What a summer for soccer fans! We’ve got the US ladies looking strong in the Women’s World Cup, a surprisingly exciting U17 World Cup in Mexico, the Gold Cup just ended, and tonight Copa America 2011 begins in Argentina.
The South American tournament runs from July 1 – 24, which gives us plenty to watch (on Telefutura, Univision or streaming live via an official Youtube channel) until Manchester United’s American tour at the end of the month. Guest teams Mexico and Costa Rica are joining the Copa, to round out the groups. Japan had to withdraw after the tsunami forced a massive reschedule of J-League games.
Copa America kicks off with a match between Argentina and Bolivia. Still shaky from a disappointing early exit in last summer’s World Cup, and recently scandalized by the relegation of favorite side, River Plate, host nation Argentina has a chance to restore its soccer image. A team with the talent they have right now shouldn’t have so much trouble sweeping through tournaments, in theory. In practice? Well, maybe they’ve become the England of South America.
Hopefully not. Let’s chalk it up to a brief and unyielding stint under Diego Maradona’s fiery hand. New coach Sergio Batista has a better strategic vision, plus they have something to prove, especially coming on the heels of a 5-position drop in FIFA global rankings.
Brazil also has a new coach, Mano Menezes, whose record is tepid thus far. Brazil will be relying on the leadership of 27-year old Robinho to help launch promising young forward, Neymar (pictured), into super-stardom. He already has a star’s hairstyle.
Now, me, I still love an underdog. So go, Costa Rica! Come on, Ecuador! Hooray for young Mexican deliquents! (Only kidding, El Tri.) Who do you want to see in the Copa America final?
Group Stage Schedule
July 1 – Argentina 1 v Bolivia 1
July 2 – Colombia 1 v Costa Rica 0
July 3 – Brazil 0 v Venezuela 0
July 3 – Paraguay 0 v Ecuador 0
July 4 – Uruguay 1 v Peru 1
July 4 – Chile 2 v Mexico 1
July 6 – Argentina 0 v Colombia 0
July 7 – Bolivia 0 v Costa Rica 2
July 8 – Uruguay 1 v Chile 1
July 8 – Peru 1 v Mexico 0
July 9 – Brazil 2 v Paraguay 2
July 9 – Ecuador 0 v Venezuela 1
July 10 – Colombia 2 v Bolivia 0
July 11 – Argentina 3 v Costa Rica 0
July 12 – Chile 1 v Peru 0
July 12 – Uruguay 1 v Mexico 0
July 13 – Paraguay 3 v Venezuela 3
July 13 – Brazil 4 v Ecuador 2
July 16 – Colombia 0 v Peru 2
July 16 – Argentina 1 (4) v Uruguay 1 (5)
July 17 – Brazil 0 (0) v Paraguay 0 (2)
July 17 – Chile 1 v Venezuela 2
July 19 – Peru v Uruguay 8:45PM ET (Univision)
July 20 – Paraguay v Venezuela 8:45PM ET (Univision)
July 23 – Runner-Up S1 v Runner-Up S2 3PM ET
July 24 – Winner S1 v Winner S2 3PM ET