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Copa America 2007: Final

July 15, 2007 1 comment

 Estadio José Encarnación 'Pachencho' Romero Stadium in Maracaibo

Estadio Jose Pachencho Romero ,the location for the final of the Copa America 2007

Argentina V Brazil (KO. 10.05pm)

In a repeat of the 2004 edition of the Copa America, Brazil and Argentina square up in the final tonight in Estadio Jose Pachencho Romero in Maracaibo. These two South American footballing giants have proved themselves more than worthy of a place in the last two while defending champions Brazil suffer the ignominity of having the ‘underdogs’ tag. Argentina are 5/6 favourites according to the bookies while Brazil are being offered at 10/3. The final in 2004 was won on penalties by Brazil but the way the tournament has gone so far it seems that nobody will want to go to penalties and hopefullty they will simply try to out-score one another. This, at least, ensures that both teams will be trying to win the match in normal time but with the quality and desire of these two teams it is unlikely that we will see a dull contest.

Argentina have done more througout the competition than Brazil so it seems only fair that they go into the final as favourites. With 16 goals so far, Argentina have been entertaining the crowds in each and every game and this is something which has been missing untill Alfio Basile regained control of the side. It is all set up for Argentina to win their first major title in 14 years and, incidentally, Basile was in charge then too. He has said that he is proud of his team and not just their victories but the manner of their victories. They are playing with a sense of freedom and add this to the undoubted individual quality they possess in their ranks and you are likely to come up with the 4, 5 and 6 goal thrillers they have been partial to so far.  Cambiasso has been talking this weekend and has subtly tried to shift the pressure of the favourites tag and deflect some onto Brazil. “Brazil have a great side. One can’t underestimate Brazil just because they lack Ronaldinho and Kaka. It would be disrespectful to the other players. They were called up because they have the skills and play for the best teams in the world”. A significant boost for Argentina is that Crespo, who had been enjoying something of a revival earlier in the competition before suffering an injury that supposedly ruled him out for the rest of the campaign, has been declared fit and ready to play. This poses a slight, if not comforting, headache for Basile. Does he go with the player who wasn’t able to stop scoring in the first two games or does he go for Tevez who began the tournament on the bench before forcing his way into the first team with consistent performances and teamwork? Early indications are that Tevez will play but simply having the option of Hernan Crespo on the bench will be a huge asset to Argentina. Other than this, Basile is expected to stick to the side that beat Mexico in the semi’s.

Brazil may find that the fact that they are expected to lose tonight liberating in that for the first time in the tournament they can actually play without fear. In what has been descibed as the greatest Copa America yet, Brazil have often put in economical performances. Their 1-0 win over Ecuador to ensure qualification was not one to inspire the confidence of a nation and also their defeat at the hands of Mexico painted a rather grim picture for the Brazilians  in the early stages. The disappointment of a mis-firing squad (with the exception of Robinho) was tempered in the knockout stages with a 6-1 mauling of Chile  before another efficient, if not lazy, performance against Uruguay in the semi’s where they made it through on penalties after a 2-2 draw. By schoolyard logic, Brazil are due a performance tonight. The form of Robinho is one plus that has come out of this competition. After often being dismissed as not physical enough or up to standard as Brazil’s other strikers, the little fella has shone when given space. He is so fast that he could easily pose problems for ageing defenders Ayala and Zanetti while Heinze’s undeniable ability to flatten anything that moves faster than he does could well be an issue tonight. The top scorer of this competition will be hoping to cement the golden boot tonight with the likes of Riquelme just one behind on 5. Brazil are happy to confer the tag of favourites on their rivals. Brazil coach, Dunga, has given a fair assesment of both teams: “Both teams are competitive and used to winning. Argentina are mature, a team whose men know each other well. On the other hand, the Brazilian national team was mounted now, with new athletes in search of their own space”. While thefc100 is puzzled at Dunga’s turn of phrase not having a clue what “the Brazilian national team was mounted now” is supposed to mean, we choose not to linger on the man’s inaccuracies but instead look to his team-picking abilities. Tonight it should be a fairly similar and familiar looking Brazil. Gilberto Silva is suspended and the captain’s armband is likely to go to Juan while midfielder Josue keeps his place after breaking into the team at the quarterfinal stage. Elano will replace Gilberto Silva and Vagner Love is likely to partner Robinho up front.

Tonight’s contest promises to be a cracker with the two top scoring sides aiming to prevent the other from adding another trophy to the cabinet. While Argentina deserve to be considered favourites and possess a much stronger squad, Brazil will be pressure-free and aiming to make a huge mark as the team without the big-name players. Robinho has inflicted untold damage on other teams and tonight could be the same if protection isn’t found for Ayala in particular. The loss of Silva is a huge blow for Brazil as he is thier calming influence and most experienced player. The midfield will be severely tested by Argentina and it seems a battle they could well lose. Brazil’s back four will have to play out of their collective skin to keep out the marauding attackers of Argentina. All the signs point to an Argie victory but there is something deep in thefc100’s nether regions tipping Brazil. It’s illogical, it’s irrational and to be honest, it’s bloody well irresponsible but that’s football so here we go:

Prediction: Argentina 1-2 Brazil (An early goal for Brazil, Argie’s equalise before half time and Brazil get a late winner) 

Probable lineups:

Brazil: Doni; Maicon, Alex, Juan and Gilberto; Mineiro, Josué, Júlio Baptista and Elano; Robinho and Vagner Love.

Argentina: Abbondanzieri; Javier Zanetti, Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Milito and Gabriel Heinze; Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Sebastián Verón and Juan Román Riquelme; Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez.

Thefc100 are off down the bookies to have a flutter on Brazil at 10/3.


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Copa America: Semi Final

July 11, 2007 Leave a comment

 

Too good a picture to pass up…

Argentina V Mexico (KO. 1.50am)

The second semi final takes place this evening and pits bookies favourites, Argentina against Mexico. Never one to gloat, thefc100 would just like to point out that we predicted these exact semi final pairings before the tournament and if Argentina win this evening then we will be on a roll (we also predicted Brazil to win outright and seeing as they are not favourites they could be worth a flutter NOTE: thefc100 in no way, shape or form endorses gambling or supports any gambling related enterprises. We just fancy it from time to time). Argentina will be expected by most to follow Brazil’s example from last night and progress to the final. This, however, will not be as easy as it sounds.

Argentina are in top form coming into tonights game as they have been for most of the competition. A 4-0 victory over Peru in the Quarters has brought them to touching distance of the final. Many have tipped Tevez, who turned the game against Peru on its head, to start after coming off the bench for most of the campaign but it may prove that he will have to wait until the final for his chance. It seems that Basile will prefer the pairing of Messi and Milito and hope to use Tevez as an impact sub if needs be. The rest of the squad should retain a familiar feel with Cambiasso, Masherano, Veron and Riquelme holding the midfield and the usual back four of Heinze, Zanetti, Ayala and Gabriel Milito protecting Abbondanzierri’s goal. The attacking players have been instrumental in Argentina’s fortunes so far with more goals coming from Mascherano and Riquelme than all the strikers put together. They will need to put on a performance to trouble Mexico’s solid defence and to create openings for the ailing strikers. Basile recognises tonight’s contest as a difficult one but is confident in the ability of his squad. “Mexico have a good team. It will be a tough match for both of us. But we have extraordinary players. I’m proud of them and not just because they have been winning but because of the way they have been playing”.

Mexico are also not short of form coming into the game. A 6-0 dismantling of Paraguay has given them the confidence they will need to face a team of Argentina’s stature. Although if any team in the competition would not be in awe of another side then it’s probably Mexico. A contrasting style to that of their opponents, Mexico are solid at the back, compact in the middle and are able to strike devestating blows through players such as Castillo and Bravo without having the supposed flair of some individuals in the Argie ranks. Mexico will be strong on the counter-attack and this is what coach, Sanchez, hopes will give them success. Sanchez is unlikely to make any changes this evening and the familiarity of the side should help to remove any nerves in the tentative opening minutes. Much of Mexico’s defensive solidity has been throught the fine form of their captain and talisman, Barca man Rafael Marquez. Mecixo will need all his experience this evening as they look to shut out the top scorers of the tournament. Mexico are in defiant mood and Marquez has fired a warning shot to the argies in a press conference before today saying “Argentina are a great team with quality players and a lot of options but they are not unbeatable. Mexico can win and reach the final. We want the trophy badly.” Sounds like fighting talk and aside from the double negative, it seems as if Mexico could have a surprise in store for the favourites.

Tonight’s contest will be fierce and won’t be the goal-fest we have seen in previous rounds. It may prove that as defensively good as Mexico are, they may crack under sustained Argie pressure.

Prediction: Argentina 2 – 1 Mexico

Probable lineups:

Argentina: Roberto Abbondanzieri – Javier Zanetti, Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Milito, Gabriel Heinze – Juan Verón, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso – Juan Román Riquelme – Lionel Messi and Diego Milito. 

Mexico: Oswaldo Sánchez – Israel Castro, Rafael Márquez, Jonny Magallón, Fausto Pinto – Fernando Arce, Gerardo Torrado, Jaime Correa, Andrés Guardado – Juan Carlos Cacho and Nery Castillo ou Omar Bravo.


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Brazil scrape through to Copa America showdown with Mexico/Argentina

July 11, 2007 1 comment

Brazil have made it through to the 2007 Copa America Final after a dramatic semi-final with underdogs Uruguay. A bad tempered game saw Brazil twice take the lead only to be pegged back on both occasions, then miss a penalty, handing Uruguay the chance to book their final place. However, Uruguay choked, and it’s looking like Brazil-Argentina in the final unless Mexico can spring a surprise on the tournament favourites.

Maraicabo, Venezuela was the setting for the first semi-final and in the sweltering heat, Brazil got off to a flying start. A superb save from Fabian Carini wasn’t enough to prevent Maicon from toe-poking into the net from just inside the penalty area, following up Miniero’s shot to open the scoring for Brazil with just 13 minutes on the clock. That was clearly too much to take in the severe conditions so the lights failed for just under quarter of an hour.

After the restart, Uruguay upped the pressure on Brazil’s goal and Doni saved well from a point blank effort from Diego Forlan. Julio Baptista’s free kick went close for Brazil, however a short time later, Doni failed to clear Alvaro Recoba’s cross from the Brazilian goal and Forlan was there to level things up with his third goal of the tournament. A cracking goal from the in-form striker who has just signed on as Fernando Torres’ replacement at Atletico Madrid, and this kind of goal will help to ease Atletico’s fears after losing Torres.

Just before the break though, Brazil went back in front: Former Arsenal teammates Gilberto Silva and late addition to the  Brazil squad Baptista combined from a free-kick, and the latter gave the Samba boys the lead to take in at the half-time interval: A terrific ball from Gilberto to Baptista and as Uruguay’s defence pushed out hoping for an offside decision, Baptista volleyed home from close range.

It’s interesting how very often players make an impact on a squad despite not being named in the original panel of players for the tournament. Julio Baptista was very publicly distraught at not being named in the original squad, however the withdrawals of the likes of Kaka and Ronaldinho meant the Real Madrid player got his chance. Surely you would expect him to be last man in therefore one of the last to make an impression on the first team? Not so; the only game Baptista has not taken part in was the 2-0 defeat to Mexico and ‘the beast’ has started and scored in the last two games. It’s an interesting point to note that the newcomer to the squad so often gets game time ahead of those who were initially picked ahead of him in the original squad. The likes of Fred and Anderson must be kicking themselves on the bench. Perhaps it’s the excitement of being finally included that has a positive impact on the player’s training, perhaps it is just guilt on the managers part. Perhaps it’s just thefc100 thinking out loud….

There was more to come from Uruguay though, and they pulled level when Diego Forlan flicked on Cristian Rodriguez’ cross into the path of substitute Sebastian Abreu (on for Alvaro Recoba at half-time) and he scrambled the ball in at the far post. A lovely move from Uruguay on the left hand side saw Rodriguez played in behind the flat-footed Brazilian defence and Forlan’s headed attempt on goal fell perfectly for Abreu at the far post to steer home and spark wild Uruguay celebrations.

So, eventually to penalties. Three years ago Brazil had progressed at the expense of Uruguay on penaties at the same stage of the competition so Uruguay thought the worst when Diego Forlan missed from the spot with their first attempt, aiming straight down the middle and finding only Doni in the Brazilian goal. However when first Alfonso’s shot was saved, and then at 4-4 Fernando hit the post for Brazil, Uruguay could smell revenge and a place in the final. Pablo Garcia had the chance for glory but stepped up and repeated Fernando’s attempt, so when Gilberto scored for Brazil, Diego Lugano’s miss sent Uruguay packing in the same style as three years ago.

There was still time for a little fisticuffs as Brazil’s celebrations left Uruguay feeling slightly bitter. Understandably. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez and his players left without commenting after the match as victorious manager Dunga stated to the press: To be a winning team, you have to know how to suffer. In the most difficult moment, you have to have posture, courage and fight until the end. Now why would Uruguay find that attitude hard to swallow. A regular poet that Dunga.

(unable to find commentary in English yet, but the action should speak for itself! Thanks to maxxxucio -no we’re not kidding- for posting the video on youtube)

 (Note: There will be a preview of the eagerly anticipated showdown between Mexico and Argentina later on thefc100. Mexico are 5/1. Just thought we’d mention it……)


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Argentina 4 Peru 0

July 10, 2007 Leave a comment

Highlights of Mexico’s demolition of Paraguay

July 10, 2007 Leave a comment

Copa America: Quarter Finals

July 8, 2007 Leave a comment

Mexico V Paraguay (KO. 9.05pm)

After both Uruguay and Brazil ran out convincing winners last night, tonight’s quarter finalists will be hoping to make a statement of their own. Mexico face Paraguay tonight for a chance to meet, most likely, Argentina in the semi’s. This will be a tight game as both teams have shown good form so far in the competition. Mexico are solid and have a good defensive record so far (conceding 1 goal) with captain, Marquez, leading the line at the back. Paraguay, on the other hand, have the ability to score from nothing with only Argentina having scored more so far. Mexico are unbeaten so far and have no serious concerns ahead of the game. Coach Hugo Sanchez recalls Nery Castillo, rested for the draw with Chile, after his goalscoring performances in the opening two games proved he is a man for the big occasions. Paraguay will also bring back the big guns, including Manchester City target and joint-second placed goalscorer in the competition, Roque Santa Cruz.

Prediction: Mexico through to the semi’s as predicted in our pre-tournament guide.

Teams:

Mexico: O.Sanchez; I. Castro, R.Marquez, J. Magallon, F.Pinto; G.Torrado, J.Correa, F.Arce, A. Guardado; N. Castillo, J.Cacho.

Paraguay: A. Bobadilla; D.Veron, J.Caceres, P Da Silva, C. Rodriguez; C.Bonet, E.Barreto, C.Riveros, J.Santana; R. Santa Cruz, O.Cardozo.

Note: At the time of writing the game has just kicked off and it’s going disastrously for Paraguay who were reduced to ten men after just four minutes when goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla was sent off by referee Sergio Pezzotta. Joel Zayas has stepped into the breach for Paraguay in place of Jonathan Santana, clearly delighted at his 200 seconds of quarter-final action. Nery Castillo has scored from the resulting penalty and it will take a major upset to prevent Mexico from booking their semi-final berth.

Argentina V Peru (K.O. 23.50)

Tournament favourites Argentina take on Peru in the nights second game. Argentina, boasting a 100% record before tonights game, have justified their pre-tournament status so far and Peru are not expected to cause them too many problems in tonights quarter final. Argentina have racked up an impressive nine goals in their three games so far, eight of them coming in the first two games when the strongest team was played by Coach Alfio Basile. While Javier Mascherano proved the unlikely matchwinner last time out against Paraguay, a whole host of attacking options will be restored to the starting line-up tonight including Diego Milito who is expected to replace Hernan Crespo, scorer of three goals, one a penalty so good against Colombia that it ‘s ruled him out of tonight’s game. The likes of Tevez, Aimar and Messi are all in contention to return tonight, while others like Ayala and Mascherano will certainly be restored to the starting eleven.

Peru have lost each of their last six outings against Argentina and it’s no surprise that the bookies are offering around 14 or 15/1 on a shock result in Peru’s favour. However, Peru have shown some good potential in the tournament so far and in Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan, have two potential matchwinners in attacking positions. Pedro Garcia is available again after his sending off against Venezuela but Jhoel Herrera misses out after he was sent off in the final group game against Bolivia. Peru will be looking to return to the form which saw them hammer pre-tournament dark horses (and semi-finalists) Uruguay by three goals to nil. In the end, Pizarro’s 85th minute goal secured a draw against Bolivia and a place against Argentina, but we’ll have to side with the bookies here and go for an Argentina win.

Prediction: Argentina 3 Peru 1. (We’re also willing to bet readers there will be a sending off or two…..!)

Note: Torraddo and Castillo have added to Mexico’s lead: 3-0 at half-time.


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Copa America: Group Stage Roundup

July 6, 2007 Leave a comment

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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