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Copa America: Group Stage Roundup


The Copa America Mascot… 

Here we are. The Quarter finals begin tomorrow and thefc100 are still on track for our pre-tournament predictions:

https://thefc100.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/the-copa-america-2007/

The main surprise has been the progression of the hosts, Venezuela, who produced a couple of stirring performances to finish top of Group A. The layout for the rest of the tournament now looks a bit like this:

Quarter finals Semi finals Final
                   
7 JulySan Cristóbal        
 Flag of Venezuela Venezuela  
10 JulyMaracaibo
 Flag of Uruguay Uruguay    
   
7 JulyPuerto La Cruz
       
 Flag of Chile Chile  
15 JulyMaracaibo
 Flag of Brazil Brazil    
   
8 JulyMaturín
     
 Flag of Mexico Mexico  
11 JulyPuerto Ordaz
 Flag of Paraguay Paraguay    
    Third place
8 JulyBarquisimeto
       
 Flag of Argentina Argentina      
 Flag of Peru Peru        
14 JulyCaracas

 Group A

V is for Venezuela! and Venereal disease… 

Venezuela

The ‘Vennies’ were expected by many to simply make up the numbers at this tournament but instead they took it by storm. Being the team that has to play at the top of a mountain to get results, they still managed to finish top of the group. An opening day draw with Bolivia, followed by a shock 2-0 win over Peru set them up for a final day clash against group favourites, Uruguay, whom they held to a goaless draw. They now face Uruguay again in the Quarter finals and it is set to be a mouth-watering clash where, having already played out a draw, both teams will be going for broke.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Arismendi, Cichero, Maldonado and De Paez all on 1 goal

Goals Scored: 4

Conceded: 2

Won:1 Drawn:2 Lost: 0

A pair of dedicated Uruguay fans. I think Forlan is on the left. 

Uruguay

Dissapointing tournament so far for the 14 time winners of the Copa America. An opening day hammering at the hands of Peru meant that they needed to improve fast to have any hope of qualification. A 2-0 win over Bolivia restored hope to the Uruguayan faithful but this was followed with an uninspired draw with Venezuela. They qualified as they were one of the two best third placed teams. Not a very high recomendation but they will be hoping to turn it on for the next round. Recoba was bench-bound for the entire group stage leading to speculation that he has fallen foul of coach, Oscar Tabarez. The pre-tournament predicted semi-finalists (by thefc100 of course) better buck up sharpish so as to retain our street cred. Got it? The players should be looking to their quarter final re-match with Venezuela as an opportunity to set the record straight and produce a decent performance, somethinbg which has evaded them so far.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Vicente Sanchez 1 goal

Goals scored: 1

Goals Conceded: 3

Won:1 Drawn:1 Lost:1

 

Pizzaro might well be asleep.

Peru

Another surprise package from Group A. The peruvians have been threatening a good performance for quite some time now and duly delivered against Uruguay with a 3-0 win on the opening day. A loss to Venezuela and a draw with Bolivia soured their triumph but still allowed them a passage to the quarter finals. Here they play Argentina however and it is likely to be the end of the road for Julio Cesar Uribe and his men. Some highlights for the peruvians have been the return to form of Chelsea new boy, Claudio Pizzaro and exceptional performances form PSV’s Farfan. While this is likely to be their last game in the competition, they definitely won’t be giving up without a fight and we all know that South American fights are the best…

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Claudio Pizzaro 2 goals

Goals Scored: 5

Goals Conceded: 4

Won:1 Drawn:1 Lost1

They weren’t in the squad but they probably should have been. 

Bolivia

thefc100’s tip for the top. It is probably best not to talk about them… Actually, no. They did deliver a couple of decent performances and managed to get two points on the board which is two more than none. Other than that… Jaime Moreno scored a few! I’m running out of nice things to say.

Statistics:

Top Scorer: Jaime Moreno 2 goals

Goals Scored: 4

Goals Conceded: 5

Won:0 Drawn:2 Lost:1

Group B

 

Mexico fans hoping for the good times to roll.

Mexico

Mexico getting to the quarter finals has not been a surprise. They are a good team with good players and a good coach. One might have expected them to be suffering a bit in the fatigue department having made an appearance in the final of another competition, the Gold Cup, only a matter of days before the Copa America kicked off. They were convincing in their opening day win over Brazil and proved they weren’t one hit wonders by following that game with a win over Ecuador and then a meaningless game against Chile ended in a goaless draw (both teams were booed off the pitch at the final whistle). Imperious in defence, Rafael Marquez has put in a proper captain’s performance so far and he will be crucial to Mexico’s challenge in the latter stages. They seem to have an abundance in attacking options with Castillo, Bravo and Morales all able to put the ball in the net for them. After that ‘rest’ against Chile they will be refreshed and raring to go, it should be an absolute cracker against Paraguay, another team who can find the back of the net.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Nery Castillo 2

Goals Scored: 4

Goals Conceded: 1

Won:2 Drawn: 1 Lost:0

Even when not playing, Ronaldo supports the team. 

Brazil

Defeat in their opener sent ripples around the world with cynical pundits predicting that the samba boys weren’t up to the challenge without their big stars. They earned a brief respite by hanging Ecuador out to dry with a three nil win and then ensured their quarter final status with a one nil win over Chile. Brazil definitely lack a cutting edge without the big names but they are still a great team. Even with their best players, Brazil have often not managed to gel and this could well be the case here also. Another danger is that every one of Brazil’s 4 goals have been scored by Robinho. While its good new for Robinho, its not so good for Brazil. An injury or an efficient man-marking program could snuff out his threat and Brazil don’t seem to have the same creativity elsewhere in the ranks. While Anderson has showed some good moments he has been quiet for the most part and Brazil’s other attackers, such as Fred or Mr. Love have been absent. There was a moment in the group stages where Brazil could feasibly have not made the quarter finals and this is worrying for coach Dunga. Not convincing so far, Brazil need to turn on the style if they are to fulfill the fc100’s prediction and win the tournament outright.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Robinho 4 goals

Goals Scored: 4

Goals Conceded: 2

Won:2 Drawn:0 Lost:1

Chile celbrate victory over Ecuador 

Chile

Chile have done well to reach the quarter finals as one of the two best third place finishers. They beat Ecuador, lost to Brazil and drew with Mexico to qualify by the skin of their teeth. They have added a bit of excitement to the group instead of having Mexico and Brazil running away with it but they haven’t shown anything that would make anyone think of them as worthwhile challengers. Humberto Suazo is well able to bang them in but it is the service which is lacking. A good start but a slow finish could mean that Chile are already looking doubtful and a quarter final match-up with Brazil again means it is likely to be a repeat result. Bye bye Chile.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Humberto Suazo 2 goals

Goals Scored: 3

Goals Conceded: 5

Won: 1 Drawn: 1 Lost: 1

They’re all going home… 

Ecuador

Fell apart completely and their coach, Suarez, released a statement to the press apologosing to the country for the disaster which was their Copa America 2007 campaign. There was nothing good to come out of the tournament for them. Awful really… They did, however, score more goals than Uruguay who qualified but I suppose that’s not very good news when you lose all your games.

Statistics:

Top Scorer: Benitez, Mendez, Valencia all on 1 goal.

Goals Scored: 3

Goals Conceded: 6

Won:0 Drawn:0 Lost:3

Group C

Great picture but nothing to do with the Copa America I’m afraid. 

Argentina

This was the group to be in if you were interested in scoring goals, but not for competition. This group was almost finished before it started. Argentina raced to the top with 4-1 win over the US which appeared to be a statement of intent from the Argies, who were officially ‘Under New Management’. Possibly the strongest team in the entire competition, Argentina then went and put in another 4 against the Colombians. Their final group game against the Paraguayans last night did not turn out to be the goal fest that everyone had hoped for but Argentina still came away with the points after a 1-0 victory. The man of the moment, up untill the game against Colombia, was Hernan Crespo who had unearthed his scoring boots and was really rising to the occasion… untill he suffered injury while scoring against Colombia which has ruled him out of the rest of the tournament. They will have no problem replacing him however as Carlos Tevez will be itching to show what he can do before moving to Manchester. Argentina are still the bookies favourites and rightly so. They will be next to impossible to outscore.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Hernan Crespo 3 goals

Goals Scored: 9

Goals Conceded: 3

Won:3 Drawn:0 Lost:0

If that’s not a foul then I’m lost for words. 

Paraguay

South America’s third team. They have shone so far in this competition and so has Roque Santa Cruz. There has been no shortage of goals from the Paraguayans with both their strikers on 3 goals. Roque Santa Cruz captured the imagination of every Paraguayan with a hat-trick in his country’s opener against Colombia. His strike partner, Cabanas, scored two that night and one against the US in their 3-1 win. Their final match against Argentina was more of an opportunity to give other players some match time before the quarters as both teams had already qualified. With Mexico standing between them and the semi-finals, Paraguay will be hoping that they can show more of the same to overcome a tricky Mexican side. The fortunes of the two strikers will be key to their fortunes in the Copa. As Trevor Francis once said “When Santa Cruz plays well, Paraguay play well”. If they get past Mexico they are likely to meet the Argies again and that could prove to be the game of the tournament when there is actually something at stake.

Statistics so far:

Top Scorer: Roque Santa Cruz and Salvador Cabanas on 3 goals

Goals Scored: 8

Goals Conceded: 2

Won: 2 Drawn: 0 Lost 1

 

Jairo Patino in action.

Colombia

Predicted to be cannon fodder and they lived up to it although they did slightly better than the Americans. They lost heavily to both Paraguay and Argentina, conceding 9 goals but they turned on the style last night beating the USA by 1-0. In fairness, they were never going to get anywhere considering the state of football in Colombia and at least they finished with 3 points.

Statistics:

Top Scorer: Castrillon

Goals Scored: 3

Goals Conceded: 9

Won: 1 Drawn: 0 Lost: 2

 

Wave goodbye to the Copa America.

USA

Pah! Ridiculous altogether. Bob Bradley promised to be competitive but how could they be when they left 8 of their starting 11 behind after winning the Gold Cup days before the start of the Copa America? They got what they had coming if you ask thefc100 and it was delivered with panache. Not one player stood out and the only good game they had was against Paraguay where they went in at half time 1-1 and Bobby obviously thought it was wrapped up because they came out for the second half and threw it away eventually getting beaten 3-1. Now this team really were there for the number making uppy business. Truly awful. Youtube them.

Statistics:

Top Scorer: Ricardo Clark and Eddie Johnson on 1 goal

Goals Scored: 2

Goals conceded: 8

Won: 0 Drawn: 0 Lost: 3

The quarter finals begin tomorrow evening so be sure to check back to the fc100 for previews and reviews!


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