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Copa América: The favorites to win the title

Copa América 2021: Who are the favorites to win the title?

June 13, 2021 By Ali M.
Ahead of Sunday's highly-anticipated kick-off, we take a look at the teams most likely to lift the prestigious trophy.

After a tumultuous and hectic build-up, the 2021 Copa America is finally set to kick off! The prestigious South American tournament commences on Sunday, with hosts Brazil taking on Venezuela in the opening game in what should be an interesting clash.

The Selecao enter this edition as the reigning champions, having lifted the iconic trophy back in 2019 after beating Peru 3-1 in the final. However, Tite's men will face stiff competition for the title as some of the continent's biggest teams are back better and stronger. Here are the favorites to win the 2021 Copa America.

Brazil

Neymar, Firmino, Jesus, Brazil, Copa America 2021

Number of Copa America titles: 9

Most recent Copa America title: 2019

Predicted lineup: Alisson Becker; Danilo, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fabinho; Roberto Firmino, Richarlison, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus

Key player: Neymar

Brazil are the defending champions but that is not the only reason why they are the likeliest to lift the trophy bar a surprise knockout-stage result. The Selecao are one of the most in-form nations in the world, winning their last seven fixtures in a row. While Tite's men did go winless from September to November of 2019, the five-time World Cup winners have not lost a single competitive match since their Russia 2018 quarter-final defeat against Belgium. The presence of a fit Neymar, who has scored five goals in his last five international appearances, is just an added bonus for Brazil.

Argentina

Messi, Argentina, Copa America 2021

Number of Copa America titles: 14

Most recent Copa America title: 1993

Predicted lineup: Emi Martinez; Montiel, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; Lo Celso, Paredes, De Paul; Messi, Martinez, Gonzalez

Key player: Lionel Messi

Any team that boasts Lionel Messi in their rank should be title contenders. La Albiceleste are in a healthier state since ending their roller-coaster spell under Jorge Sampaoli but to say Lionel Scaloni has transformed the South American side into an unstoppable force would be false. The fact that they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Colombia in their most recent outing is proof that Argentina are still a fragile and beatable side. However, with Messi, who will turn 34 later this month, still searching for his first international trophy, there is hope La Pulga can guide La Albiceleste to their first title since 1993.

Uruguay

Luis Suarez, Uruguay, Copa America 2021

Number of Copa America titles: 15

Most recent Copa America title: 2011

Predicted lineup: Campana; Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Oliveros; Nandez, Torreira, Bentancur, De La Cruz; Cavani, Suarez

Key player: Luis Suarez

Form isn't on La Celeste's side. Despite being fourth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, Uruguay have managed to pick up only two wins from the first six fixtures. Furthermore, this South American side have registered only one win from their last five matches, which raises a question: why are they considered title contenders? It's down to three factors: Oscar Tabarez, Edinson Cavani, and Luis Suarez. The current manager was the man who led Uruguay to their last Copa America title and could easily exploit that experience to rejuvenate his team. As for the two strikers, they enjoyed tremendous 2020/21 campaigns, with Cavani rediscovering his deadly form in front of goal after moving to Man Utd while Suarez led his Atletico side to the Spanish top-flight title after being shown out the back door by Barcelona.

Chile

Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Chile, Copa America 2021

Number of Copa America titles: 2 (including Copa America Centenario)

Most recent Copa America title: 2016 Copa America Centenario

Predicted lineup: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Maripan, Mena; Pulgar, Vidal, Aranguiz, Meneses; Vargas, Sanchez

Key player: Alexis Sanchez

Chile have won two of the last three Copa America titles, including the Copa America Centenario in 2016. La Roja's form has not been ideal, winning only three times in their last 13 ties but several of the players behind their 2015 and 2016 success remain part of the national team set-up. This includes Alexis Sanchez, Chile's all-time top scorer, who heads into this tournament on the back of a confidence-boosting campaign with Inter Milan that ended in the 32-year-old attacker lifting the Scudetto. Will he get his hands on the Copa America for a third time? Time will reveal the answer.

Dark horse: Ecuador

Gustavo Alfaro's men are currently one of the more exciting South American teams, having scored the second highest number of goals in the CONMEBOL 2022 World Cup qualifiers (14) so far – only Brazil (16) have more under their belt. Furthermore, La Tri have recently beaten the likes of Colombia and Uruguay. Underestimating Ecuador would only be foolish.


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