|Copa América: Embracing its unpredictability. (Image from Facebook.)|
Yet, as tends to be the wont in South America for many things, the Copa América arrives at any old time. It doesn't appear, or at least hasn't heretofore, to follow any plan. Well, if it does, it's not a straightforward one. (Maybe they're right on this one?)
Fair enough, this year's renewal, hot on the heels of Chile 2015, is marking the competition's centenary. Yet, it's not even being played on South American soil. No, it's taking place in the grand old US of A. At least it means that none of the Conmebol teams will have home advantage; but the USA will. It wouldn't exactly be the best of etiquette to throw a party in somebody else's gaff without inviting them, now would it?
Indeed, the venue choice has raised eyebrows among some of the participants, with Uruguay manager Óscar Washington Tabárez questioning the United States' suitability on this occasion, especially as games are going to be played all over the vast nation. His side, for example, will be travelling from west (Glendale) to east (Philadelphia) and back west (Santa Clara) again for their three group matches.
Whatever about the merits of this edition — the inclusion of six invitees, namely Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and hosts US, could be seen as weakening its credibility further — there is still a 'copa' to be won.
Looking at it from adopted-Colombian eyes, the competition gives José Pékerman's selection the opportunity to continue their unbeaten ways in competitive matches, having won two on the bounce in the World Cup qualifiers. It also represents a chance to erase the memories of a rather mediocre showing 12 months ago.
|How far can Colombia go in the Copa this year? (Picture from Facebook.)|
A result in that one could set them up for a bit of a run, as Paraguay should be dispatched and Costa Rica, as one of the invited nations, mightn't be overly pushed. Yet making positive predictions about Colombia, as last year showed, is risky business.
That aside, it's likely the winner will come from one of South America's heavyweights. Take your pick from Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay (yep, we're going all out there). We'll be, um, 'patriotic' and include Colombia as well, but with a semi-final against Argentina, Chile or Uruguay on the cards should they get that far, making the decider might be just beyond them.
But hey, whatever the outcome, at least the Colombian team will have a few weeks in what is a second home for most of their fellow countrymen. Plus, there's always another Copa not too far away.
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