Matchdays for the two groups for the Copa America differ from those of the EUROs, as teams will alternate playing some rounds. For example, Ecuador played on matchday 1 against Colombia losing that game but did not play this matchday. This is due to this year’s edition having two groups of five making it harder to have the same formatting as other tournaments.
The second matchday would have title contenders Peru and Uruguay make their debuts at the tournament. As well as having Argentina, Brazil and Chile all trying to cement themselves as favorites for the cup with high quality matches. There was also to be the rematch of the 2019 Copa America final between Brazil and Peru in this round of matches.
Colombia VS Venezuela
Both teams came into this match with differing results with Colombia off a good win against Ecuador while Venezuela was crushingly defeated by Brazil. Colombia looked at this game as a way to further prove that they are more contenders than pretenders in this Copa. While Venezuela is still reeling from the effects of COVID related absences, they felt that they could perhaps avoid finishing last in the group.
The first half would prove to be a one sided affair with Colombia launching shot after shot towards the stubborn Venezuelan defense. Wuilker Faríñez, a little known but talented young player, would keep Venezuela in the game as he pulled off save after save. Faríñez left the half as the best player on either side
With a similar pattern to the first half, Colombia had full control of the game but lacked that playmaker as players such as Juan Cuadrado failed to produce for Colombia. To add more firepower to the attack, Colombia would bring on Miguel Borja and it would be a success as he came close to scoring twice with one of his chances being called back for offsides. In added time, Colombian winger Luis Díaz would be sent off for a dangerous challenge leaving the game a draw.
Brazil VS Peru
One of the most anticipated matches of this Copa, Brazil and Peru found themselves in a rematch of the 2019 Copa America final which Brazil won 3-1. Brazil, off an incredible win over Venezuela, wanted to replicate that result in this rematch with Neymar in the squad after he missed the 2019 Copa America. Peru looked towards achieving a place in the knockout stages and seeing how far they could go on the other hand with many players from that final not involved with the team this time around.
Brazil had multiple changes in their lineup for this game with Alex Sandro of Juventus being amongst the changes for Brazil. In the 12th minute, Brazil’s pressure would pay off with Gabriel Jesus lasering a pass to Sandro for the opener. The first half would continue to pay off for Brazil as they kept getting quality chances with them controlling possession.
The second half opened with Peru feeling that they must attack leaving them even more exposed for the Brazilian attack. Neymar, who missed the 2019 Copa, would score a beauty from outside of the box as he drilled in a low shot to the opposite side of the goal. Brazil would add two more goals in the dying stages of the game with Éverton Ribeiro and Richarlison as Brazil seem to be the favorites for this tournament.
Chile VS Bolivia
Chile and Bolivia would continue play in group B with both teams still feeling that they had a good chance of making the next stage. Chile, off a good draw with Argentina, still look to be the contenders that they have been over the past three editions. Bolivia looked to bounce back after a tough loss to Paraguay despite leading in the first half.
Chile could not have asked for a better start with Eduardo Vargas selflessly playing a dime to Ben Brereton who would score his first goal for Chile giving them the lead. Bolivia would get one great chance towards the middle of the first half but would go right back to defending. Chile would have a few more clear cut chances, forward Jene Meneses would be the most productive player of the half as he got great shots off.
The second half was more of the same with Chile feeling that they could grab even more from this game as the Bolivian defense remained stubborn. However, as Chile ran out of gas, Bolivia would start to grow into the game with some good chances being produced. Despite these chances, Bolivia lacked that clinical finishing that Chile had displayed early in the game and the game would finish 1-0.
Argentina VS Uruguay
This match would feature a reunion between two old teammates who torched defenses over the course of 6 years, those two being Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. Argentina is desperate to give their icon, Messi, the international trophy that he deserves for his legendary career. While Uruguay is looking for their golden generation to win another Copa America before their legendary players retire or exit their primes.
Uruguay started the half seemingly unable to rise to the moment as Argentina was able to pressure them into mistakes and gain control of the game. Argentina would strike early on as midfielder Guido Rodriguez would head in a Messi cross. Messi would continue to be the driving force for Argentina as they continued to pour on the pressure.
After the first half onslaught, Uruguay would grow into the match as Argentina took their foot off the gas. Both Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez would miss some great chances for Uruguay, with one cross being whiffed at by both players. Argentina is looking to be a real contender while Uruguay still has that quality needed to go far in this competition.
Photo: Reuters/Sergio Moraes