South America’s most thrilling competition Copa America is back, and so far it has delivered with style and flair. With the group stages over, now we proceed to the more thrilling, more intense knock-out rounds, wherein all the expected teams have qualified from their groups.
For most of the teams probable to win, this is more than just a simple trophy to be won. For Brazil, this could be a consolation, a gift to their fans, who are still haunted by their demolition by the Germans at the Marcanna, the same place they went through a similar shock at the 1950 world cup finals. For their manager Dunga, this is to show that he is re-building a new team, a Brazilian team that reminded their fans of the old times. Although, they haven’t quite reached there. At the loss against Germany, Neymar did not play. He will not feature for the rest of the tournament as well. But they have showed how to cope without him. Some would even say that they seem to play better without him. Only time will tell, how they will fare against better teams.
The top ranked side in this competition Argentina did not have an easy run so far. Ranked third in the world and consisting of players like Di Maria, Tevez, Mascherano and Aguero, this is the trophy for them to lose and with the best player in the world Lionel Messi in their helms, they are the certain favorites for this tournament. Decades have passed since they last won a trophy, and they are focused on not repeating the same mistakes. Goals, like the one Aguero scored from Zabaletta’s cross in the last minutes of the game show their never-dying spirit.
Argentina face Columbia in the knockout stage, consisting of star players James Rodriguez, Cuadrado and Falcao, who beat Brazil in the group stages. For Uruguay, the loss against Argentina should have been a hard blow on them. Not one of the most beautiful games of the cup, the match was more about aggression and defense, with players like Godin making a mark. They didn’t deserve to win, but neither did they deserve to lose. However, Uruguay look not so lethal without their controversial striker Luis Suarez who is serving the ban from the World Cup following the Chillieni biting incident.
Uruguay will be looking to make amends against hosts Chile, whom they face in the quarters. They would have to make sure to contain the competitions top-scorer Arturo Vidal to make free runs into penalty-box. So far in the tournament Chile look the most formidable side with the likes of Vidal, Sanchez and Medel in top form. Regardless of the result, there have been some really interesting matches so far in the competition. Only time will tell who will lift the much celebrated silverware.