Copa America Centenario continues on Saturday with three games, after the tournament opened on Friday with a soccer match between the U.S. and Colombia. The latter beat the host country 2-0, at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Brazil will show up tonight without Neymar.
Saturday fixtures include Costa Rica vs. Paraguay at five p.m., Haiti vs. Peru at 7:30 p.m., and Brazil vs. Ecuador at 10 p.m. The Copa America is usually disputed between 12 teams from the Americas. This particular edition includes 16 teams.
The Copa America is celebrated every four years. However, as the tournament turned 100 years, organizers created the Copa America Centenario, which is being hosted by the United States. Analysts suggest that the U.S. would be interested in hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 4, 2016
Costa Rica is hungry for goals, although high temperatures in Orlando may affect some players
First Saturday’s match between Costa Rica and Paraguay will take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Last Monday, the Costa Rican Soccer Federation announced that Keylor Navas from Real Madrid would not attend the tournament, due to injuries.
Luis Marin, the assistant manager of the Costa Rica team, said that players are expecting to reach the top 10 of the FIFA rankings. On Thursday, the team was declared as number 23, among world’s best teams.
“It is encouraging, we are happy, it obliges us to continue working harder every day with a very clear goal of climbing positions in the FIFA ranking — and it also forces us to do something big in the Copa America.” said Marin, about the new team’s position in the ranking.
Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramírez said that having a “winning mentality” is fundamental to beat Paraguay. However, he mentioned that first games are always complicated between groups. Team captain Bryan Ruiz said that high temperatures in Orlando may affect players.
Ruiz tweeted on Saturday that it was an honor to play in his first Copa America.
Paraguay team: the absence of Keylor Navas may affect Costa Rica
Paraguayan player Justo Villar said on Saturday that the team has been trained by people with high capabilities. This is the seventh time that Villar participates in the Copa America. “We have a beautiful opportunity to demonstrate that we have grown,” he added.
Villar added that Navas’s absence at the Copa America Centenario represented a “significant drop in a peak moment of his career.” The Paraguayan explained that goalkeepers such as Navas were considerably influential for their game.
“I would take Copa America as a preview for the World Cup since teams are similar,” said Villar.
— Milton J Figueroa (@MiltonJFigueroa) June 4, 2016
Brazil is attending Copa America Centenario without Neymar
Analysts suggest that Brazil has not considered this particular edition of the Copa America as fundamental since the national team is attending the tournament without Neymar, who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona.
Brazilian Players Luiz Gustavo, Douglas Costa, Rafinha, Ricardo Oliveira, Emerson, and Kaka are not attending the tournament, according to the Bleacher Report.
All 32 matches of the Copa America Centenario can be televised on FS1 and Univision Sports. Fox Soccer2Go and Fox Sports Go will also stream the tournament. It is the first time that the United States hosts the Copa America.
After 6 changes, imho only Douglas Costa and Luiz Gustavo are real blows for Brazil. And even they give Coutinho & Casemiro a chance.
— Rupert Fryer (@Rupert_Fryer) June 2, 2016
Source: ESPN FC