Argentina and Chile fought it out in the finals of the Copa America 2015, with the latter emerging triumphant. These two nations will once again be at loggerheads in the group stages of Copa America 2016, as they have been drawn alongside Panama and Bolivia in Group D.
This edition of the Copa America is special as it marks the 100th year of the competition, which initially started in 1916. The tournament is much bigger in this 45th edition, which will witness as many as 16 teams, making the tournament extra special. The United States of America will host the competition, starting June 3.
Group D preview
Irrespective of whichever competition they feature in, Argentina always start as favourites, and this Copa America 2016 will be no different. They should not have much trouble in getting past the group stages, but their clash against Chile could well determine their standings in the group. They are a team studded with stars, including Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano. Argentina have finished runners-up in three of the last four editions of Copa America, and will be eager to go one better in the U.S. With world class players in each position, they can definitely get past any team that stands in their way of the title and win their 16th Copa America trophy.
The defending champions won the Copa America in home turf, playing some outstanding football consistently. Will they be able to replicate such performances away from home? The answer is yes, they can, as Chile have been one of the best attacking teams in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but they need to be tight on their defense as well. Chile play an entertaining and explosive brand of football, with Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez being key players in the team. What makes them a special unit is their ability to change formations, and adapt according to the demands of the match. Their die-hard spirit will not be easily broken by any team in Copa America.
Panama are not a strong team like Argentina and Chile in the group, and will be pleased if they are able to come up with decent performances against the South American heavyweights. Their players will not be under any sort of pressure as Panama are not even expected to go through to the knockout stages, which might allow them to play pressure-free football. It also gives them a chance to test their progress when they come against South American heavyweights. Panama will need players like Luis Tejada, Blaz Perez, Felipe Baloy and Luis Henrique to have a decent Copa America 2016 in the U.S.
If Argentina and Chile will fight for the first two spots, Bolivia and Panama will go all out for the third place in the group, although there is no prize for a third place. It will be surprising if Bolivia gets past Argentina or Chile, but they can finish third with a win over Panama. Bolivia, after their historic Copa America win in 1963, and runners-up finish in 1997, has not been able to shine in the tournament, and one should not have too much expectations on the South American nation this time as well. However, Bolivia have one special talent in the form of playmaker, Jhasmani Campos, who can shine in Copa America and gather interest from top clubs across Europe.