Soccer

Copa America 2024 Preview: Can Anyone Take Down Argentina?

Does the US have a shot at making a deep run on home soil?

June 17, 2024

We’re still a couple years away from the next men’s World Cup, though we’re in an excellent summer for large soccer tournaments across the world. Euro 2024, hosted in Germany, kicked off Friday and we had a great weekend of action to begin the group schedule. This week, Copa America will kick off at locations across the United States.

Copa America begins with 16 teams — 10 from CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation) and six from CONCACAF (teams from North, Central America and the Caribbean regions). Those 16 teams are divided into four groups of four, with the top two advancing from each group at the end of the first phase of the tournament. While the talent of the player pool may not measure up to the most premier international tournaments, there are still plenty of big names and top teams set to participate.

Group A- Argentina, Peru, Chile, Canada

Argentina would be the favorite in pretty much any group of countries around the world so long as Lionel Messi is on the team. The defending World Cup and Copa America champs should be able to sleepwalk through this group, as no other team in the group has a ranking above 35th in the world.

The tournament will really begin for them in the knockout stages, and more realistically likely the semifinals or potentially even finals. The fight for the second team to advance out of the group should be far more interesting. Argentina kicks off the tournament Thursday night against Canada.

Chile is a traditional power, winning this tournament both in 2015 and 2016. They’ve fallen on hard times since, though, and will now be tasked with holding off Peru. If current form is any indication, Chile should still hold an advantage as Peru has been a miserable 0-2-4 across six World Cup Qualifying matches.

Most Anticipated Match: Peru v. Chile (Friday, June 21 at 8 pm ET)

Group B – Mexico, Ecuador, Jamaica, Venezuela

There’s a bit more intrigue in Group B. Mexico is the Pot 1 representative (the top team in the group by World Ranking), but had the lowest World Ranking of all nations in that group. Nevertheless, they’re the favorite to win the group and it would be a shock to not see them advance.

The real goal will be for them to win the group to avoid a matchup against Messi and Argentina in the first round of knockout games. A lot of their top players (Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez, and keeper Memo Ochoa) aren’t on the roster as the 2026 World Cup is the priority, so don’t consider Mexico a top contender to make a deep run.

On paper, Ecuador should be the favorite to secure a second advancing position, but keep an eye on Venezuela. On the hunt for their first World Cup bid, they’ve gone unbeaten in five straight qualifying games. In that stretch, they drew with Ecuador. This would be a big step forward for their country, even if it’s just for the right to get trounced by Argentina.

Most Anticipated Match: Ecuador v. Venezuela (Saturday, June 22 at 6 pm ET)

Group C: United States, Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia

The United States is the Pot 1 representative of the group, but it’d be a stretch to call them the most quality team in the group. Uruguay  has the best goal differential in CONMEBOL (over the likes of Argentina, Colombia and Argentina) World Cup qualifying.

At the same time, it would be a disaster for manager Gregg Berhalter and the United States not to advance, particularly because they have their best players on this roster (Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Tyler Adams). They’ll be looking to prove they can hang with the big boys, not just scrape by.

The first two matches will be particularly important for the Stars and Stripes. They open the tournament against Bolivia, the clear underdog in this group. The second match comes against Panama, and the US cannot overlook them. A draw could then mean the team needs a result in the final match against Uruguay, which isn’t the position they’ll want to be in.

Most Anticipated Match: US vs. Uruguay (Monday, July 1 at 9 pm ET)

Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica

This isn’t exactly the Group of Death, but it carries a lot of intrigue. As difficult as it is to imagine, Brazil is on the fringes of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, and as could be expected, the country is panicking. This will be a vital time for the state of the team overall.

If Brazil remains off form, Colombia will be ready to pounce.  They’re third in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying and rank 12th in the World Rankings. Like most of the groups, there’s a clear distinction between the haves and have-nots — so Brazil and Colombia should be the teams to advance. Paraguay and Costa Rica match up evenly on paper but aren’t particularly competitive on an international scale.

Most Anticipated Match: Brazil vs. Costa Rica (Monday, June 24 at 9 pm ET)

Predictions

Argentina should get a relatively clean draw to the Copa America finals, with potential matchups against Venezuela and either Mexico or Chile in the two knockout rounds. It would be a shock if they aren’t among the last two teams standing.

The other side of the bracket is a bit more interesting. Uruguay would be my favorite to get through, but Colombia is a dark horse. Maybe the hometown American boys can pull off the upset, but we’ve been disappointed before.

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.
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