Copa America Free Bets
It's not just Euro 2016 that's going to keep us football fans busy in June, there's also the Copa America tournament. The top South American sides plus hosts USA and Haiti will be battling it out as Chile try to retain the title they won last year. The tournament usually runs ina four year cycle like the Euros, so why another tournament so quickly? Well this is the centennial year of the tournament so they could hardly miss out could they? With prolific Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on opposing teams as well as a host of other huge stars, this tournament has all the credentials to rival the Euros this summer.
The 2016 Copa America
The 2016 Copa America takes place in the USA between June 3 and 26 with the final taking place in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This will be the first time the Copa has ever taken place outside of South America with the special centenary edition throwing up yet another new factor. 16 nations will be taking part an expansion on the usual 12 with 10 from South America and six guest nations, namely USA, Haiti, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica and Mexico.
Copa America 2016 Guide
The hosts under Jurgan Klinsmann are certainly going to have their work cut out if they are to make much of a showing in front of their own supporters. They have not been in the best of form over the past year or so with a defeat to Guatemala and only managing a draw with Trinidad and Tobago in their World Cup qualifiers. They have not been dealt many favours with the draw and as a result of the competitive nature, Klinsmann and his men could well be facing an early exit.
Key man: Clint Dempsey - Despite his ageing years, the former Fulham and Tottenham man represents his sides biggest goal threat and he will have to be at his sharpest if he wants to fire the USA in to the knockout stages
Previous best: Fourth place 1995
Our verdict: Home advantage can only count for so much when facing superior opposition. The States find themselves in a tricky group and look to be facing an early exit on home soil.
After their run to the quarter finals of the World Cup in Brazil, Colombia will come in to this competition with a heightened sense of expectations. James Rodriguez emerged as one of the real stars of that competition and though he has suffered a slightly up and down season with Real Madrid, he is still the main man when it comes to his national side. With Milan striker Carlos Bacca having now fully established himself as Colombia's first choice front man, their is clear quality in the ranks and Jose Pekerman will hope for yet another impressive tournament showing from his side.
Key man: James Rodriguez - The aforementioned Rodriguez announced himself on the global stage when he was the top scorer at the last World Cup and as captain he is more than capable of reproducing those heroics this summer.
Previous best: Winners 2001
Our verdict: The strongest team in Group A from which they should emerge on top and a side that should be looking to reach the semi-finals.
One of the surprise packages of the last World Cup as they topped their group also containing the likes of England, Uruguay and Italy. They then went on to reach the semi-finals when they were only defeated on penalties by the Netherlands. They have established themselves as a side that fears nobody and under the guidance of Oscar Ramirez, they will bid to replicate their World Cup success. A side that will relish their underdog tags and one that has the quality to pull of a few surprises.
Key man: Keylor Navas - The man between the sticks looked set to leave Real Madrid after their lengthy pursuit of David De Gea last summer but after that move failed to materialise, he enjoyed a stunning season at the Bernabeu and could well lay claim to be the very best goalkeeper at the tournament.
Previous best: Quarter finals 2001 and 2004.
Our verdict: Could well follow Colombia out of the group but a likely quarter-final meeting with Brazil may well be their limitation.
Despite their lack of recognisable names, the Paraguayan's should not be underestimated and have fared well in each of their last two Copa tournaments. After reaching the final in 2011 and the semi's last year, they will be hoping to continue their strong recent record in the competition but will have to be at their best from the offset to qualify from this tricky group. Traditionally strong in defence, they will look to catch teams out on the counter-attack.
Key man: Derlis Gonzalez - Given the liklehood of Paraguay looking to catch teams on the break, the Dynamo Kiev man is likely to be instrumental to his country's chances.
Previous best: Champions 1953 and 1979
Our verdict: Will be competing with Costa Rica for the second spot out of the group but unlikely to make much progress in the knockout stages if they do make it.
Making up for the horror show of a World Cup will be firmly in the Brazil players minds and they will arrive in to this competition under enormous pressure to banish the memories. The pain will still be raw from the humiliation they suffered in front of their own supporters and now they have a chance to put things right. They will of course arrive as amongst the very favourites to go all the way but without Neymar who will instead represent them in the Olympics, will they have enough star quality?
Key man: Willian - With Neymar missing and Douglas Costa ruled out with injury, Brazil's attacking threat is likely to be carried by the Chelsea winger. He was by far the Blue's best player this season and will look to continue his impressive form this summer.
Previous best: Eight time winners - Most recently in 2007
Our verdict: Their is enough talent in the ranks to make the semi-finals but without Neymar, it is hard to envisage this Brazil side going on and winning the tournament.
Behind Brazil, Ecuador will enter the tournament as second favourites to progress to the knockout stages. The Ecuadorians have improved drastically in the past decade or so and will now look to finally make a real impact on a Copa outside of their own nation. In the South American section of the World Cup qualifiers, they have been performing well and can point to a 0-2 win away to Argentina as a sign of just what they are capable of.
Key man: Enner Valencia - The West Ham striker has not always enjoyed the best of times in east London with only temporary flashes of his ability. However he boasts a fine goal scoring record for his nation and will hope to continue that come the start of the tournament.
Previous best: Fourth place 1959 and 1993
Our verdict: Will battle Peru for a spot in the knockout stages but unlikely to go much further.
The Caribbean nation will contest in this competition for the first time in their history and find themselves as the tournaments rank outsiders. Their involvement will allow the Haitian public an opportunity to see their side take on Brazil, which is likely to be a fantastic occasion regardless of any embarrassing scoreline. In a day in age where Leicester can win the Premier League, it is difficult to dismiss anything in football but Haiti look likely to be the whipping boys in the group.
Key man: Johnny Placide - The team's goalkeeper and captain has had a long career plying his trade in French football and his experience and authority between the sticks is likely to be put to the test.
Previous best: N/A
Our verdict: It's hard to see anything other than four defeats with Haiti conceding a fair few goals
Along with Ecuador, Peru will fancy their chances of following Brazil out of the group. After the departure from the international scene of a number of experienced heads such as Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfan and Juan Manuel Vargas, the squad is now largely compromised of players playing in Peru. After finishing in third place at last year's tournament, the Peruvians will be keen to replicate that success although with much changed personnel it could well prove tricky.
Key man: Paolo Guerrero - The Flamengo striker was one of the stars in last year's tournament and his four goals saw him finish as the tournaments joint top goalscorer.
Previous best - Winners 1939 and 1975
Our verdict: They will contest second spot with Ecuador although with the changes from last years squad, we expect they may well just fall short.
The Mexicans will come in to this tournament on US soil with a fair bit of confidence. Likely to be backed by a droves of support, El Tricolor are likely to resemble a home team in many of their games and looking at this group they will also have the footballing ability to back it up. There is a good balance between youth and experience in the squad and after success in last year's Gold Cup, they will now want to show what they can do on the bigger stage.
Key man: Javier Hernandez - After being deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester United, Chicarito has re-built his career at Bayer Leverkusen. He will be one of the favourites for the golden boot award after scoring 26 goals in total for his club this season.
Previous best: Runners-up 1993 and 2001
Our verdict: The Mexicans should go through alongside Uruguay but with tough opponents from Group D lying in wake, the quarter finals may be as far as they can go.
Sure to be one of the contenders for this tournament, the Uruguayan's are actually priced generously with the bookmakers. They could well prove to be a smart punt and looking at some of the personnel amongst their squad, it is easy to make a case for them. Diego Godin will marshall the backline alongside his Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez whilst upfront the deadly duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani should give opposition defences nightmares.
Key man: Luis Suarez - The Barcelona man has enjoyed a phenomenal season and having missed last year's competition with suspension, he will be eager to make amends. An injury worry did throw in to doubt his participation but if he is fit and firing, then Uruguay really are a side to watch.
Previous best: 15 time winners - Most recently in 2011
Our verdict: The semi-finals are well within reach for La Celeste and if Luis Suarez can carry his club form in to the tournament, then you wouldn't bet against them winning it.
The Reggae Boys were very impressive in their first ever showing in this tournament last year. Though they lost all of their games, each came by a 1-0 scoreline and they were up against Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. A run to the Gold Cup final will also have been a huge boost to their confidence and they look likely to be just as competitive again this summer. Whilst they may well come up short, they will not be the whipping boys as many expect.
Key man: Wes Morgan - Fresh from his heroics with Leicester in the Premier League, the towering central defender will hope to be equally as much of a defensive rock as he is for his club side.
Previous best: Group Stage 2015
Our verdict: Bottom of the group but will not go down without a fight.
Whilst they continue to struggle when it comes to World Cup qualification, Venezuela's recent record in this competition should give them cause for optimism. They finished fourth in 2011 as well as making the quarter finals back in 2007. However their form has not been particularly encouraging ahead of this summer's tournament as they find themselves bottom of the South American World Cup qualifying group.
Key man: Salomon Rondon - The West Brom striker may not be the most prolific of strikers but his build means that he can be a real handful.
Previous best: Fourth 2011
Our verdict: Will be hoping for victory over Jamaica to avoid the bottom spot in the group.
The favourites to win this tournament and it is not particularly hard to see why. A star studded line-up especially amongst the forwards, the problem as ever for the Argies is finding a balanced side that can get the most out of their wealth of attacking options. The will want to erase the pain of losing in last year's final and if they do click as a team then they will look well placed to end a long overdue success in this competition.
Key man: Lionel Messi - Who else? The captain has previously been accused of not bringing his Barcelona form to the national team but Messi will be desperate to make a significant impact on the international scene.
Previous best: 14 time winners - Most recently in 1993
Our verdict: A wait of over 20 years for success in the Copa is simply too long and we think Argentina will end the drought this summer.
Under the stewardship of Jorge Sampaoli, Chile hosted and won this tournament for the first time last year. Tactically excellent, they were able to get the most from their key men and eventually triumphed over Argentina in the final. With Sampaoli now departed they will look to defend their crown with the same successful formula from last year still in place. Just how well they will fare remains to be seen but there are certainly signs that they can once again challenge.
Key man: Arturo Vidal - The intensity to which Chile play requires a dominate, authoritative figure in the middle of the pitch and that is exactly what the Bayern Munich star is.
Previous best: Winners 2015
Our verdict: Will follow Argentina out of the group but with a potential clash with Uruguay to come, their reign may well come to an end in the quarter finals.
The CONCACAF nation are renowned as a well, drilled organised unit who on their day can cause the big boys a few problems. They are physical and will not think twice about putting their foot in to ruffle the feathers of their opponents. A number of the key players of old in the squad are getting on a bit but their knowhow and experience should prove crucial.
Key man: Luis Tejada - The nation's all-time leading goalscorer is likely to be competing in his major tournament swan-song and will look to add to his tally of 42 international goals
Previous best: N/A
Our verdict: It's between them and Bolivia in the battle to avoid finishing bottom of the group
It is very unlikely that Bolivia will post much of a threat to either Argentina or Chile and instead they will to impress on the big stage in their encounter with Panama. Their squad is almost exclusively made up from home-based players and they are devoid of any names familiar to even the most hardened of European football fans. They hardly come in to this competition in the best shape either having lost in nine of their last 10 outings.
Key man: Juan Carlos Arce - The winger cum striker is his country's most prolific goal threat in the squad with eight goals to his name and will be looking to add to that tally if his side can cause a few shocks this summer.
Previous best: Winners 1963
Our verdict: A straight shootout with Panama to avoid the wooden spoon of finishing bottom of the group
Quarter Final Draw
Winner Group A v Runner-up Group B
Winner Group B v Runner-up Group A
Winner Group C v Runner-up Group D
Winner Group D v Runner-up Group C
How to Use Your Free Bets
There are plenty of opportunities to use a Free Bet on the Copa America:
- Winner of the tournament
- Group Winners
- Individual match results
- Top goalscorer
- Highest scoring team
- Team specials
- Player of the tournament
Copa America History
The tournament has had several names in the past and was first held in 1916 with the current name being used since 1975. This year's tournament was due to be held in Brazil but with their hosting the Confederation Cup, World Cup and Olympics in 2013,2014 and 2016, they swapped hosting duties with Chile and will now be hosting the 2019 tournament.
- Uruguay have the most tournament wins with 15, last winning the tournament in 2011
- Argentina have 14 wins but none since 1993.
- Brazil have won the tournament on eight occasions including four of the last seven.
- Chile won last year, the latest host to win the tournament but the first since Uruguay won in 1995
Today's Football Tip
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