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Copa América 2015 Group B

09 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Copa América 2015 Group B

World Cup Finalists will have some tough questions to answer in the Copa América

When the draw for the Copa América was made back in November, it transpired that the ‘danger’ teams were spread fairly evenly through all three groups.

Argentina are clearly the stand-out team in Group B – sitting third in the world rankings – but Uruguay (eighth) are hungry, and Paraguay and Jamaica will be determined to prove more than cannon fodder.

Argentina

La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue). World Cup Finalists. 14 Copa América titles. As our tournament favourites at 2/1, there will be a phenomenal amount of pressure on Argentina to life the trophy once again.

From a national perspective, the team will want to erase the bitter taste they must have felt from coming so close to lifting the World Cup trophy, only to have it snatched away by Germany in Extra-Time.

Just seven minutes from penalties. What’s more, they haven’t recorded a Copa América triumph in 22 years. Will that change this time?

Player to watch: Lionel Messi  

From a personal perspective, there is no weight that hangs so heavily on one man’s shoulders to carry his country to victory than Lionel Messi.

The eyes of the world watched expectantly in Brazil, waiting for the winner of four Ballon d’Or’s, four consecutive World Player of the Year awards and the top scorer in the World Cup qualifiers to click into gear and glide to victory.

Having clawed Argentina to the Final, he wilted. The team failed to have a shot on target the whole game, and it slipped away.

However, appearing completely revitalised this season, teammate Ezequiel Garay has praised Messi’s strength in turning ‘the hurt of not winning the World Cup’ into desire. Can the ‘World’s Best Player’ inspire Argentina to their first Copa América trophy since 1993?

Messi to be Top Goalscorer – 3/1

Uruguay

La Celeste (The Sky Blue One). Winners of the 2011 tournament to lead the record books with a historic 15th Copa América title, Oscar Tabarez’s squad remains largely unchanged coming into the competition – save for one seismic shift.

Luis Suarez will play no part in Uruguay’s attempt at a 16th title, thanks to his bite on Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

Since he scored four goals and was named Most Valuable Player at the 2011 competition, he will be a big loss for his national side.

It remains to be seen whether they can progress as far without the deadly striker up front, especially considering how much he has impressed for Barcelona this season – which explains why they are 14/1 to win the tournament.

Player to watch: Edinson Cavani

An easy choice, Cavani will be the player the team turns to replace Suarez as their primary attacking threat.

One assumes he will be even more motivated than normal to show his eye for goals playing as the main striker, since he has repeatedly spoken of his dissatisfaction at being played out of this position for PSG to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Still managing 18 league goals last season, he will need to step up here.

Cavani to be Top Goalscorer – 16/1

Paraguay

La Albirroja (White and Red). When Uruguay won the 2011 Copa América, much of the buzz was around the surprise finalists, Paraguay.

Most notably, they reached the final without winning a single game, instead relying on a penalty shoot-out in every round.

While unlikely they can match that achievement this time out, they can certainly play the role of wild-card and trip up the teams above them. They’re currently 40/1 to lift the trophy.

Player to watch: Derlis Gonzalez

Typically, Paraguay are known for their defensive prowess rather than their offensive flair, but the 21-year-old lightning-fast Gonzalez could make the difference.

Most recently seen in action for FC Basel this season as a striker/winger, he combined pace with very good close control and dribbling.

Despite only scoring three goals for Basel, but with Champions League experience under his belt, it is felt that now is his time to shine. We’ll see if he comes of age in Chile.

Gonzalez to be Top Goalscorer – 150/1

Jamaica

Being an invited nation for this tournament, it is tough to pin Jamaica down. This will be the first Copa América they have competed in in their history.

Manager Winfried Schafer has picked a squad largely composed of players from England, the US and Canada, as well as the necessary three home players.

With a combination of youth and experience, it remains to be seen if Jamaica make a good impression on their arrival to the South American stage. They are the biggest outsiders for the trophy at 250/1.

Player to watch: Rodolph Austin

It may seem obvious to pick the team captain as the star player, but for Jamaica it is accurate.

Recently released by Leeds United, holding midfielder Austin will be keen to make a good impression.

Usually found throwing himself into tackles, he may have his work cut out against players like Messi and Cavani, but his enthusiasm and determination will win him many fans.

Austin to be Top Goalscorer – 1000/1

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