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Sports Committed Brazil a favorite to defend Copa America title

11:20  11 june  2021
11:20  11 june  2021 Source:   thecanadianpress.com

Copa America. Argentina has a health protocol to accommodate all

 Copa America. Argentina has a health protocol to accommodate all matches © EPA / Maxppp Argentina de Lionel Messi will play all its meetings of Copa America 2021 at home? Colombia will not receive matches of the next American Copa, which must begin on June 13, due to the current explosive social climate in the country. Co organizer of the competition, Argentina has presented a health protocol to the conmebol to welcome all the meetings.

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s international players were reluctant to play in the Copa America on home soil. Now that they’re committed, they're favored to win it.

a man looking at the camera © Provided by The Canadian Press

Argentina still looms as a threat to Brazil's title defense, but now as a visiting team.

Argentina and Colombia were dropped as tournament co-hosts before Brazil contentiously stepped in late to stage the continental championship.

Being away from home takes some pressure off Lionel Messi and his Argentina team.

The Copa America will kick off Sunday with defending champion Brazil against Venezuela at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia. The final will be on July 10 at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, one of the COVID-19 epicenters in Brazil, where more than 480,000 have died from the coronavirus.

Maracanã to host Copa America final: Brazil-Venezuela open

  Maracanã to host Copa America final: Brazil-Venezuela open SAO PAULO (AP) — South American soccer body CONMEBOL announced Wednesday that the historic Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro will host the final of Copa America on July 10. It also picked Brazil against Venezuela as the opener on June 13 at Brasilia's Mané Garrincha stadium. The decider of the South American championship will be the only match of the tournament at the Maracanã, which also hosted the final two years ago when Brazil beat Peru 3-1 to win its ninth title. CONMEBOL chose Brazil as a replacement host on Monday after Argentina was dropped because of the spread of COVID-19.

No spectators will be allowed to attend any Copa America matches because of restrictions in place for the pandemic, which has already delayed the tournament by a year.

Brazil players ended speculation about a potential boycott by issuing a unified statement on Wednesday saying they are “unsatisfied” with the decision to move the tournament to their country, but it wouldn't stop them representing their national team.

And if South American World Cup qualifiers are anything to go by, the Copa America title is Brazil's to lose. Brazil has won all six of its games and is six points clear of second place Argentina. With the likes of Neymar on board, coach Tite expects not only to defend the title lifted in 2019, but also use the next 30 days to prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

EURO 2020: Euro 2020 will usurp Copa America in Brazil

  EURO 2020: Euro 2020 will usurp Copa America in Brazil SAO PAULO (AP) — When it comes time for Brazilians to choose who to watch on the soccer field this month — Neymar or Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo — the response might be surprising. Because of an unusual set of circumstances, it will be the European Championship that reaches more viewers in Brazil than the Copa America — even though Brazil is expected to host South American the tournament under a completely different set of unusual circumstances. TV Globo, which is accessible to 99.47% of Brazilians, doesn't have the rights to broadcast Copa America this year but has exclusive rights to show Euro 2020 matches on its free channel and digital platforms.

Many tests are expected. Alisson is no longer the team's unchallenged goalkeeper, with Ederson getting more chances to start.

Captain Casemiro is yet to find out whether he will play as defensive midfielder next to Douglas Luiz, Fred or Lucas Paqueta. And four options appear up front to work with Neymar: Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa.

Argentina placed third in the 2019 Copa America, but the team has improved under coach Lionel Scaloni.

Defender Cristian Romero, and midfielders Leandro Paredes and Giovani Lo Celso are now trusted to break the opponents' lines. Up front, Lautaro Martínez and Sergio Agüero bring the same respect.

And that means Messi, who turns 34 later this month, doesn't need to be part of every play for Argentina to win.

“Argentina always dominates, sometimes in a very vertical way," Scaloni said. “If you look at all our matches in qualifiers we deserved to win. But at soccer, deserving doesn't count.”

Infighting, scandal and Covid cast a shadow over Brazil's Copa America

  Infighting, scandal and Covid cast a shadow over Brazil's Copa America Even the status of the Selecao coach remains in doubt just a week before the nation hosts the hastily rescheduled tournamentTwo Copa America hosts have already fallen by the wayside and replacement host country Brazil also appeared to run the risk of having the tournament fall into serious disrepute or cancelled altogether.

Argentina hasn't won a major title since the 1993 Copa America.

Colombia has improved since the return of coach Reinaldo Rueda. It trashed Peru 3-0 in Lima and got a late equalizer to force a 2-2 draw after being two goals down against Argentina. Copa America could further enhance the team, which will not have midfielder James Rodríguez because of fitness problems.

Uruguay has struggled despite counting on Luis Suárez and Edison Cavani, who will return to the team after a two-match suspension in World Cup qualifiers. Uruguay hasn't won any of its three latest matches on the road to Qatar.

“We have to be aware there's things to improve as always and get ready for something that gives us a lot of aspiration," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabárez said after Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Venezuela.

Peru, the 2019 Copa America runner-up, is struggling in World Cup qualifying but hoping a 2-1 win at Ecuador earlier this week might spark a change in momentum. Coach Ricardo Garca decided not to bring in striker Paolo Guerrero, who is returning from injury. He will be relying instead on Santiago Ormeño, who plays at Mexico's León.

Brazil squad agrees to play in Copa America despite concerns

  Brazil squad agrees to play in Copa America despite concerns SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's national soccer squad has agreed to play in the Copa America despite expressing concerns over the late decision to stage the continental tournament in its home country. Players used social media to publish a message saying they are “unsatisfied" with South American soccer's governing body, CONMEBOL, which decided to move the tournament to Brazil after Colombia and Argentina were dropped as co-hosts. They said they don'tPlayers used social media to publish a message saying they are “unsatisfied" with South American soccer's governing body, CONMEBOL, which decided to move the tournament to Brazil after Colombia and Argentina were dropped as co-hosts.

Chile coach Martín Lasarte has decided to use an inexperienced squad in Copa America, making it more of a priority to qualify for the next World Cup.

“We will use it as a tool to strengthen younger players,” he said. Chile is currently in the sixth in qualifying

The tournament will be divided into two groups of five. Group A includes Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. Brazil is in Group B with Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. The four best of each group advance to the knockout stage.

Quarterfinals will take place on July 2 at the Nilton Santos and Goiania’s Olimpico stadium, and July 3 at Olimpico stadium and Brasilia’s Mané Garrincha.

The semifinals will be at the Nilton Santos stadium in Rio on July 5 and in Brasilia the next day.

___ Associated Press writer Debora Rey contributed to this report from Buenos Aires

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press

Brazil keeps search for striker against Peru at Copa America .
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil coach Tie has hinted he'll continue searching for his ideal strike force in Thursday's Copa America game against Peru. Tite tested Everton Ribeiro, Everton and Gabriel Barbosa up front at practice on Tuesday instead of Lucas Paquetá, Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus, who started in Brazil's 3-0 win over Venezuela in the tournament opener on Sunday. Roberto Firmino, who was on the bench against Venezuela, didn't participateTite tested Everton Ribeiro, Everton and Gabriel Barbosa up front at practice on Tuesday instead of Lucas Paquetá, Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus, who started in Brazil's 3-0 win over Venezuela in the tournament opener on Sunday.

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