Copa America Round off
Image Credits: footballalley.com
Thursday marked the end of group’s stage of Copa America, with the top 8 teams qualifying for the knockout phase. The tournament has been in news for both the right and wrong reasons. It has had its share of surprises and shock. We compile a list of teams by group wise which have moved into the next stage as well as the teams which have missed out and have a look at the players who are winners and losers.
The eight teams to make it to the next stage are hosts USA and Colombia from Group A, with USA surprisingly topping the group ahead of Colombia even when after being on the losing side when the two teams faced off in the tournament opener.
It seems Jürgen Klinsmann has finally turned USA around. His credentials will be tested further as he faces much higher ranked team in the tournament ahead.
All in all apart from USA finishing above Colombia there was not much of a surprise as it was expected that Paraguay and Costa Rica will be eliminated.
In Group B Peru topped the Group at the expense of Brazil who they knocked out a first in over 25 years. Ecuador finished 2nd courtesy of hard fought draws against Peru and Brazil. Haiti was the punching bag in the group finishing with a negative 11 goal difference.
The tournament puts the question mark on Dunga again and his ability to deliver the goods.
Though Brazil was hard done by a refereeing mistake but that can’t take away the fact that they should have won against Ecuador in first place and should have scored against Peru.
This group like Group B also saw casualty as the Uruguay the most successful team in Copa America with the most number of trophies failed to make it past the Group stages. Mexico and Venezuela went through courtesy some brilliant team spirit and inspiration coaching. Mexico topped the group and the person who can be credited is Juan Carlos Osorio, a Colombian who worked as a construction worker in New York has in fact transformed Mexico in one of the best teams of the tournament. Similarly Venezuela putting behind them a country in turmoil played some of the best football to qualify for their countrymen.
In a contrasting image where there was some inspiration coaching and team display Uruguay saw disagreement between players and coach, the image of Suarez ranting on the bench and throwing off his training vest sums up their elimination.
For Jamaica it seems having a premier League winner is not a guarantee for win as they finished winless.
The group featured the winner and Runners up of last Copa America. Both the teams Argentina and Chile managed to advance to the next stage. While the winners Chile had to scrap through to the next round after suffering initial defeat at the hands of Argentina. Argentina cruised through winning all their 3 matches, being the only team in the tournament to do so. Panama and Bolivia were at the receiving end having failed to make the cut.
Argentina were devoid the service of Messi in the first match as he was down with injury and only made a brief appearance in the 2nd match as a substitute to fire a hat trick in 19 minutes, another proof why he is the best player in the world.
As we move into the quarters all eyes will be on how Argentina who have been poles apart in this tournament. Will they finally be lucky will Messi fire them to a cup glory or will it be a repeat of last year the answers will soon be out only a matter of 3 matches now.