Can you believe it? We’re only a couple of days away from the start of the 2016 Copa America and excitement is definitely building for this great sporting spectacle. It’s bound to be one exciting tournament with the world’s oldest continental competition boosted to a 16-team format for the time in its illustrious 100-year history.
Kicking things off this coming Friday is a blockbuster clash between host United States and South American powerhouse Colombia. Who will emerge victorious in this Group A clash? Read on below for an in-depth breakdown of this pivotal matchup and while you’re at it, you can check out our complete preview and sleeper picks for the Copa America Centenario.
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USA vs. Colombia Preview
Where: Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco
When: Friday, June 3, 9:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1
Betting on USA (+162)
USA will head to the Copa America with momentum on its side after a dominant showing in its warm-up matches. The Americans compiled a 100 percent win record against Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Bolivia, with Jurgen Klinsmann’s men allowing just a single goal in those three matches. They have lost just once in their last nine outings. That bodes well for the Americans as they look to bounce back from their disappointing fourth-place showing at last summer’s Gold Cup.
Their emergence is a welcome development for the Americans who look dangerous with their new 4-3-3 formation. Expected to lead the way for the Americans in this Copa America is their veteran duo of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. Dempsey has been a regular fixture in the national team for 12 years now and has amassed a total of 49 goals in 124 appearances. Bradley, on the other hand, has been reinvigorated with his latest switch to a deep-lying midfield role. He was superb for the USA in their recent wins over Ecuador and Bolivia, seamlessly orchestrating the Americans’ attack from the deeper position he usually fills for Toronto FC.
USA is pegged at +900 to win the Copa America Centenario.
Betting on Colombia (+153)
There are plenty of question marks surrounding Colombia heading into this historic Copa America Centenario. They looked lost in this tournament last year, managing just one win in the group stage at Chile. The Los Cafeteros were eventually knocked out by Argentina in the quarterfinals after qualifying as the third best team in their group. Colombia scored just a single goal in the tournament, failing to score in its other three matches.
That’s quite disappointing for the Colombians who are ranked fourth in the FIFA World rankings. The good news for manager Jose Pekerman is that his side is starting to hit peak form ahead of this year’s tournament. They are currently on a three-match winning run, scoring three goals in each of those games. The Los Cafeteros won 3-1 against Haiti in their only warm-up match for the Copa America.
Expected to lead Colombia in this opening match is captain James Rodriguez. He may have lost his starting spot with reigning European champions Real Madrid but he’s still Colombia’s best attacking player right now. He has scored 14 goals in 42 appearances for the Los Cafeteros. He was instrumental in Colombia’s dream quarterfinal run in the 2014 World Cup. Rodriguez has that unique ability of hitting the killer pass, providing clever touches and finishing the most difficult of goal-scoring chances.
He can’t do it all alone, though, and he needs the other players to step up their game as well. The onus is on the talented foursome of Juan Cuadrado, Carlos Bacca, Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Zapata to deliver the goods for Colombia. They have scored a combined 17 goals for the national team.
The Los Cafeteros will fancy their chances of grabbing the win against the Americans as they have fared extremely well against them of late. They are unbeaten in their last three meetings against USA in all competitions. The last meeting between the two nations was in a friendly at Craven Cottage on November 2014. Colombia came back from a goal down to win 2-1 in that match.
Colombia is pegged at +1,000 to win the Copa America Centenario.
USA and Colombia cancel each other out in an entertaining 2-2 draw (+200).
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