In 2007, we had the last Copa America and, of course, I tuned in because it was conveniently on my TV and it sated my Messi obsession. The first full match I happened to watch was Argentina vs Mexico (I get the feeling that Mexicans must really hate meeting Argentina. They always seem to lose *dodges flying objects* I’m just sayin! Please don’t kill me! *runs away*) and I got to see this Messi golazo:
Anyway, the point of this is, Argentina will be looking to win the Copa (the only title Maradona didn’t win apparently) on home turf and I will be supporting Messi and therefore Argentina by default. The last time around they lost 3-0 to Brazil in a final that featured Dani who I knew fudge all about and who also happened to score. Funnily enough, the U-20 tournament I seem to mention every other day was also underway and Aguero’s Argies had won their semis. Brazilians took this time to blare their car horns downtown near Landsdown Park (the stadium that the games were played at). I’m not sure what I’m trying to say by telling you all this, so I’m going to move on.
Argentina are in Group A and, as hosts, play the first match tomorrow against Bolivia at 8:45pm EST under huge, huge pressure to perform. Sergio Batista took them to a Olympic gold in 2008, but there will be no Riquelme or…Riquelme this time around. Their squad features Aguero, Pastore, Mascherano, Milito and a whole host of names. I can imagine the pressure Messi must feel, considering the shaky relationship with Argentine fans, but he thrives under pressure. Vamos Leo!
Bitter rivals Brazil (or should I say, Brasil) have Dani and Adriano in the squad and they’ll be looking to rain on Argentina’s parade by defending their Copa title and traumatizing the poor Argentine supporters for life, especially the fans of Los Millonarios. They really will cry a River. (Sorry, couldn’t help it). The Next Robinho Big Thing out of Brazil Neymar, Santos teammate Ganso and Sao Paulo FC midfielder Lucas will have Robinho as a big brother to guide them though their first Copa.
“Ronaldo always gave me advice on and off the field. All that good advice given to me, I am passing on to young Neymar, Lucas and Ganso” said Robinho.
[Insert smart remark here].
God help the Brazilian team. They get their party started Sunday at 3:00pm EST against Lev’s Venezuela. 😛
A Marco Bielsa-less Chile will look to overcome the loss of the Argentine and wow the world like they did last summer with their vibrant, attacking football against a JDS-less* U-22 Mexico on Monday at 8:45pm EST. They have our transfer target Alexis Sanchez, Villarreal-reject Mati Fernandez (Matigol!) and Bayer Leverkusen’s Arturo Vidal to boost their chances at being the first Chilean team to win the Copa.
*If you don’t know JDS has been a bad boy and won’t be in the Mexico squad for the tournament. He and 7 other players have been dismissed from the squad and suspended for 6 months for allowing hookers into their rooms, who also stole their stuff. Sigh. Jona, you were supposed to be better than your brother by getting into the first team, not messing up your career faster.
The joint third best team in the world according to the last WC Uruguay start their quest to slap Argentina in the face by winning the Copa (which, I guess, is what everyone wants to do. Stop bullying los Albicelestes!) against Peru on Monday, while the-team-who-almost-knocked-out-Spain (Paraguay) take on Ecuador a day previous.
The Copa America 2011 kicks off tomorrow and in the words of Messi;
¡Aguante, Argentina, la c de tu madre!*
Full Schedule for Group Matches (all times in EST):
Argentina vs. Bolivia – July 1st – 20:45 – La Plata
Colombia vs. Costa Rica – July 2nd – 14:30 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Argentina vs. Colombia – July 6 – 20:45 – Santa Fe
Bolivia vs. Costa Rica – July 7 – 18:15 – San Salvador de Jujuy
Colombia vs. Bolivia – July 10 – 15:00 – Santa Fe
Argentina vs. Costa Rica – July 11 – 20:45 – Córdoba
Brazil vs. Venezuela – July 3 – 15:00 – La Plata
Paraguay vs. Ecuador – July 3 – 17:30 – Santa Fe
Brazil vs. Paraguay – July 9 – 15:00 – Córdoba
Venezuela vs. Ecuador – July 9 – 17:30 – Salta
Paraguay vs. Venezuela – July 13 – 18:15 – Salta
Brazil vs. Ecuador – July 13 – 20:45 – Córdoba
Uruguay vs. Peru – July 4 – 18:15 – San Juan
Chile vs. Mexico – July 4 – 20:45 – San Juan
Uruguay vs. Chile – July 8 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Peru vs. Mexico – July 8- 20:45 – Mendoza
Chile vs. Peru – July 12 – 18:15 – Mendoza
Uruguay vs. Mexico – July 12 – 20:45 – La Plata
1st Group A vs. Best 3rd S1 – July 16 – 15:00 – Córdoba
2nd Group A vs. 2nd Group C S2 – July 16 – 18:15 – Santa Fe
1st Group B vs. 2nd Best 3rd S3 – July 17 – 15:00 – La Plata
1st Group C vs. 2nd Group B S4 – July 17 – 18:15 – San Juan
Winner S1 vs. Winner S2 G1 – July 19 – 20:45 – La Plata
Winner S3 vs. Winner S4 G2 – July 20 – 20:45 – Mendoza
3rd Place Game
Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 – July 23 – 15:00 – La Plata
Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 – July 24 – 15:00 – Buenos Aires
*It sounds really derogatory if you take it literally (Spanish speakers can attest to that) but it should be taken as “Let’s go, Argentina, God damnit!”.
Also, I dunno if there will be a LiveBlog for the match. Or if we’re actually going to cover the Copa. I doubt it.