Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Copa América 2011 - Matchday 2 Previews

Matchday 2 gets underway in the Copa América tonight as the teams look to take a step towards the last eight of the competition.

Group A

Bolivia v Costa Rica - Thursday 2315BST
Argentina v Colombia - Thursday 0145BST

Bolivia will be heartened by the point they picked up against the hosts in La Plata last Friday night and will be looking to register a victory against invited side Costa Rica in Jujuy. Edvaldo Rojas will be key to any Bolivian success with his partnership with Marcelo Martins up front. Costa Rica are without their big European stars for this tournament but will be looking to build on an encouraging performance against Colombia in match day 1. Colombia go into Matchday 2 knowing that a draw will be a decent result and put them with one foot into the last eight but a victory will secure their place in the knock out stages. All the pressure will be on Argentina in Santa Fé, one with a large home support on their back and needing a victory to get themselves back on track. Sergio Agüero rescued the Albiceleste last Friday but will his heroics be enough to get him a place in the run on side. Carloe Tévez on his return to the national colours definitely has other things on his mind with his desire to get away from Manchester City while Real Madrid man Gonzalo Higuaín didn't even figure on Friday given the strength of the forward line.

Group B

Brazil v Paraguay - Saturday 2000BST
Venezuela v Ecuador - Saturday 2230BST

Everything to play for in Group B after a couple of scoreless encounters last weekend that didn't really set the competition alive. Brazil are first back in to action as they face their toughest Group opponents on paper in Paraguay. Many pundits in Brazil were scathing of the tactics of Mano Menezes in their opening encounter and the Brazilian public will not accept a second draw from the Seleção. Paraguay had the better of their encounter with Ecuador at the weekend but Roque Santa Cruz looked like a player who hadn't had a lot of game time recently and they will be relying on him coming to the party. Venezuela would have been boosted by their point against Brazil at the weekend and victory here could give them a great chance of making the knockout stages and equalling their best ever performance in the tournament. Ecuador have talented players in the shape of Antonio Valencia and former Birmingham man Christian Benítez but will be hoping Felipe Caicedo can reproduce some of his Primera Liga form.

Group C

Peru v Mexico - Friday 2315BST
Uruguay v Chile - Saturday 0145BST

Mexico, despite a weakened team, gave a good account of themselves against Chile in Matchday 1 but after taking the lead in their game, La Roja only got back into the game thanks to some poor defending at set pieces. Peru would also be happy with their point against Uruguay in Matchday 1 but would surely be targeting this game as a must win if they are to make the knockout stages. Peru tried to play on the break against Uruguay the other night but need to take control against this Mexico side if they are going to take the three points on offer. Chile are in good holes after their come from behind victory and a point against Uruguay should be enough to get them into the direction of the last eight. Despite a change of coach, little has changed in the way that they play and they will be looking for the win that will secure their last eight place. Uruguay on the other hand have everything to play for after what was a disappointing result the other night. The draw was the least they deserved and with a squad similar to the one that was in South Africa last year they should be aiming high in this tournament.

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