The primary set of match days of the controversial Copa America have concluded. As Brazil nonetheless struggles with coronavirus circumstances, the on-field motion is formally underway at empty stadiums throughout the nation.
Hosts Brazil opened up the match with a 3-0 win over a depleted Venezuela aspect that needed to name up 15 emergency gamers due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Colombia nabbed a 1-0 win over Ecuador, whereas Chile rallied for a 1-1 draw with Argentina regardless of Lionel Messi‘s stunner. Paraguay beat Bolivia 3-1, and Uruguay and Peru have but to play within the 10-nation match.
ESPN seems to be again on the motion from the primary two days on the oldest worldwide match on the earth.
A case of unfair competitors?
The Copa America was beforehand held in a four-year cycle during which it acted as a warm-up to the subsequent set of World Cup qualifiers — in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. Now, as a result of FIFA need to clear a midyear house for a worldwide membership competitors, it takes place similtaneously the Euros — which, this yr, anyway, seems to be like a case of unfair competitors.
The European Championship has followers within the stadiums, and a sense — hopefully not untimely — that there’s something to have a good time with the pandemic below management. No such sentiment is feasible in South America. COVID-19 rages on and can quickly attain the half-million mark of deaths in Brazil. There will probably be no followers current, and the pandemic obtained the match off to an embarrassing begin in Sunday’s first sport. Brazil’s opponents are affected by an outbreak of COVID-19 — Venezuela might area solely three of the beginning lineup from final Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier at dwelling to Uruguay, they usually had been pressured to fly in additional gamers. Inevitably, they fashioned a scratch staff that emerged with some dignity from a 3-0 defeat. However coming straight after the Euro thriller between the Netherlands and Ukraine, the opening sport within the Copa had the texture of a testimonial or a charity encounter.
Then there may be the format, with a weird group part that takes greater than two weeks and 20 video games to eradicate simply two of the ten sides. And on prime of that the standard of the pitches leaves one thing to be desired, particularly when in comparison with the Euros. Argentina have been justifiably crucial of the taking part in floor for his or her match in Rio de Janeiro’s Nilton Santos stadium. So it’s, then, a case of unfair competitors.
ESPN FC’s Ale Moreno can’t discover the logic in Copa America truly going down in Brazil in simply over per week’s time.
Have we learnt something new concerning the massive two?
Most likely not, although given the improvised nature of their opponents, it was laborious to study an excessive amount of about Brazil.
Simply as in World Cup qualification, in the meanwhile, Brazil are trying strong and assured, seldom within the slightest hazard of conceding and with the person expertise and collective variations to trigger loads of issues. Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa all scored to get the marketing campaign off to a powerful begin towards an overwhelmed Venezuela. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see how the Brazilians cope when and if that confidence is shaken within the later levels of the competitors.
As for Argentina, they’ve clearly improved within the two years since their final defeat — to Brazil within the semifinals of the 2019 Copa. However Monday’s 1-1 draw with Chile highlighted irritating weaknesses in addition to strengths. Simply as within the two latest World Cup qualifiers — one in every of them one other draw with Chile — they’re exhibiting flashes of actual promise, passages of play when their circuit of midfield passing seems to be very spectacular. Lionel Messi continued his personal duel with Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, this time beating him with a powerful free kick. However this time he was stored comparatively quiet — and even so, Argentina have been creating probabilities. Geovani Lo Celso performed a splendid first half.
However then come the issues. Chile made a swap on the break, sending Arturo Vidal additional ahead to hyperlink up with striker Eduardo Vargas. Argentina misplaced their fluency — they’re discovering it not possible to maintain their rhythm — and, as soon as extra, the defence collapsed. Nico Otamendi is operating on borrowed time at centre-back, and alongside him Lucas Martinez Quarta appears off steadiness too usually to be the long-term resolution. There are nice hopes surrounding Cristian Romero, who’s injured, however the proof on him within the latest World Cup qualifiers was inconclusive. And so Chile discovered a manner, although.
Now pushed to the left, midfielder Erick Pulgar performed an exquisite diagonal ball that uncovered a gaping gap within the centre of the defence, and Vargas had a shot that was saved by Emiliano Martinez. However Vidal following up was fouled by Nico Tagliafico, who did his finest to commit two penalties in the identical transfer. Martinez did splendidly nicely to push Vidal’s penalty onto the bar, however Vargas reacted rapidly to go dwelling and proceed his exceptional relationship with the Copa America.
As soon as extra Argentina had began brightly, taken the lead, and been pressured to accept a draw. Friday’s sport towards Uruguay seems to be exceptionally promising — an outdated native derby nicely able to rivalling the England–Scotland conflict going down earlier that day within the Euros.
A lightweight present that includes 3D projections pays tribute to Diego Maradona earlier than Argentina’s Copa America conflict with Chile.
The perfect of the remaining
The aim that gave Colombia a 1-0 win over Ecuador will dwell lengthy within the reminiscence. The defensive wall lined up anticipating Edwin Cardona to shoot from a free kick. As an alternative, he labored a intelligent trade of quick passes with Juan Cuadrado, after which he continued his run into the world. Cuadrado’s chip within the field was neatly nodded throughout by striker Miguel Borja, and Cardona met it with a cute end on the volley to beat the keeper.
Cardona is an interesting, regularly infuriating determine. He isn’t a lot of an athlete — milk turns faster than he does — however he strikes the ball extraordinarily nicely and has flashes of creativeness that may mild up a sport. His aim towards Ecuador gained three factors for his aspect and was the spotlight of the opening spherical.