Brazil will face World Cup quarter-final opponents Colombia at the 2015 Copa America after the pair were drawn together in the group stage while Argentina and defending champions Uruguay are in Group B.
The draw for 2015 Copa America was held in Vina Del Mar, Chile on Monday night determining the nine teams set to battle out the seeded teams in this year’s competition. Hosts Chile led by Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal, Juventus’ Arturo Vidal and Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo were put in Group A as hosts while Argentina who are the early favorites for this tournament boasting the likes of Lionel Messi, Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero have been placed in Group B. Brazil who are looking to claim their ninth Copa America to restore their pride after a disappointing World Cup are in Group C. Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will miss the tournament after being suspended for nine competitive Uruguay matches. Uruguyan football association president Wilmar Vadez told reporters that he is hopeful that the ruling will be overturned although he conceded it would be difficult.
“We are still negotiating this issue with FIFA, but we almost have ran out of options, and the truth is that it will be a miracle if Luis can play at the Copa America. Obviously, Luis knows that he made make some mistakes, but anyway we still feel that some FIFA decisions during the World Cup, weren’t right.”
With the first edition of the tournament taking place in 1916, the Copa America holds the distinction of being one of the oldest international competitions played. Mexico and Jamaica join the 10 Conmebol teams for the 2015 competition. While there was a possibility of a group of death, the three groups ultimately look pretty evenly matched and has thrown up a handful of mouth-watering fixtures.
Hosts Chile will be happy to avoid the likes of Colombia and Uruguay but should not underestimate Mexico and Ecuador both of whom qualified for the 2014 World Cup and will present a strong challenge to Jorge Sampaoli’s men. Speaking to reporters after the draw Sampaoli said, “It’s going to be very difficult. There will be some very important national teams present, but we are going to try to make it a great Copa America for Chile. Any rival would be complicated. Now it’s a case of preparing for each of the characteristics of the teams we are going to face. Chile is in good shape,” he said. “It’s a moment of learning and growth. A good job has been done and the preparation has been ideal. Let’s hope everything works out well.”
Argentina’s battle with Uruguay in this group will be one of the major highlights in the first round. The old rivalry dating back to 1901 will be renewed once again in Chile. Argentina will be looking for revenge after they were knocked out on their home soil by Oscar Tabarez’s men in the last edition of the Copa America. The defending champions have been impressive since the end of the World Cup but will face a tough challenge without their talisman Luis Suarez. Paraguay will also pose a stern test for Gerardo Martino’s men after rebuilding their squad with the likes of the talented Tonny Sanabria and will be looking to make amends after a disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign. Jamaica are one of the two invited nations to take part in this year’s competition.
Jose Pekerman’s side will have their chance to avenge the quarterfinal defeat in this year’s World Cup as they have been drawn against the mighty Brazil in Group C. The match was infamously notable for the injury sustained by Neymar which ruled him out for the rest of the tournament. Colombia were one of the most exciting teams in Brazil and they will look to carry on their good form in Chile as well. Peru and Venezuela are both improving as football nations and are coming into the competition with new coaches and some promising talents. They might not be appealing names but can certainly make their mark in this group.