2015 Copa America Preview
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The 2015 Copa America kicks off on Thursday, June 11 in Estadio Nacional where Chile will host Ecuador in Group A action. The tournament will be throughout the country of Chile as 12 teams will attempt to hoist the 2015 Copa America trophy. Uruguay are the defending champions, and Jamaica is a guest invitee for the first time. Brazil has won 4 of the past 6 editions, and the last time Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina or Colombia did not win the title was 1979.
It doesn’t appear that those 4 teams have much of a challenger, except for the host Chile, which we’ll get into.
There are 3 groups of 4 teams. Group A is made up of host Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Bolivia. Group B is Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Jamaica. And Group C is Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. While we usually hate on the unfairness of draws, the draw for Copa America was surprisingly reasonable. There is no “Group of Death”.
The teams will play every other team in their group once. The top 2 teams from each group will advance to the knockout round. Additionally, the 2 best 3rd place teams will also advance. In total, 8 of the 12 teams will advance.
You can download our competition tracker and update scores, standings and projections yourself.
As mentioned above, host Chile, Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia will contest Group A. On paper, this appears to be the most wide open group, as Chile, Mexico and Ecuador all have a pretty legitimate shot to top the group. At a neutral venue, the odds would be even closer. But given the home advantage, we fancy Chile at 52% to top the group. Additionally, we give Chile over a 98% chance of advancing to the knockout round. There’s virtually no chance of that happening unless they lose to both Mexico and Ecuador, which seems highly unlikely.
Despite not being favored to top the group, we still think that both Mexico and Ecuador do advance out of this group. Ecuador has an 85% chance and Mexico is all the way above 94%. There’s not much reason for that other than Bolivia is just not a good team. They have just 1 win in their past 16 matches, and that was at home against equally poor Venezuela. They’ll certainly put up a fight, but if they get anything more than a point out of this group stage, it must be considered a major surprise. This group is going to produce some great matches at the 2015 Copa America.
This certainly looks like a 2 horse race with Argentina and Uruguay. Paraguay and Jamaica are not bad teams by any stretch, but the quality of Argentina and Uruguay is certainly far above the other two. Against teams outside of our Top 25, which both Paraguay and Jamaica are, Argentina has won 13 consecutive matches. Uruguay hasn’t lost since losing to Colombia in the World Cup Round of 16. These are two very, very good teams among the best in the world. Messi and Suarez will meet up as foes on June 16th. That’s the match to watch for.
As Paraguay and Jamaica are quite similar in our rankings, we don’t project either to end with a high point total. As such, we believe that Group B is the one that will not send a 3rd team to the knockout round. If either is able to win the head-to-head encounter, the odds of advancing increase tremendously. As it stands now, we give each team about a 30% chance to advance, while Argentina and Uruguay are up in the high 90s.
Just like Group B, this group appears to be a 2 team race. Brazil and Colombia are two of the best teams in the world. They played an epic World Cup quarterfinal match last summer, and they’ll reunite on the 17th. There’s really not much to say about these two teams other than they’re spectacular. We think there’s a 98% chance that each team advances. That’s sick.
The battle (likely) behind these two is going to be an interesting one. Peru and Venezuela just met in March with Venezuela getting the better of that tilt. Our rankings don’t really buy it, however, and give Peru the slight edge. We think that the final 3rd place spot is going to come down to a team from either Group B or C, with a better than 50/50 shot that it’s Peru. Venezuela certainly has a shot, but we’re giving the edge to Peru.
We’re projecting the matchups in the final 8 to look like this:
Chile vs. Peru
Mexico vs. Colombia
Argentina vs. Ecuador
Brazil vs. Uruguay
The Winner C vs. Runner Up B match in the quarters is going to be a classic.
We then think the semis will be Chile vs. Colombia and Argentina vs. Brazil. We’ll go with an Argentina over Colombia final.
As far as quarterfinal matches go, things are completely up in the air. Our highest percentage matchup is Brazil vs. Uruguay at 30%, followed by Argentina vs. Ecuador at 28% and then Colombia vs. Uruguay at 26%.
And there’s an 89% chance that 2 of the big 4 of Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina will face off in the quarterfinal.
The 2015 Copa America is going to be a great tournament with a bunch of great teams. Thank you for reading, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @We_Global
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