This summer’s Copa America Centenario is expected to be the biggest soccer tournament on US soil since the 1994 World Cup. Excitement is already starting to build for this historic South American tournament, which is the most competitive tournament in the world.
With many of the biggest stars in world soccer including Neymar, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi expected to play, these are the five group games that I’m looking forward to the most:
5. MEXICO vs. JAMAICA ON JUNE 9 AT THE ROSE BOWL
Mexico may not be a tournament favorite, but there may be as much excitement surrounding El Tri as any other tournament participant.
Selected in Group C alongside Uruguay, Jamaica, and Venezuela, Mexico supporters will expected their side to advance to the knockout stages. Mexico will take on CONCACAF rivals Jamaica in their second group stage match on June 9 at the Rose Bowl, which will follow their opening game with favorites Uruguay four days earlier.
El Tri always draws large numbers to the Rose Bowl and expect another sell-out when they take on the Reggae Boyz.
4: BRAZIL vs. HAITI ON JUNE 8 AT THE CITRUS BOWL
Not a matchup of two heavyweights, but Brazil will be expected to score plenty of goals on relative CONCACAF minnows Haiti when the two teams meet on June 8 in Orlando.
Brazil will be expected to make a deep run in this summer’s tournament, but were handed a tough Group draw that will pit them against Ecuador, Peru, and the Haitians in Group B. With two tough South American opponents in their group, the Brazilians will need a huge win against the Caribbean nation to assure that they hold the tiebreakers against their opposition.
Plus we could have the added excitement of Orlando SC star Kaka, playing for his national team again, in his own stadium.
3: UNITED STATES vs. COLOMBIA ON JUNE 3 AT LEVI’S STADIUM
Copa America opens on June 3 when the United States take on 2014 FIFA World Cup darlings Colombia at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
It’s a match that brings back memories of the 1994 World Cup match at the Rose Bowl, that the USA famously won 2-1 to knock the favored Colombians out the tournament.
This is the toughest group that also includes Paraguay, and Costa Rica, and neither side will want to leave Santa Clara with a opening match defeat.
2: BRAZIL vs. ECUADOR ON JUNE 4 AT THE ROSE BOWL
Southern California residents will get their first taste of the Copa America on June 4 when Neymar and Brazil take on Ecuador at the Rose Bowl.
Brazil are expected to bring a full complement of stars to the Copa America this summer including the Barcelona ace, as well as Chelsea’s Oscar. This summer’s match will be Brazil’s first game in Pasadena since the Selecao won the 1994 World Cup at the historic venue.
The Brazilians may have the star names but Ecuador has solidified themselves as the most in-form South American team heading into the tournament with four victories in 2018 World Cup qualifying. The pressure will be on Brazil to start the competition with a win, but Ecuador will not be overawed by the occasion.
1: ARGENTINA vs. CHILE ON JUNE 6 AT LEVI’S STADIUM
Sparks will fly on June 6 when Argentina take on Chile in a rematch of the 2015 Copa America Final at Levi’s Stadium.
At the previous edition of the South American tournament, host nation Chile lifted the Copa America title against La Albiceleste after a thrilling penalty kick shootout. When the two teams meet in the San Francisco Bay Area, the excitement will be palpable when Lionel Messi’s Argentina faces off against a Chile squad led by the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal.
Both teams are expected to challenge for the tournament title which will only add to the stakes when they face off for the Group D lead.
What games are you looking forward too?