Copa America’s Group C bears the name the Group of Death and for good reason. This will be the most tightly contested group of all three and all matches will be very close affairs. Uruguay are the top favourites to progress from this group, but Chile are not far behind and countries like Ecuador and Japan can always be threatening anyone.
Uruguay are Copa America’s most successful nation with 15 titles to their name and it’s not surprising that they are considered the best team in this group. Bookmakers give them odds of 10/11 to win Group C and much lower odds to progress from the group.
Their most recent Copa America victory came in 2011 in a tournament in which Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan terrorized opposition defences and destroyed Paraguay 3-0 in the final. This time around it will once again be Suarez up front, but he will be joined by Edinson Cavani who is as potent as Forlan used to be back in the day.
Chile are the second favourites to win Group C and they are given odds of 13/8 to finish the group stage ahead of their competitors. The Chileans are a side which has won Copa America only twice, but interestingly enough those two victories came in 2015 and 2016.
This means that most of the players that triumphed a few years ago are still in and around the team and that experience will be invaluable in their quest for yet another triumph.
Unlike, Chile and Uruguay, Ecuador have never won Copa America. However, what they lack in trophies they have in competitive spirit and players such as Antonio Valencia have played at the top level for quite some time.
However, the problem with Ecuador is that most of their players can be considered as average in quality and there are no outstanding individuals to take a game by the scruff of the neck or turn things around all on their own. Hernan Dario Gomez’ side is definitely one which relies on team spirit above everything else and they will need lots of that if they are to progress from this difficult group. Bookmakers give them odds of 6/1 to win it, but that will be much more difficult with teams such as Chile and Uruguay ahead of them.
Japan is the last team in this group, and just like Qatar, they have been invited into Copa America 2019 due to the fact that they are one of the two best teams in Asia. They are given odds of 16/1 to win Group C, but we are confident that this will be more than they are capable of.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to qualify however, as the Japanese are known for their stamina, tenacity and persistence during tournaments of this magnitude. Players such as Gaku Shibasaki will lead from the midfield and will give the Japanese the required top level experience to progress from Group C.
Uruguay lost to France in last year’s World Cup, but other than that managed to impress against strong sides such as Russia and Portugal. This means that the Uruguayans can play with any type of opposition and be competitive and the same will be true in Brazil.
In their first match against Ecuador they will go as the favourites and they will most likely win. Uruguayans are known as not being fazed by the type of the occasion and rarely succumb to any sort of outside pressure so the favourite tag will not bother them, not one bit. Backing them to win at odds of 3/4 can be quite profitable for punters.
Their second match will be against Japan and by the time it finishes the Uruguayans will probably qualify for the elimination stage. The Japanese can be a tough nut to crack, but the likes of Suarez and Cavani have faced much tougher defences and will eventually find a way through.
Uruguay’s last group game against Chile may turn out to be a first place playoff match for both teams provided they manage to collect the required points in the matches before. If that is the case, both teams might play more open type of football here and punters should consider backing the Over 2.5 goals outcome.
Chile’s first match against Japan will be of crucial importance. Both teams will know that winning it will mean probable qualification for the winner. And that winner will likely be Chile.
This Chilean generation of players seem to love playing at Copa America and players such as Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Eduardo Vargas, Charles Aranguiz and Mauricio Isla literally shine once South America’s top competition commences.
A key player for the Chileans this year will definitely be Alexis Sanchez and punters can expect the diminutive Manchester United winger to play with a point to prove. He has had a season to forget at Old Trafford, but his qualities cannot be disputed.
The fact that he sat out a large part of the Red Devils’ season will also mean that he will come into the tournament fresh and will be a nightmare to play against. This means that betting enthusiasts can think about backing Sanchez to be the tournament’s top scorer, which at odds of 20/1 is more than appealing. He should be closely followed in the first and second match in particular, as he has the potential to put several goals past Japan and Ecuador.
Looking at Ecuador’s squad you notice that most of their players play in either South or North American competitions. This can be seen as an advantage because most of the national competitions in which they compete were in full swing before Copa America started and they are now in perfect condition.
Compare that with teams such as Chile and Uruguay, in which the majority of players play in Europe and you will see that this is one of the things that the Ecuadorians will try to use to their advantage.
They start their Copa America campaign against fifteen-time winners Uruguay and they will need every ounce of that energy and every bit of form they can summon to overcome the strong Uruguayans. Bookmakers give them odds of 17/4 to triumph in the match, but betting enthusiasts who think of backing Ecuador should probably go with a more conservative outcome and back the draw option at odds of 23/10.
Many things will depend on that first match against Uruguay, but even more things will be on the line in Ecuador’s second match against Chile. In case the Ecuadorians lose against Uruguay, as is expected, then they will have to at least take a point off the Chileans to even have the chance of qualifying.
Ecuador’s last match against Japan might end up as a dead rubber match if they lose their first matches so it is to be expected that Gomez’ players will go all out in their first two matches.
Japan’s first match is against Chile and it is a very tough start to their Copa America campaign. The two-time Copa America winners will be Japan’s sternest test since the World Cup ended and it is to be expected that they will adopt their usual hard-working approach to neutralize the Chileans.
If they manage to get out with a draw from that match, that would be considered as a very good start for the Japanese. However, even if they get a draw there, they will still have to play Uruguay next and they are on the same level as the Chileans, if not better, so this will be another draining match for the Japanese.
By the time the deciding match with Ecuador comes, they might be all out off energy and might capitulate to an Ecuadorian team which is more used to the climate and whose players will be in better condition due to their national championships being in full swing.