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Friday, June 22, 2007

Copa America Analysis

Analysis of the Four Groups:

I would like to use the Elo World Football ratings for each team, instead of the FIFA ratings. In my humble opinion, the Elo system, which was developed to rate world chess players, is more reflective of the current situation. Obviously, as with any rating system, debate may occur with regards to accuracy. The ratings, which are updated after every international game, reflect the ratings on 20 June 2007. Depending upon the result of the Gold Cup final on Sunday, the ratings of Mexico (17) and the USA (15) will change. As the Copa America progresses, you can check back to see how the Elo ratings are updated.

From the three groups, eight teams will advance to the elimination rounds. I have highlighted my choices for the top two teams from each group, along with the two third place teams that will advance. The first choice is in red, the second is in gold, and the two thirds are in blue.

Group A

Venezuela: 49
Uruguay: 13
Peru: 52
Bolivia: 65

Group B

Brasil: 1
Chile: 39
Mexico: 17
Ecuador: 37

Group C

Argentina: 6
Paraguay: 33
Colombia: 19
USA: 16

Elimination Round Bracket:

Here is the tournament bracket for the elimination rounds courtesy of Wikipedia:
Quarter finals
Semi finals

July 07 - San Cristobal

1st Place Group A

July 10 - Caracas

2nd Best Third Place

July 07 - Puerto La Cruz

Best Third Place

July 15 - Maracaibo

2nd Place Group B

July 08 - Maturín

1st Place Group B

July 11 - Puerto Ordaz

2nd Place Group C

Third place

July 08 - Barquisimeto

1st Place Group C

2nd Place Group A

July 14 - Caracas

Interestingly, Brasil and Argentina, should they win their respective groups, will eliminate each other, most likely, in the semi-finals. In my opinion, the tournament organizers should have allowed these two to meet in the final. As they did in 2004 (Brasil won on penalties, 4 x 2, after the game ended drawn at 2). If Uruguay wins Group A, they have a somewhat easier path to the final. They would face the second best third place team in the quarterfinal. Then the winner between second place in Group B, and the best third place team. They will avoid Brasil and Argentina until the final game. But as we know from the past, surprises usually happen in short tournaments.

I believe that Argentina is the most talented team in this competition, and predict them to win the Copa America for the fifteenth time in their history. Brasil has won the competition seven times. Uruguay is tied with Argentina with fourteen titles. Ironically, Pele' and Diego Maradona never won this competition during their stellar careers. Enzo Francescoli of Uruguay won the Copa America three times.

Team Rosters courtesy of Wikipedia:

To view the rosters for each team, please click here.

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