Host nation Brazil opens its 2019 Copa America campaign against Bolivia in Group A action on June 14, 2019, at the Cícero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Brazil is hosting the 46 edition of the Copa America after swapping places with Chile in 2015 due to their duties in hosting the Olympics and World Cup. The Brazilians will be looking to win their first major football title in over a decade and with the 2019 Copa America being played at their home fields, they are the favorites to win the tournament.
The Brazilians are bracketed in Group A with a relatively easy group that includes Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela. The first order of business is Bolivia on opening day. The soccer betting odds for the match revealed that the hosts are heavy favorites to topple their opening match opponents.
Brazil is supposed to be the best team in football but it seems so long ago when we last saw them win it all in a major football tournament. Other than winning Olympic gold at their home field, the last time the Samba Boys won a tournament was in 2007 when they won the Copa America. Brazil was blasted by Germany 1-7 in the 2014 World Cup and was also eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year’s World Cup. There is pressure on them to win at home, but there may be more desire to win again.
Here is Brazil’s 23-man squad for the tournament:
- Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio
- Defenders: Dani Alves, Fagner, Alex Sandro, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marquinhos, Eder Militao
- Midfielders: Casemiro, Fernandinho, Arthur, Allan, Lucas Paqueta, Philippe Coutinho
- Forwards: Neymar, Everton, David Neres, Richarlison, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus
Odds from Bet365 as of 5/31/19
The Bolivians are solid at home, thanks in part to the dizzying altitude of La Paz but they are notoriously weak when they play down to sea level. Since hosting the Copa America and finishing second in 1997, they have made it past the group stages only once. The Verde last made it to the World Cup in 1994 and that looks like eons ago already. They won only once last year and that win was against lowly Myanmar.
Here is Bolivia’s 31 man preliminary squad for the 2019 Copa America:
- Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe, Ruben Cordano, Saidt Mustafa, Jorge Arauz, Javier Rojas
- Defenders: Marvin Bejarano, Diego Bejarano, Luis Haquin, Adrian Jusino, Mario Cuellar, Saul Torres, Ronny Montero, Roberto Fernandez, Jose Mario Carrasco
- Midfielders: Alejandro Chumacero, Raul Castro, Erwin Saavedra, Leonel Justiniano, Samuel Galindo, Juan Ribera, Jose Luis Vargas, Fernando Saucedo, Ramiro Vaca, Daniel Camacho, Diego Wayar, Paul Arano
- Forwards: Marcelo Martins, Gilbert Alvarez, Rodrigo Ramallo, Leonardo Vaca, Henry Vaca
Conspicuously absent in the Brazilian line-up are Moura and Fabinho but perhaps the bigger news in Brazil was the recent announcement that Neymar has been replaced as its captain. It can be recalled that the Paris Saint-Germain star was named as permanent captain in September 2018 by head coach Tite but a couple of days ago, Tite stripped him of the captaincy in favor of 36-year old club teammate Alves.
But none of the above look to stop Brazil from topping a relatively easy group, which includes Bolivia. The Brazilians have lost just three times in their last 35 matches across all competitions with their last loss the quarterfinals defeat to Belgium during last year’s World Cup. Since that loss, they’ve gone 7-0-1 in international friendlies.
Bolivia has not made it past the group stages since 1997 when they were the hosts. As we said earlier, they play well with the altitude at home but like Ecuador, they struggle outside of their home country. Bolivia had only one victory last year and I don’t think they will pose a serious challenge to Brazil here and in the tournament in general.
Head to head, Brazil and Bolivia have played a total of 9 times. Brazil has won four times and Bolivia twice. These teams figured in a draw in three meetings. The last meeting between these teams ended in a 0-0 draw at the World Cup qualifiers in 2017. Prior to that, Brazil beat Bolivia 5-0 in 2016 and 4-0 at the 2014 World Cup.
With Neymar playing together with the country’s established superstars and young talents like David Neres and Richarlison coming in, I think playing at home is going to help push Brazil to snap the unusual 12-year major title drought. I think it starts with a win over Bolivia. Prediction: Brazil