Teamwork makes the dream work

2024 Copa América group previews: USMNT, Argentina, extra

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It is time for the 2024 Copa América. With the United States because the host, the subsequent few weeks will probably be jam-packed with soccer as North American sides tackle Central and South America groups in a bid to change into one of the best group within the area. The USMNT boasts loads of expertise with Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Yunus Musah, amongst others, however can they upset worldwide heavyweights Brazil or present World Cup titleholders Argentina?

It may also be Lionel Messi‘s final main event because the 36-year-old enters the twilight of a glowing profession. Might he assist his nation to back-to-back Copa América titles? Can striker Santiago Giménez lead Mexico to a deep run within the event? In the meantime, Brazil’s Vinícius Júnior, arguably one of the best winger on the planet, will appeal to loads of consideration as he appears to change into the primary man for his nation.

It is all up for grabs, and although there are clear favorites, shock outcomes are sure to occur in worldwide soccer. ESPN previews every of the Copa América’s 16 groups within the event, with all the pieces it’s good to know in regards to the sides, break up into their teams.


Group A

Nickname: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue)
FIFA rank: 1
Supervisor: Lionel Scaloni
Report in previous 12 months: 12W-0D-0L
Group stage fixtures: Canada (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET); Chile (June 25, 9 p.m. ET); Peru (June 29, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +175

Cannot-miss star: Ángel Di María. Lionel Messi can be too apparent — so it’s time to pay tribute to Di Maria, who retires from worldwide soccer after this event. The 36-year-old will probably be badly missed. Di Maria is that rarest of issues — a real world-class participant who appears with out ego, persistently doing what is required to enhance the group. He has been key to all Argentina’s latest triumphs.

Breakout candidate: Valentin Carboni. The 19-year-old appears most definitely to emerge because the Di Maria substitute. Alejandro Garnacho has extra tempo, however the lanky left-footed Carboni has enchanted the teaching workers along with his elegant high quality, sufficiently versatile to cowl a lot of attacking positions. Born in Buenos Aires, however used to play for Italy at under-17 degree.

Why they will not win all of it: It’s hardly a shock that Argentina are on the prime of the World Cup qualification desk. They have been the one group that went into the competitors as a consolidated unit. The Copa offers the others an opportunity to catch up. Argentina, in the meantime, may need been treading water. Their friendlies this 12 months have been too simple, instructing them little. And the large query stays unresolved: how lengthy can the group go on with its mannequin of Messi plus 10? Scaloni flirted with resignation final November, virtually definitely provoked, at the very least partially, by a glimpse of the top of the Messi period. A lot of the previous 18 months have felt like a protracted lap of honor after the triumph in Qatar.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Positioned in by far the best half of the draw, it should take a significant shock for Argentina to not attain the ultimate. Because the video games change into extra aggressive, an fascinating dilemma emerges. Does the standing of world and Copa champions imply that the strain is off? Or would possibly the actual fact of getting one thing to lose show nerve-wracking? Argentina go into the event as justified favorites, and there will probably be moments when their possession-based soccer delights followers, with the rhythm all of a sudden switching as they bear down on objective. And no matter occurs, they need to emerge from the Copa with one facet of their 2026 World Cup problem enhanced. A collapse on the coronary heart of the protection so almost price them the title in Qatar. The Copa is a transparent alternative to consolidate Lisandro Martínez within the again 4. — Tim Vickery

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1:30

Messi: There’s not lots of time left in my profession

Lionel Messi says he is having fun with enjoying soccer extra as a result of he is aware of “there’s not lots of time left” in his profession.


Nickname: Canucks
FIFA rank: 49
Supervisor: Jesse Marsch
Report in previous 12 months: 4W-3D-5L
Group stage fixtures: Argentina (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET); Peru (June 25, 6 p.m. ET); Chile (June 29, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +6600

Cannot-miss star: Jonathan David. Alphonso Davies is often penciled in right here, however David had the higher membership season, scoring 26 objectives in all competitions for Ligue 1 aspect Lille. Davies can also be slated to play left-back, which implies his affect may be muted towards the robust trio of South American groups — beginning with Argentina — that comprise Group A. If Canada is to get out of the group stage, David will have to be banging within the objectives.

Breakout candidate: Moise Bombito. The again line has lengthy been certainly one of Canada’s largest weaknesses, however Bombito confirmed nicely in two latest friendlies towards the Netherlands and France along with his passing and pace. The Colorado Rapids defender has a chance to stake his declare to a beginning spot and will show to be an unlikely catalyst for Canada getting out of the group.

Why they will not win all of it: There simply hasn’t been sufficient time for brand new supervisor Jesse Marsch — who was employed final month — to have applied his high-pressing system and generate some cohesion. Granted, Canada did file a reputable 0-0 draw towards France, this after a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands through which the Reds performed nicely for stretches however in the end ran out of fuel. Whether or not that effort towards France may be replicated whereas producing a constant assault stays to be seen. All informed, the calls for of Marsch’s model, in addition to a expertise hole when in comparison with the hemisphere’s greatest groups, make it too massive of an ask for Canada to return near being a contender.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Getting out of the group should be the first objective right here. On paper that is definitely doable, particularly given the tempo of gamers similar to Davies and Tajon Buchanan. Whereas Argentina are heavy favorites to prime Group A, Chile and Peru are beatable. Each groups have struggled in South American World Cup qualifying, occupying eighth and tenth place respectively, however they will not be pushovers both. That may require limiting the injury within the group stage opener towards the reigning World Cup and Copa America champions, after which grinding out ends in the final two video games. This event will probably be largely about laying foundations forward of the 2026 World Cup. — Jeff Carlisle


Nickname: La Roja (The Pink One)
FIFA rank: 42
Supervisor: Ricardo Gareca
Report in previous 12 months: 5W-3D-4L
Group stage fixtures: Peru (Friday, 8 p.m. ET); Argentina (June 25, 9 p.m. ET); Canada (June 29, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +3300

Cannot-miss star: Alexis Sánchez. With extra caps (163) and objectives (51) for Chile than some other participant, Sanchez is eager to level out that at 35 years previous he isn’t a spent power. Enthused by the challenge of coach Ricardo Gareca, Sanchez is buzzing round behind the centre-forward, extra concerned nowadays in organising the play than ending off the strikes.

Breakout candidate: Darío Osorio. After an extended wait for one more celebrity, there’s a cautious sense of optimism across the 20-year-old, a leggy left-footed winger who likes to chop in from the best. He had a nice season in Denmark and scored a splendid debut worldwide objective towards France in March, however is combating to shake off a late season damage.

Why they will not win all of it: Chile’s second recreation is towards Argentina in New Jersey — identical venue and identical opponents because the 2016 Copa last win, the best second within the historical past of the nationwide group. Eight years in the past looks like gentle years in the past. Chile didn’t make it to both of the 2 subsequent World Cups and have made a nasty begin on the best way to 2026 — therefore the latest change of coach. Theirs has been a typical South American downside: a drought of expertise following a golden technology. The method of renewing the group has been extraordinarily weak.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Chile have pinned their religion within the “Gareca issue” — the hope that Argentine coach Gareca can reproduce what he did with Peru and construct a group that provides as much as greater than the sum of its elements. The brand new man has definitely made a promising begin, with objectives and good performances in his first three friendlies. Can this be continued now that the aggressive video games have come? The group appears simple sufficient, so Chile can count on a quarterfinal, though a semifinal would appear to be the restrict of their possibilities. The principle intention is to construct momentum for the approaching six rounds of World Cup qualifiers. — Vickery


Nickname: La Blanquirroja (The White and Pink)
FIFA rank: 32
Supervisor: Jorge Fossati
Report in previous 12 months: 4W-3D-5L
Group stage fixtures: Chile (Friday, 8 p.m. ET); Canada (June 25, 6 p.m. ET); Argentina (June 29, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +5000

Cannot-miss star: Pedro Gallese. Peru just isn’t identified for producing goalkeepers, however they are often happy with Gallese. Over a decade within the nationwide group and with greater than 100 caps, the Orlando Metropolis keeper has been dependable and infrequently excellent. He would stroll right into a greatest all-time Peru XI.

Breakout candidate: Piero Quispe. He is is a bit, skipping, give-and-go midfielder who was Peru’s participant of the 12 months in 2023 and has since made an encouraging begin in Mexico. Some say that he’s an excessive amount of of a light-weight for the highest degree. The Copa is an opportunity for him to show them fallacious and launch his worldwide profession.

Why they will not win all of it: For a number of years, former coach Ricardo Gareca carried out a minor miracle with Peru, constructing a group that added as much as greater than the sum of its elements. Submit-Gareca, issues returned to regular for a rustic that has gone 11 years with out certainly one of its golf equipment reaching the knockout stage of the Copa Libertadores, and which isn’t producing many profitable exports. Peru lie backside of the 2026 World Cup qualification desk with only one objective scored in six video games. And midfielder Renato Tapia, in all probability the group’s greatest outfield participant, walked out following a row with the native federation. Every thing appears stacked towards the Peruvians.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: After a number of light friendlies, these would be the first aggressive video games within the reign of the brand new coach, Uruguayan Jorge Fossati, who has instantly implanted his trademark three centre-back system. Fossati will in all probability attempt to deal with defensive solidity, and belief that intelligent attacking midfielder Edison Flores can buzz successfully across the centre-forward. The opening recreation with neighbors and bitter rivals Chile is essential. In an ideal world, this Copa will probably be to Fossati what the 2016 model within the USA was to Gareca. Eight years in the past, Peru travelled north in obvious disarray, however in the middle of the competitors discovered the group and the momentum that took them to Russia 2018 and really almost to Qatar. — Vickery


Group B

Nickname: La Tricolor (The Tricolors)
FIFA rank: 31
Supervisor: Félix Sánchez Bas
Report in previous 12 months: 8W-2D-3L
Group stage fixtures: Venezuela (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET); Jamaica (June 26, 6 p.m. ET); Mexico (June 30, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +1800

Cannot-miss star: Moisés Caicedo. He has been bestriding the Ecuador midfield like a prince since he was an adolescent, and at 22 he already has greater than 40 caps to his title. He’s on the coronary heart of all the pieces that Ecuador do, successful the ball, driving ahead, linking the play with fast passes and working past the strikers to shoot at objective.

Breakout candidate: Kendry Paez. He was making and scoring objectives in World Cup qualification months earlier than his seventeenth birthday. A left-footed attacking midfielder with the air of an Ecuadorian Phil Foden, he is filled with shock pictures and passes at intelligent angles. That is an eagerly awaited first senior event for the Chelsea-bound wonderkid.

Why they will not win all of it: Regardless of a strong begin to their 2026 qualification marketing campaign, strain is mounting on Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, who was accountable for Qatar within the final World Cup. Some even speculate that this event would possibly function a referendum on his job safety. Considered one of his issues is that the wealth of assets at centre-back just isn’t matched by these at centre-forward. The group are extremely depending on all-time prime scorer Enner Valencia, who was overplayed throughout 2022 and 2023, and has since been paying the worth.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Expectations in Ecuador are fluctuating wildly, from hopes of a semifinal to fears of group stage elimination. Each are attainable, and many hangs on the opening conflict with Venezuela. Decide up the factors there, keep away from Argentina within the quarters and a spot within the final 4 is inside the grasp of a younger, bodily imposing group who will not be simple to play towards. The important thing query is whether or not they can rating sufficient objectives, given their lack of depth at centre-forward and the absence of the sturdy, fast and direct wingers who’ve usually been a function of latest Ecuador sides. — Vickery


Nickname: Reggae Boyz
FIFA rank: 55
Supervisor: Heimir Hallgrímsson
Report in previous 12 months: 12W-4D-5L
Group stage fixtures: Mexico (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET); Ecuador (June 26, 6 p.m. ET); Venezuela (June 30, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +15000

Cannot-miss star: Michail Antonio. With Leon Bailey out of the image, on paper, Antonio is the star. When wholesome, the West Ham United striker is sensible within the air and a intelligent dribbler. So why simply on paper? That is as a result of the England native hasn’t solidified himself as a dependable big-game objective scorer for Jamaica since his 2021 debut, however that might change this summer season.

Breakout candidate: Shamar Nicholson. A completely match and accessible Jamaica roster seemingly would not have Nicholson within the XI, however that does not deny the truth that he is been a useful striker. Quickly to be heading again to Spartak Moscow after a mortgage with Clermont, the 27-year-old has been lights out for Jamaica with eight objectives in his previous seven video games.

Why they will not win all of it: Accidents have critically harm their possibilities, as seen in latest World Cup qualifiers the place they narrowly sneaked previous Concacaf minnows such because the Dominican Republic and Dominica by means of one-goal margins. As arguably the weakest group of their group — and with a worrisome Copa América previous that options six losses in six video games — one can argue that Jamaica could not have sufficient to even get out of the group stage.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Certain, Jamaica might be seen because the worst of their group, however however, the truth is that there is not a major distinction between all 4 groups. If they will at the very least steal some extent from Mexico of their first recreation, and if Nicholson continues his spectacular kind, there is no cause they cannot qualify for the knockout spherical. That stated, there are many questions concerning their roster, seemingly leaving them at third or fourth in Group B. — Cesar Hernandez


Nickname: El Tri (The Tricolor)
FIFA rank: 14
Supervisor: Jaime Lozano
Report in previous 12 months: 11W-4D-8L
Group stage fixtures: Jamaica (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET); Venezuela (June 26, 9 p.m. ET); Ecuador (June 30, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +1200

Cannot-miss star: Edson Álvarez. To cite West Ham supporters: “Midfield maestro, from Mexico, Edson ole ole ole.” For membership and nation, Alvarez is a rock within the coronary heart of the XI, typically doing the soiled work with essential interventions and crunching tackles that cease opposition. At his greatest, the participant is able to producing defensive midfield masterclasses along with his aggressive work fee and stamina.

Breakout candidate: Santiago Giménez. Just lately ending the Eredivisie season with 23 objectives, the younger Feyenoord striker is a darkish horse candidate for Copa América’s Golden Boot award. Greater than only a sturdy objective scorer with stunning acceleration, the 23-year-old can also be a wonderful passer within the last third. Might a efficiency result in a summer season transfer to an even bigger membership?

Why they will not win all of it: With a watch towards the 2026 World Cup, Mexico are presently in the course of a generational change. When the event kicks off, many followers will probably be stunned to study that high-profile veterans similar to Hirving Lozano, Guillermo Ochoa and Raúl Jiménez have been left off of the roster. Throughout a part of that course of, the most recent losses towards Uruguay and Brazil have additional strengthened the notion that head coach Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano and his males are nonetheless a piece in progress.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Mexico ought to end within the prime two of their group, particularly with their standing because the (slight) favorites among the many 4. Assuming no early hiccups and {that a} backup goalkeeper is ready to fill the immense gloves left by Ochoa, Mexico’s knockout spherical destiny in all probability will probably be determined by if/once they doubtlessly meet Argentina. In the event that they meet within the quarters or semis, that is seemingly the place they will exit. No Argentina matchup? It then would not be a stretch to see them as finalists. If Alvarez and Gimenez dwell as much as their expectations, Mexico might make a deep run. — Hernandez


Nickname: La Vinotinto (The Wine Pink)
FIFA rank: 54
Supervisor: Fernando Batista
Report in previous 12 months: 4W-4D-3L
Group stage fixtures: Ecuador (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET); Mexico (June 26, 9 p.m. ET); Jamaica (June 30, 8 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +6600

Cannot-miss star: Salomón Rondón. The tragedy of the Qatar World Cup qualifiers was that Rondon was both in China or England, and rules stopped him going dwelling throughout the COVID pandemic. Now their massive centre-forward and the reference level of the assault is out there, and he’ll wish to use this Copa to point out that he’s not in bodily decline.

Breakout candidate: Kervin Andrade. There are excessive hopes of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Andrade, a squat little determine with shut management and a rocket shot who’s making a great impression in Brazil with Fortaleza. He was referred to as up this 12 months to the Venezuela squad and is more likely to be gently launched throughout the course of the event.

Why they will not win all of it: Venezuela may cause issues to stronger sides, however they run into the issue of the underdog — in the event that they cost ahead, their defensive unit can look weak, however hanging again can go away them too timid and passive. It isn’t a straightforward steadiness for them to strike, and there would appear to be virtually no likelihood of them discovering the best mix over the course of six video games. They’re the one aspect within the competitors who’ve but to play in a World Cup, and a Venezuelan triumph on July 14 can be one of many largest shocks in Copa historical past.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: For Venezuela, all the pieces is geared round qualifying for the 2026 World Cup and making their World Cup debut. The 1-1 draw away to Brazil final October was an enormous morale increase, and Argentine coach Fernando Batista will probably be delighted that his aspect have conceded simply three objectives within the six qualifying rounds. The precedence on this Copa, then, is to emerge with religion intact. There aren’t any actual hopes of successful, and even a repeat of 2011’s semifinal can be seen as a bonus. A quarterfinal can be good, however a very powerful factor is that Venezuela emerge from the competitors assured that they are going to be again in North America two years from now. — Vickery


Group C

Nickname: La Verde (The Inexperienced)
FIFA rank: 85
Supervisor: Antônio Carlos Zago
Report in previous 12 months: 2W-1D-11L
Group stage fixtures: U.S. (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET); Uruguay (June 27, 9 p.m. ET); Panama (July 1, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +15000

Cannot-miss star: Ramiro Vaca. He moved again dwelling after failing to make a lot of an impression in Belgium with Beerschot, however he is a vital participant within the nationwide group, bringing high quality to the midfield along with his vary of passes, his well-struck pictures and his set items. Vaca turns 25 throughout the competitors.

Breakout candidate: Diego Medina. He made a great impression in the beginning of the 12 months within the South American Underneath-23 championships as an aggressive and athletic right-back. He’s completely satisfied within the wing-back position if Bolívia go together with a again three, and can look to consolidate his place within the aspect throughout the Copa.

Why they will not win all of it: Thirty years in the past, Bolívia went to the U.S. for the World Cup with a technology of expertise that they’ve been totally unable to exchange. The latest retirement from worldwide soccer of all-time prime scorer Marcelo Martins Moreno has worsened issues nonetheless additional. After final week’s 3-1 defeat to Ecuador, a neighborhood newspaper delivered a damning verdict, declaring three areas the place the group urgently wants to enhance: defending, retaining possession and organising possibilities.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Bolívia are continuously provided as much as the hosts within the opening recreation in a transfer aimed to get the event off to a great begin. Usually they’ve refused to observe the script, rising to the event and holding out for a draw. However hopes will not be excessive this time. There was optimism a 12 months again, after some good ends in friendlies, however all that was immediately swept away when World Cup qualification obtained underway. Following a disastrous begin, Argentine coach Gustavo Costas gave technique to Brazil’s Antonio Carlos Zago, with out a lot enchancment. Qualification for the 2026 World Cup, nevertheless, remains to be attainable — Bolívia all the time look to select up factors on the excessive altitude of La Paz. Precedence on this Copa is for a younger aspect to emerge from the competitors with shallowness intact. — Vickery


Nickname: La Marea Roja (The Pink Tide)
FIFA rank: 45
Supervisor: Thomas Christiansen
Report in previous 12 months: 14W-2D-6L
Group stage fixtures: Uruguay (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET); USA (June 27, 6 p.m. ET); Bolívia (July 1, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +15000

Cannot-miss star: Michael Murillo. The pacey Marseille fullback will probably be a handful for opponents who should cope with his take-ons and affect within the attacking third. Wonderful within the air and in addition able to find the again of the web, Murillo is about to be one of many leaders on both finish of the pitch.

Breakout candidate: Adalberto Carrasquilla. After incomes the MVP award for 2023’s Concacaf Gold Cup, can Carrasquilla acquire even larger reward on the Copa América? Effectively-rounded within the midfield but additionally a risk when carrying the ball ahead, the Houston Dynamo participant will simply be one to observe. It would not be a shock if a European group took an opportunity on the 25-year-old after the event.

Why they will not win all of it: Credit score must be given to the gradual enhancements made by supervisor Thomas Christiansen. The coach and his gamers punched above their weight with a spot on the 2023 Gold Cup last and earned a good place inside the prime 4 of the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League. However towards CONMEBOL opponents? That is a troublesome ask, and Christiansen does not have the depth of expertise wanted to go far — not to mention probably making it out of the group stage.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Stranger issues have occurred in event soccer, however there aren’t very many eventualities through which the U.S. and Uruguay aren’t within the prime two of Group C. Because of the luck of the draw, Panama simply occur to be in a gaggle with two groups which might be within the dialog of darkish horses.

Third or fourth of their group is the expectation, but when they will get at the very least one shock consequence vs the U.S. or Uruguay, Panama may need an surprising combating likelihood to proceed their run once they shut out the group stage vs. a questionable Bolívia. — Hernandez


Nickname: La Celeste (The Sky Blue)
FIFA rank: 15
Supervisor: Marcelo Bielsa
Report in previous 12 months: 8W-3D-2L
Group stage fixtures: Panama (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET); Bolívia (June 27, 9 p.m. ET); USA (July 1, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +500

Cannot-miss star: Federico Valverde. He’s the usually ignored quiet power of the Actual Madrid group, balancing out the aspect along with his spirit of sacrifice and extraordinary lung energy. With Uruguay, he’s free to shout louder. His midfield dynamism is on the coronary heart of the aspect, working field to field and unleashing his ferocious pictures.

Breakout candidate: Facundo Pellistri. Loaned out first to Alaves after which to Granada, Pellistri has been unusually uncared for by Manchester United however has loved a nice time with Uruguay. The 22-year-old may need been their simplest attacking participant within the Qatar World Cup as a pacy proper winger with the imaginative and prescient of a playmaker.

Why they will not win all of it: Bielsa’s soccer is notoriously excessive tempo and excessive power. Can the group preserve the required depth on the finish of the European season? This might be particularly tough within the intense summer season warmth of among the Copa venues. As Leeds United followers will recall, when the plan goes fallacious, a Bielsa group can go away itself extraordinarily open, and within the hardest half of the draw, the place there’s much less margin for error, this might be an issue.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: It’s simple to see why Bielsa was interested in the Uruguay job. With the previous technology leaving the scene after Qatar, he had a dynamic new technology to work with; a formidable backbone of Ronald Araújo, Jose Gimenez, Manuel Ugarte, Valverde and Darwin Núñez, plus the wingers Uruguay often produces and Bielsa loves a lot. They ended final 12 months as South America’s in-form aspect, comfortably beating Brazil and successful away to Argentina, and the latest destruction of Mexico has merely confirmed that impression. Nobody will relish dealing with them — and 100 years after Uruguay’s historic Olympic gold medal, they’re candidates for a title as soon as extra. –– Vickery


Nickname: Stars & Stripes
FIFA rank: 11
Supervisor: Gregg Berhalter
Report in previous 12 months: 11W-2D-5L
Group stage fixtures: Bolívia (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET); Panama (June 27, 6 p.m. ET); Uruguay (July 1, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +1200

Cannot-miss star: Christian Pulisic. Pulisic has lengthy been the face of the USMNT, and he largely delivered on the 2022 World Cup, scoring the sport winner towards Iran that put the U.S. by means of to the knockout phases. Now he’s coming off arguably his greatest membership season, having scored 12 objectives and added eight assists for AC Milan.

Breakout candidate: Giovanni Reyna. Reyna is a identified commodity amongst U.S. followers, however his membership profession has stalled attributable to a mixture of damage and poor kind. He has shined in latest competitions with the U.S., nevertheless, and was the Participant of the Match on the Concacaf Nations League this previous March. The Copa is a giant step up, although. If the U.S. do make a deep run, they will want Reyna at his greatest enjoying in an attacking midfield position and offering the possibility creation the group wants.

Why they will not win all of it: The 2022 World Cup revealed that the U.S. struggled mightily with likelihood creation, ending within the backside half in xG each amongst groups that reached the knockout rounds (tied for twelfth) and for the event as a complete (twenty third out of 32). Have the U.S. improved since then? Robust to say. Their solely match since then towards a non-Concacaf group ranked fiftieth or larger was a 3-1 dwelling loss to Germany through which the guests have been far superior. Till the U.S. ship towards a prime opponent, there will probably be doubts that their assault is sweet sufficient to push the event hosts into the elite.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: The U.S. have gone about managing expectations for the Copa in an odd method, speaking in regards to the alternative in entrance of them whereas on the identical time talking of how the World Cup is the larger precedence. In a gaggle that includes Bolívia, Panama and Uruguay, the U.S. will probably be anticipated to progress. Elimination within the group stage can be appeared upon — justifiably — as a colossal failure, and put supervisor Berhalter’s standing beneath risk. If the U.S. do progress, a possible matchup with Brazil or Colombia awaits within the quarterfinals, the place the USMNT can be an underdog towards both aspect. The U.S. not too long ago have been thrashed 5-1 by Colombia earlier than securing a reputable 1-1 draw towards Brazil. Getting previous both of these groups appears past the U.S. in the intervening time. The play of Reyna and oft-injured holding midfielder Tyler Adams will probably be vital to the U.S. group’s possibilities. — Carlisle

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0:58

Why Gomez is preaching warning for USMNT towards South American groups

Herculez Gomez warns the USMNT to not count on simple video games towards South American groups going into Copa America.


Group D

Nickname: Seleção Canarinha (Canary Squad)
FIFA rank: 5
Supervisor: Dorival Júnior
Report in previous 12 months: 5W-3D-4L
Group stage fixtures: Costa Rica (Monday, 9 p.m. ET); Paraguay (June 28, 9 p.m. ET); Colombia (July 2, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +225

Cannot-miss star: Vinícius Júnior. Within the Qatar World Cup, Vinicius was the newcomer who had solely not too long ago pressured his method into the group. Issues have modified. He’s now Brazil’s most harmful attacking participant, and to his gorgeous wing play he has added the capability to function extra centrally. event might seal the Ballon D’Or this 12 months.

Breakout candidate: Endrick. The stocky, left-footed Endrick, who turns 18 in July, got here off the bench in three consecutive video games this 12 months to attain three objectives, all of them essential, all of them in several types. The expertise of the Actual Madrid-bound prodigy is such that everybody will wish to see how he will get on in his debut event.

Why they will not win all of it: After a disastrous 2023 for the group, new coach Dorival Junior is trying to regular the ship. The Copa is his aggressive debut, and on the proof of the primary 4 friendlies, the group have but to recuperate the defensive solidity that was an indicator of the 2016-2022 Tite period. With Brazil in by far probably the most tough half of the draw, they’ll absolutely be examined as they undergo the competitors, and it is going to be fascinating to learn the way a younger aspect responds beneath strain.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: After successful 4 Copas in 5 between 1997 and 2007, Brazil have gained solely one of many previous 5 — and that was on dwelling soil. Even so, they’re contenders for this title. In full circulation they are often an exhilarating sight, and if Vini Junior, Rodrygo and firm may be nicely backed up by the likes of Alisson, Marquinhos and Bruno Guimarães, then they’ll take some stopping. The prospect of a semifinal towards Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay is deliciously attractive. No matter occurs, Brazil ought to emerge from the event having put 2023 behind them and able to put a swift finish to any doubts about their presence within the subsequent World Cup. — Vickery


Nickname: Los Cafeteros (The Coffeemakers)
FIFA rank: 12
Supervisor: Néstor Lorenzo
Report in previous 12 months: 11W-3D-0L
Group stage fixtures: Paraguay (Monday, 6 p.m. ET); Costa Rica (June 28, 6 p.m. ET); Brazil (July 2, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +1000

Cannot-miss star: Luis Díaz. The Liverpool winger is now the undisputed king of the group, particularly after these two objectives that introduced a primary ever World Cup qualification win over Brazil final November, simply days after his father had been free of a kidnap. He’ll lower in from the left and infrequently wander throughout the attacking line.

Breakout candidate: Richard Ríos. He was an unknown enjoying futsal in Brazil the place he was found and reworked right into a dynamic a part of the Palmeiras midfield that gained final 12 months’s league title. The 24-year-old was efficiently launched to the nationwide group this 12 months and highlighted his worth with a primary objective for Colombia within the 5-1 rout of the USA.

Why they will not win all of it: The lengthy unbeaten run beneath coach Nestor Lorenzo is a trigger for concern for anybody who has adopted the historical past of the Colombian nationwide group. Their followers will probably be out in power, and expectations are excessive, however coping with euphoria is significant in event soccer, and this has typically been an issue. Older supporters will recall that 30 years in the past Colombia went to the World Cup within the USA on a run of 1 defeat in 33 video games — and that story resulted in tragedy with a gaggle stage exit. In by far the harder half of the draw, there are many alternatives for his or her Copa marketing campaign to go fallacious.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: Lorenzo was an impressed alternative to educate the aspect. The Argentine was a long-term assistant to Jose Pekerman, who took Colombia to the World Cups of 2014 and ’18, and has an undoubted aptitude for the highest job. Lorenzo’s groups is nicely constructed, with attacker James Rodríguez free to drift in a aspect that’s in any other case extremely structured. They know the place they search to win the ball, both sitting deep with their traces compact or urgent excessive. A attainable downside — and right here the 5-1 win over the USA may be misleading — is an absence of objectives. It was the rationale they missed the Qatar World Cup, and though they’re off to a sound begin within the 2026 qualifiers they’ve solely six objectives in six video games. However the semifinals definitely seem like a practical goal. — Vickery


Nickname: Los Ticos (The Ticos)
FIFA rank: 52
Supervisor: Gustavo Alfaro
Report in previous 12 months: 7W-2D-8L
Group stage fixtures: Brazil (Monday, 9 p.m. ET); Colombia (June 28, 6 p.m. ET); Paraguay (July 2, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +8000

Cannot-miss star: Francisco Calvo. No Keylor Navas? No downside. Following the retirement of the long-lasting goalkeeper, the captain’s armband has been in protected fingers with Calvo in June’s wins in World Cup qualifiers. Forceful in his defensive skills but additionally with a watch for lengthy passes, the presence of the FC Juarez defender will probably be extremely vital this summer season.

Breakout candidate: Brandon Aguilera. Costa Rica’s newest No. 10 wasn’t a veteran celebrity, however as an alternative, a flexible 20-year-old Nottingham Forest participant who simply wrapped up a brief League One mortgage. Incomes an help in his final Costa Rica look, the midfielder nonetheless has a lot to show and is not a assured starter, however there is a cause he made his Premier League debut in January.

Why they will not win all of it: Aguilera is a younger participant to control, as is Manfred Ugalde up prime, however it’s tough to see the 2 gamers and their teammates going far with out the insurance coverage plan of Navas in web. The goalkeeper was a literal savior between the sticks, and whereas Costa Rica’s roster can seemingly maintain their very own with out Navas towards Concacaf opposition, the identical cannot be stated once you throw CONMEBOL into the combination as nicely.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: World Cup qualifying is off to a fantastic begin they usually have some future stars to stay up for, and but, on the Copa América, Costa Rica face the unenviable activity of attempting to halt Brazil and Colombia in Group D. To make issues harder, these will probably be their first two opponents, probably leaving them with a comfort match towards Paraguay to shut out the group stage. The consensus is that Costa Rica will undergo an early exit, though it is a good time to remind everybody that we simply surpassed the 10-year anniversary of an identical Group D dialog on the 2014 World Cup when Costa Rica completed first forward of Uruguay, Italy and England. — Hernandez


Nickname: Albirroja (The White and Pink)
FIFA rank: 56
Supervisor: Daniel Garnero
Report in previous 12 months: 3W-4D-4L
Group stage fixtures: Colombia (Monday, 6 p.m. ET); Brazil (June 28, 9 p.m. ET); Costa Rica (July 2, 9 p.m. ET)
ESPN BET odds to win Copa 2024: +6600

Cannot-miss star: Miguel Almiron. With league titles in Paraguay, Argentina and the USA plus greater than 5 seasons within the Premier League, Almiron is Paraguay’s major star. However at age 30, simply two objectives in aggressive video games for his nation is a disappointing return. May this be the second when his pace and left foot make an impression?

Breakout candidate: Julio Enciso. He made his Paraguay debut within the final Copa shortly after his seventeenth birthday, however has but to make a lot of an influence. The Brighton striker picked up an damage and missed all of final 12 months’s World Cup qualifiers. Paraguay are determined for him to return and kick begin his worldwide profession.

Why they will not win all of it: Morale is on the ground, as coach Garnero confessed after final week’s 3-0 loss to Chile. Garnero changed fellow Argentine Guillermo Barros Schelotto after a poor begin to the World Cup qualification marketing campaign, however issues have but to enhance. Within the six rounds, Paraguay have managed only one objective. The heyday of Roque Santa Cruz apart, an absence of firepower has been a frequent Paraguayan downside — made worse by the impression that the present defensive unit just isn’t as strong as some within the nation’s previous.

Real looking possibilities at Copa 2024: With Colombia first up adopted by Brazil, the fixtures haven’t been variety to Paraguay. Coach Garnero got here in filled with attacking intentions, however it might be that his group’s greatest guess is to defend deep and depend on conventional virtues of resilience. That is an strategy higher suited to tournaments than to the league format of World Cup qualification. Again in 2011, for instance, Paraguay made all of it the best way to the ultimate of the Copa with out successful a single recreation and going by means of on penalties. Paraguay’s dogged custom signifies that they need to by no means be underestimated, however it will be a shock in the event that they get out of the group. — Vickery