The 2019 Copa America gets underway this weekend and we’re backing the Selecao to lift the trophy – here’s why!
1) They have the home advantage
Home advantage can play a huge part in these competitions, with Chile, Colombia and Uruguay all lifting the Copa America trophy in recent years in front of their own supporters. This time around, Brazil will play the role of hosts and they have a redemption arc to complete here.
As hosts of the World Cup in 2014, the Samba Boys managed to reach the semi-final stage before being absolutely hammered 7-1 by Germany in that game in a result that will forever haunt one of football’s proudest nations. Can they redeem themselves somewhat by lifting the Copa America this summer? They’re certainly expected to.
2) The competition looks weaker than usual
Many of the key competitors in the tournament this time around don’t look to be at the peak of our powers. Chile for example, who have won the last two versions of the competition, failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia last year and Argentina are still rebuilding following their poor displays in Russia and the sacking of boss Jorge Sampaoli.
Albiceleste lost in a friendly fixture against the Selecao last year too and it’s fair to say that Lionel Messi has never really turned it on in the same fashion on the international stage than he has for Barcelona. We think the likes of Colombia, Peru and Paraguay will struggle to compete with the quality of Brazil too.
3) They will step up in Neymar’s absence
There are some key players missing from this Brazil squad. The likes of Marcelo, Neymar and Vinicius Junior have missed out through injury, but that doesn’t mean that the Selecao are lacking in quality and a look through their squad will tell you as much with stars like Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino expected to step up to the plate.
Neymar’s stardust is obvious and he remains the talisman of this side, but players like Firmino and Coutinho will be desperate to show they can step up to the plate here as the key men in the absence of the PSG man. There are a few youngsters that will be keen to make an impression too such as Lucas Paqueta, David Neres and Richarlison.
Get our latest Copa America previews, predictions and analysis here.