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Copa America Sunday and Monday Predictions Including Brazil vs Costa Rica

Costa Rica's defender Keysher Fuller celebrates scoring at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

The host nation Team USA will lay down its marker on Sunday in Dallas against Bolivia, while South American heavyweights Uruguay and Brazil feature as Copa America 2024 will finish the first group stage encounter for each team by Monday. Our panelists offer their predictions.

USA vs Bolivia (Sunday in Dallas)

Steen Kirby: Bolivia are among the least accomplished CONEMBOL nations, when they aren’t playing at home in the thin air of an incredibly high altitude, they generally struggle. In 2024 they are just 1-4 with that lone win coming against minnows Andorra, and that win wasn’t impressive. The majority of the team plays their club football in Bolivia’s domestic league, with only 2 players in Brazil, a forward on Barcelona’s B team, and a few other scattered players having joined teams located outside of the country. This team has cohesion but the talent appears to be lacking.

Team USA will be hoping to get off to a great start as Gregg Berhalter is under siege as the coach of the national team, and and what was a generation of promising talents has turned a bit sour in recent months.  The USA did draw Brazil in their last outing, but that came after Colombia demolished the red, white, and blue 5-1 in the nation’s capital. The USA did win the nation’s league, a CONCACAF competition after losing in the semis of the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year, but facing South American teams is a more serious test. The USA team is largely made up of players from abroad now, with English, German, Spanish and Italian clubs signing American players like Christian Pulisic (AC Milan), and Tyler Adams (Bournemouth). More challenging matches await but the USA should get that winning feeling in the first match. Prediction: USA 2 Bolivia 0

Ben Gray: A huge summer awaits for the United States, so it’s vitally important that the Copa América hosts kick off with a win at AT&T Stadium.

As co-hosts of the next World Cup, this is USA’s final serious tune-up for two years time, with Gregg Berhalter under enormous pressure to deliver at this competition.

In their pre-tournament warm-up friendlies, the Stars and Stripes were first smashed 5-1 by Colombia at Commanders Field, their heaviest defeat since Copa América Centenario, while this was the first time they’d shipped five on home soil since the 2009 Gold Cup Final.

However, three days later, the U.S. were infinitely better as they held Brazil to a 1-1 draw in Orlando, with Christian Pulisic firing home a free-kick to equalise.

The United States are firmly expected to get through Group C, but a victory in Arlington is of vital importance if they’re to achieve this.

Well, this seems the most-likely outcome, considering Bolivia continue to be CONMEBOL’s whipping boys.

Since being runners-up on home soil in ’97, la Verde have won only one of 29 Copa América matches, beating Ecuador in 2015, with this the only time they’ve advanced beyond the group stages in nine attempts during this 27-year period.

In fact, including World Cup qualifiers, Bolivia have not won any of their last 33 competitive fixtures played on foreign soil, while their most-recent such success, prior to that win over Ecuador nine years ago, came against the USMNT themselves in Paysandú at Copa América 1995.

Ahead of this year’s edition, Antônio Carlos Zago’s side have lost friendlies to Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia, while the U.S. have won both of their encounters this century, 4-0 in Kansas City in 2016 and 3-0 in Houston two years later. Thus, the American supporters in attendance in Texas are likely to have a victory to celebrate. Prediction: USA 2 Bolivia 0

Uruguay vs Panama (Sunday in Miami)

Steen: Panama is 2-3 in 2024 with a squad that lacks starpower but is quite diverse, they have a forward at Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, a captain who plays in MLS and a goalkeeper in Uruguay, the first opponent they face in Copa America. As one of the lower ranked CONCACAF sides, Panama isn’t expected to do a lot this tournament, Uruguay are heavily favored to get off to a winning start, Marcelo Bielsa’s team is devoid of match practice but they don’t lack talent, it’s a swan song for 37 year old Luis Suarez, the Inter Miami striker takes injections in his knees to continue to play on, but he just keeps scoring. Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, Tottenham’s Rodrigo Betancur, and PSG’s Manuel Ugarte are all here as well as Uruguay are one of the strongest teams in the Copa America. Anything short but of a comprehensive Uruguay win would be a shock. Prediction: Uruguay 3 Panama 0

Ben: Many are tipping Uruguay for great things at this summer’s Copa América, so it would be a real surprise if they didn’t pick up all three points at Hard Rock Stadium, hoping to be back for the final at the same venue exactly three weeks later.

La Celeste have been impressive since Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival, beating both Brazil in Montevideo and Argentina in Buenos Aires 2-0 in World Cup qualifiers last autumn, also smashing Mexico 4-0 in their most-recent pre-tournament friendly; Darwin Núñez with a hat-trick in Denver.

Los Charrúas are 15-times Copa América winners, a joint-record, although only one of those triumphs has come since 1995, hoisting the trophy aloft in 2011, getting no further than the quarter-finals since, falling at that hurdle in 2015, 2019 and 2021, their last two exits coming via penalty shootouts. Reaching, at last, the last four is Uruguay’s aim this summer, very much expected to cruise through the group stages, starting with a win here.

Panama meantime are competing at Copa América for just the second time, beating Bolivia but then losing to both Chile and Argentina on debut at the Centenario edition eight summers ago.

This time, Thomas Christiansen’s team qualified by smashing fierce rivals Costa Rica 6-1 in November’s play-offs, with los Canaleros an improving force in recent years, most-notably getting all the way to last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. Nevertheless, Uruguay have won all three previous encounters with Panama, scoring ten goals and conceding only one, a trend that’s extremely likely to continue in Miami Gardens, Florida. Prediction: Uruguay 2 Panama 0

Colombia vs Paraguay (Monday in Houston)

Steen: Colombia fans travel well, especially when it comes to Copa America in the United States, it will be a sea of yellow in Houston as a team that hasn’t lost a match in their last 23(!) take on Paraguay, a nation that had its golden era in recent memory, but has fallen by the wayside in the competitive cauldron that is South American football. Colombia will look for 8 consecutive victories to become 9 as 32 year old James Rodriguez leads his country and Liverpool’s Luis Diaz leads the attack. This side may not be the most talented in Copa America but Nestor Lorenzo has put together a side that plays cohesively together and is an example of a national team being better together than the sum of its parts. Rodriguez, and Galatasaray’s Davinson Sanchez are examples of players who perform better for country than club.

Paraguay are a side with just two wins in recent matches, they are rebuilding but also aging, as Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron provides some star power, and Olimpia (a famous club in Paraguay)’s Derlis Gonzalez is the main striker. Paraguay look outmatched here, they will play physically but likely concede in the end. Prediction: Colombia 2 Paraguay 0

Ben: Colombia are the form team, possibly anywhere in world international football right now, hoping this momentum will carry them all the way to Copa América glory.

Ahead of this tournament, los Cafeteros are unbeaten in 23 matches, dating back to 1 February 2022, winning each of the last eight, beating Spain 1-0, Romania 3-2, USA 5-1 and then Bolivia 3-0 in their four friendlies in 2024.

Néstor Lorenzo is still yet to taste defeat as la Tricolor’s head coach, so expectations for this team are sky-high right now and, while it’s still a tall order to expect Colombia to win only their second Copa América title, triumphing on home soil in 2001, they should comfortably win this opener in Houston.

Paraguay meanwhile haven’t won this competition since 1979, a fact that’s unlikely to change any time soon, with no one even expecting them to advance beyond the group phase, considering they’ll also face Brazil in four days time.

Los Guaraníes did beat Panama 1-0 in their most-recent friendly, but had only won two of 13 outings beforehand, failing to score in ten of these fixtures, so a third successive quarter-final appearances for la Albirroja seems very unlikely.

Since the start of the new millennium, Colombia have won 12 of 18 head-to-head encounters between the pair, including a 1-0 victory in Asunción last November, with those bedecked in yellow at NRG Stadium likely to be celebrating come full time. Prediction: Colombia 3 Paraguay 0

Brazil vs Costa Rica (Monday in Los Angeles)

Steen: Costa Rica are a small nation, but similar to Uruguay, they always seem to find themselves in the discussion when it comes the competitive international tournaments like the World Cup, Copa America, and the Gold Cup. Upsetting Brazil would be a shocking result, Costa Rica boast a 4-1-1 record in 2024 with 31 year old Joel Campbell still a key man at forward, and FC Juarez (Mexico)’s backline man Francisco Calvo headlining the defence, Costa Rica also have a number of players from their domestic league.

As for Brazil, expectations are much higher, but draws against the USA and Spain, a thin win against Mexico, and last year three consecutive World Cup qualifying campaign defeats have the football mad nation worried heading into this tournament. 17 year old Endrick provides hope, the young forward is headed to Real Madrid from Palmeiras, he will play alongside the Champion’s League winner Vinicius Jr. and Barcelona’s Raphina up front, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes and West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta are in the midfield, as it’s nearly an all Premier League midfield, and Juventu’s Danilo is the captain in the backline, with Liverpool’s Alisson, and Real Madrid’s Eder Militao also in the defence. This is another match where sterner tests await, Brazil would like to get up early and be able to make adjustments from a position of comfort, Costa Rica will likely play a low block and try to hang in the game as long as possible, Brazil’s skill should prove too much. Prediction: Brazil 3 Costa Rica 1

Ben: It’s been a chaotic last 12 months for Brazil, losing three successive World Cup qualifiers to conclude 2023, beaten in a qualifier on home soil for the very first time in November, but improved results in 2024 have raised expectation levels back to their usual sky-high levels.

Since Dorival Júnior’s appointment as head coach in January, he’s overseen friendly wins over England at Wembley and Mexico in Texas, earning credible draws with Spain at the Bernabéu and USA in Orlando, while his squad is undeniably jam-packed with talent.

The Seleção picked up a ninth Copa América title at the Maracanã five summers ago, before reaching the final again in 2021, this time defeated by Argentina, meaning they’ve featured in ten of the last 15 Copa finals, and you wouldn’t back against Brazil going all the way this year too.

With tougher tests against Paraguay and Colombia in particular to come in Group D, it’s vitally they make a winning start in California.

Well, this seems a very likely outcome, up against a Costa Rica side set to make their sixth Copa América appearance, getting to the quarter-finals in 2001 and 2004, before suffering group stage exits in both 2011 and 2016 subsequently.

Los Ticos were the last team to qualify for this summer’s edition, initially hammered 6-1 on aggregate by Panama in the play-offs, sneaking in courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Honduras in March’s play-in game.

Brazil have won each of their last nine meetings with Costa Rica, scoring 27 goals and conceding only five, most-recently prevailing 2-0 in Saint Petersburg at the 2018 World Cup, with an even more emphatic victory likely at SoFi Stadium. Prediction: Brazil 3 Costa Rica 0

Main Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images


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