Week One of the beloved Copa America was a good opening week for any soccer competition, holding a fair share of heroic, thrilling and upsetting matches. Brazil started well as Phillip Coutinho’s two goals led them to a 3-0 win over Bolivia at home before Colombia upset Argentina 2-0 the following day. Paraguay and Qatar played a very entertaining 2-2 draw and Japan couldn’t stand up on their feet as they lost to Chile 4-0. This week, Bolivia and Peru both are searching for a win and Venezuela will want to try their luck against Brazil. Colombia is hoping to continue the good form vs. Qatar as Argentina will be desperate for a win against Paraguay. Finally, Japan needs a win against Uruguay and Ecuador take on Chile. Without haste, let’s preview the six matches and check out RahimAli Merchant’s and my predictions.
Bolivia vs. Peru
Bolivian fans might be relieved they are playing an opponent nowhere near the caliber of Brazil, but unfortunately, they’re still not favorites against Peru. Peru might be disappointed with a draw against Venezuela, but they are still far stronger than Bolivia, especially with an established striker like Paulo Guererro up front. Heading into this match, Bolivia is probably aware that they will be out of the competition if they lose, to the dismay of their fans. Peru could do with a draw, but a win will dramatically increase their chances of making the Quarter-finals.
For both teams, all the players are fully fit and there are no suspensions. If Bolivia can be more confident in attacking, this can be a very interesting matchup indeed.
Aman: BOL 1-3 PER
Rahim: BOL 0-2 PER
Brazil vs. Venezuela
Although Brazil is clear favorites in this fixture, Venezuela is capable of providing an upset. Venezuela is in fine form and is looking to run deep in this tournament, but they’ve faced an early blow. Venezuelan goalkeeper Luis Migo was sent off in the 75th minute so Wuilker Farinez will likely start in his place. Both of them prevented a single one of Peru’s 17 shots from going into the goal, so it won’t be easy by any means for Brazil to win. Brazil, on the other hand, will want goals as the first half of the Bolivia game ended 0-0.
Aman: BRS 2-1 VEN
Rahim: BRS 2-1 VEN
Colombia vs. Qatar
It seems that Colombia is guaranteed a spot in the knockout rounds, considering all they have to do is beat Qatar, but I wouldn’t write Qatar off yet. They were a bit off form against Paraguay, but in the second half, things were much better as Qatar’s united team passed well with each other and found a goal. But if Colombia was able to beat Argentina, how much can you fancy Qatar’s chances?
Qatar will probably stick with the same squad but Colombia could have one or two changes. Roger Martínez is likely guaranteed to replace the injured Luis Muriel after he was subbed off in the 14th minute against Argentina and Duvan Zapata could switch out for Radamel Falcao after he scored in his ten minutes the last match, but there are questions about the attack’s stability if Falcao doesn’t start.
Aman: COL 3-1 QAT
Rahim: COL 3-0 QAT
Argentina vs. Paraguay
ALL EYES will be on Argentina. After losing humiliatingly 2-0 to Colombia, Argentina need a win or they risk being knocked out in the group stages! Paraguay, on the other hand, might fancy their chances but will have some concerns after they let a 2-0 lead slip against Qatar. Both sides will need to rethink their starting lineups, Argentina in the attack and Paraguay in the defense. For Paraguay, Gustavo Gomez might get himself a start and Argentina could also make a few changes, bringing in Rodrigo De Paul for Angel Di María and Lautaro Martinez in for Sergio Aguero.
Aman: ARG 3-2 PAR
Rahim: ARG 2-1 PAR
Uruguay vs. Japan
It seems that Uruguay are favorites, especially with Edinson Cavani up front, but Japan can give them a hard time. Uruguay got this tournament underway with a 4-0 win over Ecuador and Japan lost 4-0 to Chile. The good news for Japan is that Uruguay’s most prolific goalscorer, Luis Suarez, is unable to play, but that doesn’t greatly improve Japan’s winning chances as Maya Yoshida is unable to start on Thursday.
Aman: JAP 2-4 URU
Rahim: JAP 1-1 URU
Ecuador vs. Chile
Ecuador disappointed against Uruguay while Chile came out of their poor form to roar in their opening game against Japan. To make things even worse for Ecuador, they will be without midfield maestro José Quinteros as he has been suspended by a red card. Chile, against Japan, proved their firepower wasn’t done as Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez were able to get their names on the scoring sheet.
Aman: ECU 0-3 CHL
Rahim: ECU 0-2 CHL
Some teams are hoping to turn things around this week while others are trying to make sure they don’t slip in the coming matches. Hopefully, this week will be more competitive than the last and some teams will try to find a place out of the group stages. All the games are live in the US in Spanish on Telemundo, in English on ESPN and in Portuguese on ESPN+.