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Preview of All 2015 Copa America Participants


12 teams, including 2 invitees Mexico and Jamaica will participate in the 2015 Copa America which kicks-off tonight in Chile. Before you dive in and watch one of the greatest football tournaments in the world, here is a quick breakdown of all the participating nations.

Group A:


Chile (Hosts)

FIFA Rank: 19th
Manager: Jorge Sampaoli (Arg)
Youngest Player: Ángelo Henríquez - Manchester United (21 yrs old)
Oldest Player: David Pizarro - Fiorentina (35 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Juventus, Colo-Colo & Univeridad de Chile (2 players each)
Best Copa America Result: Runner-Up (1955, 1956, 1979, 1987)

Hosts Chile are quite confident that they can go on a run which will bring them their first ever Copa America title. The "golden generation" has been quite successful for the Chileans and on home soil there is a good chance the hosts can succeed with the likes of stars Arturo Vidal, Alexi Sanchez and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Mexico

FIFA Rank: 23rd
Manager: Miguel Herrera
Youngest Player: Carlos Salcedo - CD Guadalajara (21 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Rafael Márquez - Verona (36 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Cruz Azul (3 players)
Best Copa America Result: (8 appearances) Runner-Up (1993, 2001)

Invitees Mexico will be making their ninth Copa America appearance, although this year the team elected to bring an experimental squad to South America as the rest of the team is in preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup. Without their star players Mexico will likely be no match for the Chileans, but could potentially make it out of the group in 2nd or one of the two 3rd placed teams.

Ecuador

FIFA Rank: 31st
Manager: Gustavo Quinteros (Bol)
Youngest Player: Mario Pineida - Independiente del Valle (22 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Walter Ayoví - Pachuca (35 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Club Sport Emelec (7 players)
Best Copa America Result: 4th place (1959, 1993)

Missing Michael Arroyo and Antonio Valencia due to injuries will be a big blow for the Ecuadorians. Having never placed better than 4th place in the tournament it is unlikely they could do better this year. That said, the inconsistency of the Mexican and Bolivian squads could at least help Ecuador to reach the next round if EPL based players such as West Ham's Enner Valencia and Swansea's Jefferson Montero can put together a few good performances.

Bolivia

FIFA Rank: 92nd
Manager: Mauricio Soria
Youngest Player: Sebastián Gamarra - AC Milan (18 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Pablo Escobar - The Strongest (36 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Club Bolívar (5 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (1963)

By far the least favorite squad to come out of group A, Bolivia enjoyed one win in this tournament back in 1963. Since then however, the team hasn't done well in most capacities. This year should be no different to recent tournament results as the squad is made up of mostly domestic league players from the Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano. That said, there is one name that is worth watching on the squad (if he gets any playing time) and that is 18 year old Sebastián Gamarra who had recently signed his first senior contract, that with Italian giants AC Milan.



Group B:


Argentina

FIFA Rank: 3rd
Manager: Gerardo Martino
Youngest Player: Érik Lamela - Tottenham (23 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Martín Demichelis - Manchester City (34 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Manchester City (3 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (14 times, most recently in 1993)

For many Argentina represents the favorites to win the whole thing. Obviously with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Di Maria, Tevez and others their chances are indeed pretty good. But while to some this may seem as the easiest group, Uruguay will not be a walk in the park for the Argentines, even without star striker Luis Suarez. Nonetheless, Argentina should qualify for the next round with certain ease if everything goes to plan.

Uruguay (Defending Champions)

FIFA Rank: 8th
Manager: Óscar Tabárez
Youngest Player: José Giménez - Atlético de Madrid (20 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Egidio Arévalo Ríos - UANL (33 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Atlético de Madrid (3 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (15 times, most recently 2011)

Everyone is wondering how Uruguay will cope without star forward Luis Suarez who will miss the tournament as a result of his suspension for biting at the FIFA World Cup last summer. But Uruguay are stars in this particular tournament having won it with far less superior rosters a record 15 previous times. Hull City's Abel Hernandez will get a bigger opportunity than usual with Suarez's absence, a chance the 24 year old will have to take with everything he's got.

Paraguay

FIFA Rank: 81st
Manager: Ramón Díaz (Arg)
Youngest Player: Derlis González - FC Basel (21 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Justo Villar - Colo-Colo (37 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Toluca (3 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (1953, 1979)

Paraguay hasn't won the tournament since 1973 and it sure does not look like they would be able to contend for this year's trophy either. With an ageing squad and not much star power the Paraguayan's will have to depend on precise teamwork and of course as they always do great defending. Unless they are able to put together a few surprises the likeliest scenario for Ramon Diaz's side is one of the two best 3rd place spots.

Jamaica

FIFA Rank: 65th
Manager: Winfried Schäfer (Ger)
Youngest Player: Allan Ottey - Montego Bay United (22 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Jobi McAnuff - Leyton Orient (33 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Montego Bay United, Houston Dynamo & Reading (2 players each)
Best Copa America Result: First appearance

First time participants and invitees Jamaica look like an odd team competing in this tournament. Chances for the Reggae Boys to impress are limited by the simple fact that they are competing with Argentina and Uruguay in the same group. Even facing Paraguay could be prove a difficult task for the Jamaicans, who at this point are probably just "happy to be there".



Group C:


Brazil

FIFA Rank: 5th
Manager: Dunga
Youngest Player: Marquinhos - Paris Saint-Germain (21 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Dani Alves - FC Barcelona (32 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Paris Saint-Germain (3 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (8 times, most recently in 2007)

This is Brazil's first real opportunity to regain any sort of dignity after the horrific scenes of their last two matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup which they hosted. Head coach Dunga elected to bring a star-studded roster to Chile, something Brazil hasn't always done in previous Copa America tournaments. With Colombia being their only big challenge in the group stage we should definitely see Brazil in the next round and very likely competing for the very trophy in the final match.

Colombia

FIFA Rank: 4th
Manager: José Pékerman (Arg)
Youngest Player: Cristian Bonilla - La Equidad (22 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Edwin Valencia - Santos (30 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Monterrey (2 players)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (2001)

After missing the 2014 World Cup and then having a miserable season at Manchester United it is now Radamel Falcao's time to shine. Together with Real Madrid youngster James Rodriguez and wing-man Juan Cuadrado the Colombians are looking very good and are in a good position to challenge for just their 2nd Copa America title.

Peru

FIFA Rank: 63rd
Manager: Ricardo Gareca (Arg)
Youngest Player: Yordy Reyna - Leipzig (21 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Claudio Pizarro - Bayern Munich (36 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Juan Aurich, Sporting Cristal & Universidad César Vallejo (3 players each)
Best Copa America Result: Champions (1939, 1975)

With Brazil and Colombia in the group Peru will likely look forward to their match-up with Venezuela to try to snatch a best of three 3rd place spot. Otherwise, the squad does not seem to posses any sort of firepower than may propel them past the group stages.

Venezuela

FIFA Rank: 69th
Manager: Noel Sanvicente
Youngest Player: Wuilker Faríñez - Caracas FC (17 yrs old)
Oldest Player: Juan Arango - Tijuana (35 yrs old)
Predominant Club Representation: Montego Bay United, Houston Dynamo & Reading (2 players each)
Best Copa America Result: First appearance

Unlike Peru, Venezuela seems to have come a long way in their football development and although results haven't been exactly stellar La Vinotinto seems to have a special spark about them in the last few years. Zenit St. Petersburgh striker Salomón Rondón and Genoa midfielder Tomás Rincón would have to produce a few magical performances if the team was to advance to the next round, nonetheless, a gut feeling is telling me that Venezuela will be ahead of Peru and potentially past the group stages as a best of three 3rd place team.
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