Hello all! Copa América started yesterday and it is an exciting time for our beloved Albirroja. I am more optimistic than usual that the title is within our reach. Like in the World Cup, our first objective will be to win the group holding the defending champion.
Paraguay is stronger now than in the World Cup.
Some of our lines are going to have major changes in this event. The biggest change is in our defense. In the World Cup, Dario Verón, a central defender, played as right-back for lack of a better player in that position. This year both Ivan Piris and Marcos Caceres can play as right backs so Dario Verón will play as a central defender with Paulo Da Silva. Antolín Alcaraz will lose his position but we will be stronger in the back.
The midfield and offense have more subtle improvements but they are better none-the-less. Edgar Barreto played the World Cup last year after having been inactive for a year! This year he is healthy and he has actually been playing regularly for his club.
Finally, it looks like Marcelo Estigarribia, who didn´t go to the World Cup will have a major role in the Copa America. He is an attacking midfielder who actually plays more like a striker on the left. He is very skilled and I think he is going to give us a lot more depth than we generated in the World Cup.
The teams to beat will be Argentina and Brazil. Without Maradona, Argentina is definitely a stronger team this year. They didn’t win yesterday but they can rely on their individualities deep into the tournament. The Brazilian side has a couple of new faces and it is difficult to read whether they are stronger than in the World Cup. I have a feeling they are not, but they can never be underestimated and are capable of achieving even when they are discredited. The last Copa America is an example.
Paraguay vs. Ecuador July 3, 17:30ET. Channel: Telefutura
As usual, Martino has been keeping the line-up to himself and the press has been very critical of this secrecy. What I gather from several reports of how he has been standing his men on the field is that Paraguay will play a false 4-4-2. I say false because with Estigarribia it will be more like a 4-3-3.
Piris, Veron, Da Silva, Torres
Barreto, Vera, Riveros, Estigarribia
Prediction: Paraguay 2 – Ecuador 0.
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