Argentina
Argentina have the strength and quality to go all the way. Pictured: Argentina players celebrate a goal against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier, March 29, 2016.Reuters

Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay, maybe even Mexico, might be Jurgen Klinsmann's USA's time to shine at home or a team that nobody predicted – who will go all the way and win this special edition of the Copa America is the big question as the tournament kicks off from Friday.

While Argentina start as the obvious favourites – when isn't a team with Lionel Messi in it one of the favourites? – there are plenty of others capable of claiming the top prize.

Argentina, on paper, though, look like finally winning a major trophy for the first time since 1993. There is nothing Messi wants more than winning a trophy in national colours, and, because a lot of the other teams are not taking this tournament as seriously as they might have, had it been a proper Copa America in the correct year, this is Argentina's to lose. Because they go into this Copa America Centenario – in celebration of 100 years of the tournament and the South American football federation – wanting to win a major trophy after 23 years, wanting their golden generation of forwards to walk away with smiles on their faces.

After all, Argentina are not just about Messi. In Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, coming off such a spectacular season with Napoli that there was no way he could be ignored, and Angel Di Maria, they have a forwardline the envy of any team in the world. But then, the same could have been said of the side in the 2014 and 2015 World Cups as well, and after just about reaching the final, they cracked in the match that mattered the most.

The key for Gerardo Martino is to get the best out of this scary attacking line, make them gel, so that those chances will be created, those killer passes made, without even having to look up to see where the teammate is. If they do that – they have a solid midfield and an experienced backline as well – Argentina will be a difficult team to beat.

Trying to beat them will be Chile, who are the defending champions of sorts, even if they will, technically, remain the proper Copa America holders, even if they fail to land the title in the USA. The only reason Chile are not seen as the heavy favourites, right along there with Argentina and, maybe Brazil, is because the team have not quite found their rhythm since the departure of the extremely successful Jorge Sampaoli. Juan Antonio Pizzi, though, must find the right balance and formation to get the best out of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, two players who will, again, be key to Chile's success.

Neymar Brazil
How will Brazil cope without Neymar?Reuters

Brazil come into this Copa America 2016 with a squad weakened by injuries and the absence of their most important player – Neymar, who has been picked for the Rio Olympics. Brazil, most of the time, look a little lost when Neymar is not there in the lineup, because he is their only true creative spark, the one who can create or score a goal out of nothing.

Under Dunga, Brazil have not shown enough signs of improvement and it is not even like they play the most eye-pleasing football to make up for the lack of progress. After a disappointing World Cup and Copa America, Brazil need a good showing in this tournament, and it will be the youngsters that could make the difference, someone like a Gabriel Barbosa, the Santos forward, who has been given the never-a-good-sign moniker "the Next Neymar."

Also wanting to challenge will be Uruguay, but they will be seriously hampered in the group stages without Luis Suarez. The Barcelona forward is not expected to feature in the group phase of the tournament because of a hamstring injury, but if Uruguay get through and they have a fit and raring to go Suarez back in the lineup, the striker is single-handedly capable of taking them into the final.

Mexico look really strong under Juan Carlos Osorio – a strong defence, with the likes of Javier Hernandez up front to score the goals. USA will do well to get to the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario, but if they can or not will probably depend on how well their youngsters play.

Copa America predictions: Quarterfinalists: USA, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, Chile.

Semifinalists: Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Final: Argentina vs Uruguay.

Winner: Argentina (Messi finally breaks his duck).

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