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Copa America Group C and D Predictions including Colombia vs Costa Rica

Groups C and D could be relatively settled after matchday 2 of Copa America if the teams who won their first group stage games, continue to win on the second matchday. Our panelists offer their predictions for each match in these groups.

Panama vs USA (Thursday in Atlanta)

Steen Kirby: A CONCACAF battle, Panama has been a tough opponent for the United States historically, but Team USA comes off the comfortable victory against lowly Bolivia and will look to secure passage into the knockout stages by winning and moving to 6 points in Group C. Panama managed a late consolation goal against Uruguay but were outclassed by their team of global stars in the light blue kits. Folarin Balogun (Monaco), who joined the US Men’s National Team last year and team captain Christian Pulisic (AC Milan) scored two first half goals in the Bolivia game, these are players the United States will depend on if they are going to make their mark hosting Copa America 2024. Panama will be tough to break down, but the United States not winning this match would be a massive disappointment for the red, white, and blue. Prediction: USA 2 Panama 1

Ben Gray: After kicking off their Copa América campaign with a commanding victory on Sunday night, will hosts United States put another three points on the board, thereby booking their place in the quarter-finals?

At the weekend, the U.S. swatted aside Bolivia 2-0 in Arlington, Texas, with Christian Pulisic curling home after less than three minutes, before Folarin Balogun doubled the Stars and Stripes’ advantage, giving them an unassailable lead against frankly feeble opposition.

As 2026 World Cup hosts, this is the final major competition USA will feature in before then, with Gregg Berhalter under enormous pressure to deliver at this Copa América. So, with the difficulty level set to increase, will United States pick up three points as they take to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field for the very first time?

Panama meantime really need a victory in Atlanta if they’re to keep their quarter-final hopes alive, following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay in Miami on Sunday night.

Los Canaleros were certainly competitive at Hard Rock Stadium, with the game in the balance at 1-0 for a long time, before la Celeste scored two quick-fire goals to secure the points, making Michael Amir Murillo’s 95th minute curling strike a mere consolation.

This is only la Marea Roja’s second Copa América appearance, exiting the Centenario edition in the group stages eight summers ago, and defeat in Georgia would end their hopes of doing better this time round. 12 months ago, Thomas Christiansen’s team did beat USA, albeit a largely domestic-based roster, on penalties in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in San Diego.

Nevertheless, their last encounter before that, a World Cup qualifier in March 2022, saw the U.S. cruise to a 5-1 victory in Orlando, and the hosts are likely to claim victory in Atlanta too, even if it’s unlikely to be quite as emphatic. Prediction: USA 3 Panama 1

Uruguay vs Bolivia (Thursday in New York City/New Jersey)

Steen: Bolivia will play hard defending and they have a good goalkeeper, that’s the most positive thing you can say for them, Uruguay were flying at times against Panama in Miami, they have scored 7 goals in their last two games, Toluca’s Maxi Araujo and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez were on the scoresheet in the last match. Marcelo Bielsa’s aggressive high press troubles many teams, and Bolivia will be no different. Look for Uruguay to secure their place in the knockout stages and win comfortably at Metlife Stadium in the Big Apple. Prediction: Uruguay 4 Bolivia 0

Ben: Before a ball was kicked, Uruguay were favourites to finish top of Group C, while most expected Bolivia to end up bottom and, after only one matchday, this is already the case.

In Sunday’s early kick off, Bolivia were easily beaten 2-0 by the United States in Texas, falling behind after just 150 seconds and never looking likely to mount a comeback from then on out, ending the night with a miserly 0.18 xG. La Verde have now won only one of their 30 Copa América matches across the last ten editions, also winless in 34 competitive fixtures played away from home, and counting, with Antônio Carlos Zago’s only victories since taking over last October against Peru and minnows Andorra.

Uruguay meanwhile beat Panama 3-1 at Hard Rock Stadium, with Maximiliano Araújo curling home an opener in the first half, before quick-fire late goals from Darwin Núñez and then Matías Viña, the former a gorgeous volley, the latter a header, made the points secure in Miami.

Having beaten both Brazil and Argentina in World Cup qualifiers last autumn, la Celeste come into this Copa América with sky-high hopes and expectations, despite having not gone beyond the quarter-finals since last winning the competition in 2011, and Marcelo Bielsa’s team look good.

Aside from matches played at the extreme high-altitude in La Paz, Bolivia have not beaten Uruguay in 29 attempts, last doing so in 1949, with los  Charrúas prevailing 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Montevideo last November and 2-0 at the most-recent Copa in Cuiabá three summers ago. Thus, a very comfortable Uruguay victory is expected by all in attendance at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Prediction: Uruguay 3 Bolivia 0

Colombia vs Costa Rica (Friday in Phoenix)

Steen: Costa Rica comes off one of the biggest results in their history, they held Brazil to a scoreless draw and securing points against another South American giant, Colombia, would give them a chance at reaching the knockout stages in a difficult group where they are the only CONCACAF team. 19 year old Jeyland Mitchell (LD Alajuelense in Costa Rica) and 31 year old Francisco Calvo (FC Juarez in Mexico) were among the defensive players who were excellent for the Ticos, Patrick Sequeira from Spain’s lower division Ibiza the standout in goal.

Look for Costa Rica to play with the low block again this game, Colombia scored twice against Paraguay to secure 3 points but they struggled in the second half. James Rodriguez remains an attacking threat with his passing and ability to position on the attack for Colombia, but he is not a player who participates tracking back to defend. Daniel Munoz and Jefferson Lerma, from Crystal Palace in the Premier League were the two scorers for Colombia. Defender Jhon Lucumi (Bologna) was subbed off for injury early and could be a key out in this match while Rafael Borre (Internacional in Brazil), and Luis Diaz (Liverpool) were held in relative check. This Colombian team has a ton of talent and they keep winning, but the pressure is mounting, still you would expect them to break through the Costa Rican defence better than Brazil did, and Costa Rica haven’t found the right mix of players to lead the attack as they are trying to renew their side at the moment. The Colombian fans also provide a home field advantage in every game Colombia plays, creating a sea of yellow in the stands of Copa America. Prediction: Colombia 2 Costa Rica 0

Ben: After starting their Copa América campaign with a victory on Monday night, will Colombia make it two wins out of two in Arizona?

Roared on by a huge, partisan crowd in Houston, los Cafeteros commenced their quest for Copa glory by beating Paraguay 2-1, thanks to first half goals from Crystal Palace-duo Daniel Muñoz and then Jefferson Lerma in Texas.

Néstor Lorenzo’s side are now unbeaten in 23 internationals, dating back to 1 February 2022, winning each of the last nine on the spin, raising hopes that Colombia could add to their one and only Copa title this summer, triumphing as hosts back in 2001. Well, Costa Rica might provide a stiffer examination of the credentials than first expected, given that Gustavo Alfaro’s team held Brazil to a goalless draw at SoFi Stadium in Monday’s late kick off.

The Seleção had 19 shots in Los Angeles, to Costa Rica’s two shots, neither of which were on target, but los Ticos held on for a famous point, with goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira rightly named man of the match, which tells you exactly how that game went.

This is la Sele’s sixth Copa América appearances, reaching the quarter-finals in both 2001 and 2004, before exiting in the group phase both times subsequently, but that opening night draw does keep Costa Rica in the running for a shock knockout stage appearance this time round.

Colombia have won eight of their last nine meetings with Costa Rica, including beating them at the Copa Américas of ’97, 2004 and 2011, although the last time the pair met at this competition eight years ago it was los Ticos wh prevailed 3-2, albeit a result that counted for very little. Despite keeping Brazil out, we cannot see Costa Rica ending Colombia’s winning streak at State Farm Stadium. Prediction: Colombia 2 Paraguay 0

Paraguay vs Brazil (Friday in Las Vegas)

Steen: As injured Brazilian legend Neymar Jr. looked on in frustration, Brazil suffered a humiliation in Southern California, being held scoreless against Costa Rica, limited on shots on goal despite controlling possession. This Brazilian team, despite the depth of their domestic league and the nation’s contributions to the rosters of nearly every major league in Europe, Asia, and South America, lacks chemistry, doesn’t have a clearly identified striker to start, and it doesn’t look like the right team was taken to the Copa America. The criticism of Brazil will mount if they can’t manage 3 points against Paraguay, who are respectable and improving but not elite in the CONMEBOL region.

Brazil is perhaps in a similar situation to England, a team that has been heavily criticized by fans, media, and pundits in Euro 2024. This team is expensive, and will defend well, but Real Madrid’s Vini Jr. is a passenger and 17 year old Endrick is being looked to to score match winning goals late in the game.

Paraguay have a spark, 20 year old Julio Enciso from Brighton, while Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron did not fire against Colombia, Ramon Sosa from Talleres in Argentina was a super sub for Paraguay. This is an improving side, and they must get something from this match to have a chance to shockingly qualify for the knockout stages. With Brazil playing such dire football, a shock is not that shocking. Prediction: 1-1 Draw

Ben: After a very concerning result to start their Copa América campaign on Monday night, Brazil are under enormous pressure to pick up all three points in Las Vegas.

The Seleção were widely-expected to commence this competition with a resounding victory at SoFi Stadium, but that’s not how it transpired, held to a goalless draw by Costa Rica, mustering 19 shots in Los Angeles, albeit only three on target, as los Ticos’ goalkeeper was named man of the match.

This is merely a continuation of Brazil’s miserable form, winning only two of their last nine, beating only England and Mexico since September. Only once before have the the nine-times winners failed to get out of their group at a Copa, but this did come the previous time the tournament was staged in the United States back in 2016, concerningly also kicking off that competition with a goalless draw in California; coincidence?

Given that their third group game is against CONMEBOL’s form team Colombia, Dorival Júnior’s simply must win in Paradise, Nevada or risk an unthinkable premature exit, For Paraguay, defeat in Sin City would end their slim hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, following a 2-1 defeat to Colombia in Monday’s early kick off, with Julio Enciso’s second half strike unable to spark a comeback in Houston.

This wasn’t too surprising, considering los Guaraníes have won only six of their last 28 fixtures, so a third successive knockout stage appearance at this competition seems unlikely, with la Albirroja having landed in this nightmare group.

During the most-recent World Cup qualifying cycle, Brazil beat Paraguay both home and away, winning 2-0 in Asunción and 4-0 in Belo Horizonte, albeit, when they last met in this competition, the Seleção required a penalty shootout to progress through a quarter-final tie, following a goalless draw in Porto Alegre, en route to glory five summers ago. This time, we are backing Brazil to pick up a priceless three points at Allegiant Stadium. Prediction: Brazil 2 Paraguay 0

Main Photo Credit: Copyright: IMAGO xMariaxLysakerx


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