WE’RE still six days away from the start of the Euros but Copa America kicks off late tonight with hosts USA v Colombia.
The tournament has been increased to 16 teams with Costa Rica and Paraguay completing the Group A line-up.
They are unbeaten in seven against the Yanks and have won their last three matches, including World Cup qualifying ties at home to Bolivia and impressively away to Ecuador.
James Rodriguez has plenty to prove after being left out of the Champions League Final by Real Madrid and Carlos Bacca is always a goal threat.
Outright favourites are Argentina who lost to Chile on penalties in last summer’s final in Santiago and have a doubt over Lionel Messi who was injured in their final warm-up match against Honduras as well as being distracted by his tax fraud case in Spain. They are 2-1 at Ladbrokes on the outrights with Chile 8-1 at William Hill.
The bottom half of the draw is tougher with likely Group C winners Uruguay set to face Argentina or Chile in the last eight. If they can come through that tie they’ll have a great chance of going all the way.
With Luis Suarez, arguably the best striker on the planet, in their ranks they can’t be written off but Suarez will miss the opener against Mexico on Sunday and hasn’t been cleared to face Venezuela on June 9.
Second favourites Brazil will be without Neymar who instead will lead their bid at the Olympics. Douglas Costa is injured and Thiago and David Luiz are also absent so it’s maybe a side at two-thirds strength who will kick off.
They should qualify from Group B with Ecuador but if they face Colombia in the last eight I reckon they’ll be out.
So let the action begin but without Neymar and possibly Suarez and Messi it could be a damp squib.
Colombia to beat USA
Colombia to win Group A