The Copa America Centenario draw on Sunday night provided us with plenty of excellent matchups throughout the tournament. The United States will face big tests from the first match onwards as they were drawn in the so-called “Group of Death.”
The Group of Death
The U.S. will face Colombia in their opening game, making for a great spectacle to kick off the tournament. The opener will be played at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Jose Pekerman’s men were impressive at the 2014 World Cup before underachieving at last summer’s Copa America in Chile. Led by Real Madrid superstar James Rodriguez, Colombia do possess plenty of quality in all aspects of their team. Juan Cuadrado is enjoying a good season with Juventus while they will be hoping Jackson Martinez or Radamel Falcao can return to form ahead of the tournament.
The two sides last met at the end of 2014 with Colombia running out 2-1 winners on that occasion.
Costa Rica are currently ranked ahead of their CONCACAF rivals in the FIFA rankings and will be stiff opposition to a U.S. side hoping to be successful on their own turf. The two rivals will meet at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz headline a talented Costa Rican side that shocked everyone at the last World Cup while Keylor Navas will be hoping his club form carries into international form. These two sides met back in October of 2015 when Costa Rica emerged with a 1-0 win thanks to Campbell.
Paraguay round off Group A and are no easy match as they proved in last summer’s Copa America, beating Brazil in the quarter finals. The final group game for the Americans will be at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Seattle Sounders striker Nelson Valdez leads the line for Paraguay and veteran Roque Santa Cruz may still feature while captain Paulo da Silva is still going strong at 36 years old. Ramon Diaz’s side are no pushovers and will provide a stern test for all of their Group A opponents.
The last time the U.S. faced Paraguay, back in 2011, they lost 1-0 thanks to an Oscar Cardozo goal.
USA's Time to Shine?
The main favorites for the competition are obvious with Argentina, Brazil and Chile all expected to be at their very best this summer. Behind the three powerhouses, the United States should be confident of a successful tournament. Jurgen Klinsmann has developed a strong young core of players and despite a disappointing performance in last year’s Gold Cup, the future certainly looks bright.
Group A will be a giant test for the United States with no easy game in any of their three fixtures. Qualifying will be tough but if Klinsmann’s men can get out the group, they should like their chances moving forward.