Copa America 2016 Catch Up

What’s that old saying about London Buses? After the re-arranged match between Manchester United and Bournemouth brought the curtain down on what has been one of the greatest seasons ever in English football, football fans were deprived of regular football and left with a void to fill in their lives. Well, fear not, that three-week long wait is now over and we have not just one tournament to enjoy but two. As well as the European Championships kicking off this evening, we also have the Copa America Centenario, taking place in the United States to enjoy. This year the tournament takes on extra significance as to celebrate its 100 year anniversary the usually South American tournament has become a fusion between both South and North America, with each group comprised of two teams from each federation. Here we take a look at the action so far.

Group A

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Colombia 2 2 0 0 4 1 3 6
2 United States of America 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 3
3 Paraguay 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
4 Costa Rica 2 0 1 1 0 4 -4 1

Group A is where we find the hosts, America, yet they had no time to settle in as they kicked off with their toughest game of the group against Colombia. José Pékerman’s men brushed them aside 2-0 thanks to goals from Cristián Zapata and star man James Rodríguez. Rodríguez would later be withdrawn with a shoulder injury but survived that injury scare to score again in Colombia’s next match, a 2-1 win over Paraguay. Meanwhile, the Americans quickly moved on from that defeat and set about demolishing Costa Rica, who are without Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas through injury, 4-0. The final round of fixtures pits USA against Paraguay and Costa Rica against Colombia. With Colombia already through, it is Costa Rica and Paraguay who have all the work to do. After they could only play out a limp 0-0 draw, both sides know they have to win to stand any chance of advancing. With the head to head system in place and the fact Paraguay play the USA they have the more favourable task, however, the United States look strong and are overwhelming favourites to join Colombia in the next round.

Group B
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Brazil 2 1 1 0 7 1 6 4
2 Peru 2 1 1 0 3 2 1 4
3 Ecuador 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
4  Haiti 2 0 0 2 1 8 -7 0
Brazil caused a shock when they decided not to take Neymar to this tournament and instead save him for the Olympics, being played on home soil in August. Since then things seem to have conspired to further weaken Brazil, they have picked up no fewer than six injuries; Douglas Costa, Rafinha, Ederson, Kaka, Ricardo Oliveira and Luis Gustavo all miss out. They appeared to take their toll in Brazil’s opener as they could only muster a disappointing 0-0 draw with Ecuador. Elsewhere, Peru set about beating whipping boys and debutants Haiti, who only qualified courtesy of a play-off victory over Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0. Brazil took on Haiti next and boy did they bounce back, they put Haiti to the sword and ran out 7-1 winners, the highlight being Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho scoring a stunning hat-trick. This moved Brazil top, courtesy of Ecuador salvaging a draw against Peru despite being 2-0 down thanks to West Ham’s Enner Valencia. The five-time world champions know they can afford no slip-ups in the final game against fellow table-toppers Peru. With Ecuador almost a certainty to beat Haiti, Brazil know anything less than a win could see them making an embarrassing early exit.
Group C
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Mexico 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 6
2 Venezuela 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 6
3 Uruguay 2 0 0 2 1 4 -3 0
4 Jamaica 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
 Group C has seen the biggest shock of the tournament so far. Uruguay, spearheaded by PSG’s Edinson Cavani and Barcelona’s Luis Suárez have been eliminated by outsiders Venezuela, whose star player is Salomon Rondon of West Bromwich Albion. Things have gone wrong from start to finish for Uruguay, in their opener. the national anthem of Chile was wrongly played instead of their own and on the pitch left- back Álvaro Pereira scored an own goal after just four minutes. However, the game was finely poised at 1-1 in the 85th minute but Uruguay capitulated and lost 3-1, conceding goals to two unlikely sources, Rafael Márquez and Héctor Herrera. With Venezuela’s 1-0 win over Jamaica, the clash between the two became a must win for the men in blue. This did not happen, after more anthem blunders, Pitbull was played over part of their national anthem, the team didn’t turn up on the pitch again and were unable to respond to Salomon Rondon’s 36th minute strike. Their elimination was confirmed hours later as Mexico beat Jamaica 2-0. That all means that Uruguay’s final match against Jamaica becomes a dead rubber and Mexico and Venezuela will go to Houston and fight it out for top spot.
Group D
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Argentina 2 2 0 0 7 1 6 6
2  Chile 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
3 Panama 2 1 0 1 2 6 -4 3
4 Bolivia 2 0 0 2 2 4 -2 0
In Group D, both teams started out with their most important game. If Argentina or Chile wanted to win the group they would need a positive result against the other and if Panama or Bolivia wanted to stand any chance of causing a shock and qualifying beating the other was a must. Things went right for Argentina and Panama, in a repeat of last year’s final Argentina, without Lionel Messi, claimed their revenge for last year’s penalty shoot-out defeat with a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega. While Blaz Perez’s double also completed a 2-1 win for Panama. In Round 2 Argentina marched on and took control of the group, Lionel Messi put in a man of the match performance, scoring a second half hat-trick, to complete a 5-0 rout against Panama to all but seal Argentina’s passage as group winners. Elsewhere, Chile’s poor start continued but they managed to earn an incredibly lucky win over Bolivia, they won the game 2-1 thanks to a penalty in the 10th minute of stoppage time at the end of the match. With Argentina looking comfortable at the top of the group, the final group match between Chile and Panama becomes a winner takes all match. Anything less than that for the defending champions and their tournament will be seen as a huge failure.



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