Day one, and one game, of the Copa América Centenario is in the books, and it's time for day two's action!
Three games are on tap for today. Here's a rundown of who's playing, when, and what to watch for:
Costa Rica vs. Paraguay, 2 pm PT, FOX, Univision, UDN
The big thing people are talking about heading into this tournament for Costa Rica is whether they can repeat their unexpected quarterfinal run at the 2014 World Cup. Smart money is against that, but that was the same outlook on the Ticos heading into 2014, when they advanced from a group of three former champions to shock the world.
Coach Jorge Luis Pinto is long gone, something that may actually play a bigger role in Costa Rica's fortunes. But they are still a team with talent, obviously capable of putting it all together on their day.
But...they're missing Keylor Navas, fresh off a Champions League triumph with Real Madrid. Drag. He would have been really important.
Paraguay come into the tournament, meanwhile, with few expectations, but that's pretty much standard for them at this point. They too, have talent, of course, but are expected to be the weakest side of Group A. Time will tell if that's true or hilariously wrong, but it will be interesting to see exciting attacker Juan Manuel Iturbe, and see if he can do anything on international level after a tough spell in Europe of late.
Haiti vs. Peru, 4:30 pm PT, FS2, Univision, UDN
Let's be real and call this the hardcore fan's game. Haiti are promising but expected to do nothing here in the Copa America, and Peru look to have punted on another run to the semifinals with a primarily domestic-based group (Peru's league is not strong).
Put simply, this game will probably most be an opportunity for players to impress clubs of the world, see if a good game or three will translate into a transfer to a bigger club. I'm not saying necessarily that this will be a bad game -- often, the games you least expect turn out to be most entertaining. But coming in, this game will have the least hype of any in the tournament, guaranteed (except in Haiti and Peru, of course), and it will be a massive surprise if either team advances from Group B. Here's hoping it's a fun one, nonetheless.
Brazil vs. Ecuador, 7 pm PT, FS1, Univision, UDN
Here's the big game of the day to cap off day two, and taking place at the Rose Bowl. These two teams are expected to advance, and there are a lot of questions about the quality of this Brazil squad heading into the tournament.
Remember, Neymar isn't here, and another six players have departed ahead of the first game with injuries and/or personal issues. That's a lot of roster churn, and for a country that is honestly more concerned with winning Olympic gold for men's soccer at their home Olympics later this summer, the door could be wide open for a poor showing and Ecuador to take advantage.
Ecuador is a team with no success on the Copa America level, but they're in better competitive form than Brazil and have a good roster. They should very much be seen as darkhorses to make a run in the tournament.
Of course, all this set-up means Brazil is likely to steamroll Ecuador tonight. That's just how it works. But we'll see which Brazil turns up tonight, which will be pretty key to handicapping the rest of the Copa América.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!