|Written by Anthony|
|Friday, 15 April 2016 10:55|
Soccer odds that the 2016 Centennial Copa America being the biggest in the history of the tournament are pretty damned good.
The host United States and Costa Rica have had a long rivalry in Concacaf (33 matches), which will be upgraded to a larger stage at the Copa America Centenario for the first time ever. Meanwhile Colombia and Paraguay have obviously met before as well (42 encounters). Both Costa Rica and Colombia had better than expected showings in the past World Cup, and USA is the home team, so the odd squad out would seem to be Paraguay. Paraguay coach Ramon Diaz has indicated he will experiment with some youngsters, and Colombia have recently staged training sessions with a group of youthful players which suggests that coach Jose Pekerman is thinking along the same lines.
Brazil is forever a soccer odds on favorite, regardless of how humiliated they were at their own game – and at their own turf – two years ago in the World Cup. Ecuador is the sensation of South America's current World Cup qualifiers but their performances in recent Copas have been poor. Peru’s last international success was Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize, and no self-respecting soccer betting person would put any money on Haiti. Not unsurprisingly, Brazil has dominated each of their three rivals in previous individual meetings.
Mexico is the clear cut favorite followed by Uruguay, and Jamaica may also have a trick or two up their collective sleeve. But Venezuela is going through some inner turmoil. The country's top 15 players even signed a letter of protest against the directors of the local Football Association a while back, making it clear that relations with their coach were strained. Like Costa Rica vs. USA, Mexico and Jamaica have never faced each other outside of CONCACAF official competitions.
Apparently Lionel Messi will be available to play the Cup, in spite of his family’s tax evasion issues, improving Argentina’s soccer odds. Chile is in a transitional stage – though they are the current cup holders –, and Bolivia and Panama are two of the weakest members of their respective confederations; the latter will probably consider themselves fortunate to be debuting in a Copa America tournament. Therefore, soccer betting experts might as well give Argentina a bye, though they are more than likely to find stiffer competition in subsequent rounds.
The momentousness of this Centennial Copa America can be measured by the fact alone that it is being held in the United States of America. Ideologically speaking, South and North America have seldom seen eye to eye, but ever the twain shall meet, and this tournament is yet another proof that, like soccer betting, sports can break through whatever barriers there may be between different cultures.