The final two quarterfinals at the Copa America Centenario are this evening, with probably the first and second favorite of the whole tournament looking to move one step closer to the final. Fortunately for them, they aren’t playing each other!
Here’s what to watch on Saturday at the Copa America:
Argentina vs. Venezuela, 4 pm PT, FX, Univision, UDN
Argentina are the team to beat in this Copa America. Yes, Angel Di Maria got hurt in the group stage and if he can’t return, that could be a problem because he’s really good, and there are perpetual questions about Argentina’s defense, but here’s the reality: Is there a team alive in this tournament that can really test that defense? We’ll have to see, but on paper, it really doesn’t look like it.
Plus, Messi. I probably don’t need to explain it, but even though Argentina played very well without him in a win over defending champions Chile in the first game, his entrance in the tournament demonstrated his exceptional quality, yet again. With him playing well and the rest of the team around him doing what they need to, this is the absolute favorite for this tournament.
...Which makes the task pretty tough for Venezuela. Yes, they overcame expectations to even get into the quarterfinals, and they’ve been playing very well. But this really feels like the kind of game where Argentina will blow the upstart Venezuelans away, who probably hit their limit (and got the unkindest draw of everyone in having to face Argentina).
Mexico vs. Chile, 7 pm PT, FX, Univision, UDN
Here’s the tastiest match-up of the quarterfinal stage, with the second-favorites of this tournament, Mexico, facing another good contender (not to mention the defending champs), Chile.
Mexico got a tough, tough game here, and even though they’ve looked solid for the most part in the group stage, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if they lose here. And for a team that’s often been stuck on the "first knockout" game at major tournaments in recent decades, to lose here would be a major disappointment. And the Mexican media would go overboard and probably call for Juan Carlos Osorio to be fired, following his first loss in charge.
But, for as good as Chile can be, they have also been kind of up and down in their form at this Copa America, too, and they are certainly not the same team that won on home soil last year. They are not going to have an easy time against a team that beat them in a pre-Copa friendly, and they are very much not going to have the fan support in the stadium.
This game is really a toss-up, but I think Mexico can pull it out. I think it would be pretty cool for there to be two South American and two North American teams in the semifinals, and having the U.S. and Mexico both still in the mix would be fascinating on several levels. But, as they say, we’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!