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Copa America Group A and B Predictions Including Venezuela vs Mexico

The first matchday for Group A and B at Copa America 2024 saw Argentina immediately move to the top of Group A, while Venezuela and Mexico were both winners in Group B and now face off in the second game. Our panelists offer all their predictions for the second matchday which covers Tuesday and Wednesday.

Peru vs Canada (Tuesday in Kansas City)

Steen Kirby: Kansas City, a growing soccer city, plays host to a match that could well decide who will advance with Argentina from Group A, Canada did lose as expected to Argentina, but goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau from MLS played well, the defence was generally respectable and they even had a couple of credible chances on goal. Peru struggled in a goalless draw with rivals Chile, Luis Advíncula, a key player from Boca Juniors went down with injury, and they failed to produce much control of the ball or chances on goal. Generally CONEMBOL teams are stronger than CONCACAF teams, but this aging Peru side is generally devoid of top end talent, Canada is rising and they will back themselves to get 3 points and survive from this group. Prediction: Canada 1 Peru 0

Ben Gray: Second spot in Copa América Group A is very much up for grabs, with this clash in Kansas City likely to be key in determining who claims it.

In the tournament opener last Thursday night, debutants Canada gave a good account of themselves but were ultimately beaten 2-0 by reigning champions Argentina at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, conceding at the very start and end of the second period. Nevertheless, Jesse Marsch’s side showed more than enough in Atalanta to suggest they can pick up points in their two remaining group games, as les Rouges seek to reach the quarter-finals, which would be an historic achievement.

Canada’s two competitors for second place went head-to-head on Friday night in Arlington, Texas, as fierce rivals Peru and Chile played out a goalless draw. To give you some idea of how the game went, there were just five shots on target, only one of which came from a Peruvian, while 37 fouls were committed so, put succinctly, AT&T Stadium did not witness a classic.

For Peru, they’ve reached the knockout stages at each of the last ten Copa Américas, beaten finalists in 2019, but the fact that la Blanquirroja are now without a win in eight competitive fixtures suggest Jorge Fossati’s may not be competing stateside for particularly long. These two nations have only ever met twice before, both in friendlies, with Canada winning 3-1 in Lima back in 1988, before Peru prevailed 2-0 in Toronto 22 year later.

Whoever claims victory here will take a gigantic step towards the quarter-finals and, based on what both have produced in recent times, we’re backing Canada for, what would be, a surprise victory at Children’s Mercy Park. Prediction: Canada 2 Peru 1

Chile vs Argentina (Tuesday in New York City/New Jersey)

Steen: The traveling American roadshow that is Lionel Messi and World Cup (and Copa America) champions Argentina continues, in what should be another crowd clad in blue and white under the bright lights of New York City (if you can make it here you can make it anywhere). Messi, who celebrated his 37th birthday was just two days prior to this match, did not score in the win against Canada but had multiple opportunities and his passing setup Lautaro Martínez from Inter Milan and Man City’s Julian Alvarez for their goals. Against aging rivals Chile, who twice beat Argentina to win Copa America 2015 and 2016 (the last one played in the United States), Argentina should continue to dominate possession and create most of the chances to score.

Chile controlled play against Peru but outside of the veteran Alexis Sanchez, who is Martinez teammate at Inter Milan, they didn’t have anyone to finish the scoring chances. Veteran goalkeeper, the 41 year old Claudio Bravo was good though, so I don’t see Chile being demolished in this match. Argentina should score and get the 3 points. Prediction: Argentina 2 Chile 0

Ben: To say these two have history at recent Copa América editions would be putting it mildly.

In both 2015 and 2016, Chile beat Argentina on penalties in the Copa América Final, hoisting the trophy aloft in back-to-back summers, despite having never won the competition in 36 attempts across 100 years beforehand. Almost exactly eight years to the day on from their Copa América Centenario Final clash at the same venue, MetLife Stadium, will this one have a different outcome?

Holders Argentina were overwhelming favourites to top Group A before a ball was kicked, and are already clear at the top of the standings after just one matchday.

On Thursday, la Albiceleste battled to a 2-0 victory over Canada in the tournament curtain raiser at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with Julián Álvarez slotting home shortly after half time, before substitute Lautaro Martínez rubber stamped the victory late on,

Lionel Scaloni’s side won the most-recent Copa three years ago, ending their 28-year wait for silverware, adding a third World Cup title to their collection subsequently, losing only two of 40 competitive fixtures across the last five years, hence why many are tipping them for glory.

Few meanwhile are expecting Chile to triumph stateside, considering la Roja have failed to qualify for both World Cups since their back-to-back Copa success, beating only Paraguay twice, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru and Albania in 23 outings since 1 February 2022.

On Friday night, Ricardo Gareca’s side played out a dire goalless draw with fierce rivals Peru in Texas, with Chile having four of the night’s five shots on target, shading it in terms of opportunities, although the fact there were 37 fouls in total tells you everything you need to know. La Roja have reached, at least, the quarter-finals at all six Copas in the last two decades, but will almost certainly have to beat Canada in Orlando at the weekend to maintain that sequence.

Since their most-recent clash in New Jersey in the 2016 final, Argentina are undefeated in six encounters with Chile, a streak we’re very much expecting la Albiceleste to continue in East Rutherford. Prediction: Argentina 2 Chile 0

Ecuador vs Jamaica (Wednesday in Las Vegas)

Steen: Ecuador went down to 10 men and were up against the sword when they faced rivals Venezuela in the first game, Jamaica didn’t generate a lot of chances against Mexico but were in the game the entire way and only a golazo goal kept them from the draw as both of these Group B teams sit on 0 points after 1 game played. Ecuador has a more talented side and presuming they don’t incur another red card you would think they will have the upper hand given not just the talent, but also the level they play at in CONEMBOL compared to Jamaica a CONCACAF team. Jamaica won’t be easy to break down, but Ecuador are probably as good as Mexico if not better. Prediction: Ecuador 2 Jamaica 1

Ben: After both were beaten on Saturday, this clash in Paradise, Nevada is must win for both, while the losers will face an early elimination.

Ecuador were tipped by many to top Group B before a ball was kicked, although their chances of beating Venezuela at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday were significantly hampered by the red card shown to captain Enner Valencia mid-way through the first half, dismissed for a dangerous challenge.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, la Tri took the lead on the cusp of the interval, Jeremy Sarmiento firing home from the edge of the area, but as the game wore on, they began to tire, with Venezuela scoring two quick-fire goals to snatch a 2-1 victory in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Only twice since 2007 have Ecuador began a Copa América campaign with back-to-back defeats, doing so in 2015 and 2019, with Félix Sánchez Bas’ side under enormous pressure to claim all three points in Las Vegas, if la Tricolor are to keep their quarter-final hopes in their own hands. As for Jamaica, their miserable Copa record continued in Houston at the weekend, determined to make history here.

After Michail Antonio cruelly had an historic goal ruled out by VAR due to offside, Mexico went up the other end and scored themselves soon after, as Heimir Hallgrímsson’s team departed NRG Stadium narrowly defeated 1-0.

This is the Reggae Boyz’s third Copa appearance and, to date, they’ve lost all seven matches, still yet to score a goal and conceding ten, desperate to change those statistics, both here and then against Venezuela in Austin next weekend, still in with a shout of the knockouts.

Ecuador are unbeaten in four previous meetings with Jamaica, winning two and drawing two, their most-recent resulting in a 2-0 victory for la Tri in Harrison, New Jersey six years ago, with another Ecuadorian victory likely at Allegiant Stadium. Prediction: Ecuador 2 Jamaica 0

Mexico vs Venezuela (Wednesday in Los Angeles)

Steen: With Edison Alvarez from West Ham out due to injury, Mexico looks even more troubled and weaker than they did entering the Copa America tournament, a narrow win against Jamaica by a 1 goal margin on a screaming goal by Monterrey defender Gerardo Arteaga will do little to calm the anger of Mexican fans with the federation and coaching staff. This will be a home game for Mexico as it’s played in Los Angeles, but fans in Houston were openly booing and frustrated with “El Tri”, something that the team will be feeling as well.

Venezuela is in a contrasting position, Mexico is expected to win this group by fans and critics alike, but La Vinotinto kicked off the rust of not playing a lot of matches heading into the Copa America and (with the help of a red card) stormed back in the second half to defeat Ecuador for a huge win in Copa America, and a win that continues the momentum this side built in World Cup qualifying. The diaspora and the nation is behind this side, as Famalicao’s Jhonder Cadiz was the hero for them with a goal, along with Matzalan’s Eduard Bello, and Gremio’s Yeferson Soteldo features. Venezuela has shown themselves to be tactically adept, the momentum is real, and the vibe around Mexico is terrible right now, with Alvarez gone, and striker Santiago Gimenez struggling, Venezuela should take advantage and pull off a shocker to top the group. Prediction: Venezuela 1 Mexico 0

Ben: Both began their Copa América campaigns with wins on Saturday, but can either make it two victories out of two in Inglewood, California?

In Saturday’s early kick off, Venezuela fought back from a goal down to beat Ecuador 2-1 at Levi’s Stadium, admittedly helped by the fact their opponents were reduced to ten-men with only 22 minutes on the clock.

Despite their numerical advantage, la Vinotinto fell behind on the cusp of half time, only for quick-fire second half goals from Jhonder Cádiz and then Eduard Bello to snatch an historic victory in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Venezuela have crashed out in the group stages at 14 of the 18 editions of Copa América since 1975, including the most-recent staging three summers ago, winning only eight of 70 fixtures at the competition since debuting 57 years ago prior to the weekend.

However, with Fernando Batista’s side currently fourth in the CONMEBOL qualifying table, seeking to reach a first-ever World Cup, with this victory simply continuing la Vinotinto’s recent upward trajectory, so can they now book their place in the quarter-finals with victory in LA?

Later on Saturday evening, Mexico also put three points on the board, albeit in unconvincing fashion, with Gerardo Arteaga the only scorer, a stupendous second half strike, as el Tri, just about, defeated Jamaica at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Given that they’ll be co-hosting the World Cup in two years time, Jaime Lozano and his team are under enormous pressure to perform at this Copa, given that Mexico have been frankly underwhelming at best for half a decade, or perhaps even longer.

This is el Tri’s 11th Copa América appearance, only dumped out in the group stages twice to date, seeking to start a Copa campaign with back-to-back victories for only the third time, previously doing so in 2007 and 2016.

Venezuela’s most-recent win over Mexico came in 1982, with el Tri victorious in ten of 13 encounters subsequently, beating them 3-1 in both Maldonado and Ciudad del Este during the Copas of ’95 and ’99, before the pair played out a 1-1 draw in Texas eight summers ago. This time at SoFi Stadium, an outcome is hard to predict. Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Main Photo Credit: IMAGO Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire


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