre Carillo

Copa America record: Winners – 2, Runners-up – 0

Copa America 2011 finish: 3rd Place

Coach: Ricardo Gareca

Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese, Diego Penny, Salomon Libman

Defenders: Luis Advincula, Carlos Zambrano, Pedro Requena, Hansell Riojas, Christian Ramos, Yoshimar Yotun, Jair Cespedes

Midfielders: Josepmir Ballon, Edwin Retamoso, Carlos Lobaton, Carlos Ascues, Joel Sanchez, Paolo Hurtado, Juan Manuel Vargas, Christian Cueva

Forwards: Andre Carrillo, Jefferson Farfan, Paolo Guerrero, Claudio Pizarro, Yordy Reyna

 

Venezuela

FIFA World Rank: 72

The other losing semi-finalist of the 2011 Copa America, they arrive with a new coach, Noel Sanvicente. Although they lost to Jamaica in a friendly this year, they went on to win against Peru four days later. Salomon Randon has helped Zenit win the Russian Premier League, with his 13 goals in 26 matches. He is the best chance Venezuela have of making it past the group stages, so he has to deliver.

Expectation: Same as Peru, they need to win that match.

Strength: Not as top-heavy as Peru, they do have Salomon Randon playing upfront. If Randon fires a few goals against Peru, they might just make it through as a 3rd-placed team.

Weakness: Although better than Peru defensively, they are not of that quality to stop the likes of Neymar and James Rodriguez.

Players to watch: Salomon Randon

Copa America record: Winners – 5, Runners-up – 11

Copa America 2011 finish: 4th Place

Coach: Noel Sanvicente

Goalkeepers: Alain Baroja, Wuilker Farinez, Daniel Hernandez

Defenders: Gabriel Cichero, Grenddy Perozo, Andres Tunez, Wilker Angel, Roberto Rosales, Fernando Amorebieta, Oswaldo Vizcarrondo

Midfielders: Rafael Acosta, Alejandro Guerra, Ronald Vargas, Franklin Lucena, Cesar Gonzalez, Tomas Rincon, Luis Manuel Seijas, Juan Arango

Forwards: Jhon Murillo, Gelmin Rivas, Nicolas Fedor, Josef Martinez, Salomon Rondon

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