Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Copa América previews - Group B

We've had a look at group A which featured tournament favourites and hosts Argentina. Now let's look at group B which features the other big boys and the biggest threat to the hopes of the Albiceleste.


Tournament best: Winners 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007

Head coach: Mano Menezes

Squad (domestic unless stated):
Goalkeepers: Júlio César (Internazionale, Italy), Victor (Grêmio), Jefferson (Botafogo)
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona, Spain), Lúcio (Internazionale, Italy), Thiago Silva (AC Milan, Italy), André Santos (Fenerbahçe, Turkey), Maicon (Internazionale, Italy), Luisão (Benfica, Portugal), Adriano (Barcelona, Spain), David Luiz (Chelsea, England)
Midfielders: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool, England), Ramires (Chelsea, England), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos), Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Elano (Santos), Elias (Atlético Madrid, Spain), Lucas (São Paulo), Jádson (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine)
Forwards: Robinho (AC Milan, Italy), Alexandre Pato (AC Milan, Italy), Neymar (Santos), Fred (Fluminense)

A typically strong Seleção, though the fitness of Alexandre Pato is in question which would be a huge blow as they're going a little light up top. Dunga was offed as head coach after not playing the 'right' way and this side seems set up in that idiom with a midfield lacking a certain amount of flair, but with the more pragmatic Sandro, Ramires and Lucas Leiva. Jádson, however, can fill the Ronaldinho Gaucho shaped hole in the side.
Key man: Probably Alexandre Pato. If he's fit, then Brazil will have an attack of great depth and quality. Without him, less so.
Most likely to be linked with Man City: Not Elano or Robinho, that's for sure. But Jádson might just fit the bill at Eastlands.


Tournament best: 4th 1959, 1993

Head coach: Reinaldo Ruida

Goalkeepers: Marcelo Elizaga (Deportivo Quito), Máximo Banguera (Barcelona), Alexander Domínguez (LDU Quito)
Defenders: Geovanny Caicedo (LDU Quito), Frickson Erazo (El Nacional), Luis Checa (Deportivo Quito), Walter Ayoví (Monterrey, Mexico), Néicer Reasco (LDU Quito), Norberto Araujo (LDU Quito), Diego Calderón (LDU Quito), Gabriel Achilier (Emelec)
Midfielders: Oswaldo Minda (Deportivo Quito), Christian Noboa (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Michael Arroyo (San Luis, Mexico), Édison Méndez (Emelec), Segundo Castillo (Pachuca, Mexico), David Quiroz (Emelec), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United, England), Geovanny Nazareno (Barcelona)
Forwards: Felipe Caicedo (Levante, Spain), Christian Benítez (América, Mexico), Edson Montaño (Gent, Belgium), Narciso Mina (Independiente José Terán)

A relatively inexperienced squad is hoping to better Ecuador's best ever finish of fourth place in the competition. Safe to say, they won't do that. Too much relies on too few players - the vastly experienced Édison Méndez, defensive veterans Walter Ayovi and Geovanny Caicedo and, of course, Antonio Valencia. Valencia ended the season really well with Manchester United having missed much of the year with injury. He should be fresh and that's key to their hopes of getting out of the group.
Key man: Valencia. Obviously.
Most likely to be linked with Man City: Felipe Caicedo is still a Man City player of course, so if they haven't been put off Ecudorians for life, then a good tournament could see Edson Montaño getting his agent on the phone.


Tournament best: Winners 1953, 1979

Head coach: Gerardo Martino

Goalkeepers: Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño), Roberto Junior Fernández (Racing Club, Argentina), Justo Villar (Valladolid, Spain)
Defenders: Antolín Alcaraz (Wigan Athletic, England), Marcos Cáceres (Racing Club, Argentina), Paulo da Silva (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Elvis Marecos (Guaraní), Iván Piris (Cerro Porteño), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Darío Verón (UNAM, Mexico)
Midfielders: Édgar Barreto (Atalanta, Italy), Víctor Cáceres (Libertad), Néstor Ortigoza (San Lorenzo, Argentina), Hernán Pérez (Villarreal B, Spain), Cristian Riveros (Sunderland, England), Jonathan Santana (Kayserispor, Turkey), Enrique Vera (LDU Quito, Ecuador)
Forwards: Pablo Zeballos (Olimpia), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Marcelo Estigarribia (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina), Osvaldo Martínez (Atlante, Mexico), Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers, England), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Hércules, Spain)

Coming off the back of an encouraging World Cup, hopes are high for Paraguay to do something at this tournament. Certainly, getting out of the group shouldn't be too tricky, but anything further than that might prove tricky. But they're a talented bunch as we saw in South Africa, have plenty of options up top and a steely backbone. With a fair wind, the last four is a possibility.
Key man: Midfield dynamo Víctor Cáceres, the Libertad stalwart. The heartbeat of the side.
Most likely to be linked with Man City: Need an ageing goalkeeper to provide cover for your international hot-shot? The captain Justo Villar should be on your shopping list.


Tournament best: Quarter-finals 2007

Head coach: César Fárias

Goalkeepers: Renny Vega (Caracas), José Leonardo Morales (Deportivo Anzoátegui), Dani Hernández (Real Murcia, Spain)
Defenders: José Manuel Rey (Mineros de Guayana), Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Deportivo Anzoátegui), Gabriel Cichero (Newell's Old Boys, Argentina), Roberto Rosales (FC Twente, Holland), Grenddy Perozo (Boyacá Chicó, Colombia), Alexander González (Caracas), José Luis Granados (Real Esppor)
Midfielders: Giácomo Di Giorgi (Deportivo Anzoátegui), Tomás Rincón (Hamburger SV, Germany), César Eduardo González (Gimnasia La Plata, Argentina), Luis Manuel Seijas (Santa Fe, Colombia), Franklin Lucena (Caracas), Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany), Yohandry Orozco (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany), Jesús Meza (Atlas, Mexico)
Forwards: Nicolás Fedor (Getafe, Spain), Giancarlo Maldonado (Atlante, Mexico), Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA, USA), José Salomón Rondón (Málaga, Spain), Daniel Arismendi (Deportivo Anzoátegui)

A tough task for La Vinotinto, but they'll be looking to build on making the quarters last time round on home soil. They've the core of a decent side, but they'll need more than that to get out of this group and they'll most likely be battling Ecuador for third.
Key man: The veteran Juan Arango will be looked on to hold things together in midfield along with Roberto Rosales at the back.
Most likely to be linked with Man City: Hamburg midfield excitement machine Tomás Rincón. Like a cultured Nigel de Jong without the penchant for heart-endangering tackles.

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