The 2007 Copa America began yesterday, and for the first time in a while it is worth following, as most every team is really trying to win it. In the past few competitions, several teams sent B teams to Copa America because it took place during World Cup qualifying. World Cup 2010 qualifying for South America starts at the end of this year, so the teams see it as a great opportunity to get ready and all are at full strength or close to it.
The two big boys of South American soccer are again favorites, with Argentina favored over Brasil because all of their stars are in their team while Kaka and Ronaldinho have asked to be left out so that they can get a few weeks of rest after playing 2 years nonstop; Ronaldo & Roberto Carlos are no longer preferred by coach Dunga, and Adriano has basically partied himself out of favor with Brasil in addition to Inter Milan.
To make a 12 team tournament, CONMEBOL invite 2 guest teams, and this time around the guests are the USA and Mexico. The US prioritized their own confederation's Gold Cup and are sending basically a B team and hoping for the best. Mexico are sending their first team and hoping to overcome playing all of those Gold Cup matches it he last 3 weeks and show that they can hang with the big boys of CONMEBOL.
Aside- personally, I would prefer that they don't have guest teams in a 12 team tournament and just had their 10 nations in a tournament. Instead of 3 groups of 4 playing to determine 8 quarterfinalists, I would have 2 groups of 5 with the top 2 in each group advancing to a knockout stage starting with the semifinals. As it happens I am not the president of CONMEBOL, so 3 groups of 4 playing to determine 8 quarterfinalists it is.
The most interesting aspect of Copa America is that once the knockout stage begins, if a match ends tied after regulation, there is no extra time. Instead they will go straight to penalties.
Anyhow, here are the three groups.
The top 2 from each group advance to the quarterfinals, as well as the top 2 3rd place teams.
Every match will be shown live on Univision or Telefutura.
Should be some really good footy. Enjoy.