As per usual when the best of South America clashes it’s two nations that stand in the spotlight - Argentina and Brazil. It is however worth noting that Argentina has a dire track record in Copa America, and the last time they won was all the way back in 1993.Brazil on the other hand are reigning champions and without a doubt favoured to repeat their win. Due to the latest changes, they will have the advantage to play on home soil which can be a huge boost. Down below you will be able to find our thoughts about which teams are shaping up to battle for the trophy in Copa America 2021.
Let us begin by having a look at the events during Copa America 2019, and what has developed since. Which teams have impressed the most and could history repeat itself? The most recent champion of Copa America is Brazil, who beat Peru in the 2019 final with a clear 3-0. Peru went on a dream run that time around, but could not stand up to the giant, and in all honesty, it’s hard to see Peru repeat such a feat. The bookmakers do agree with this and Peru is not considered among the favourites at all. Brazil on the other hand is like most times the main favourite to hoist the trophy. Looking at the quality of the Brazilian squad it’s hard to argue their capabilities.
For our money Brazil enters as a quite clear favourite, followed by Argentina. The odds provided by the bookmakers for the winner of Copa America 2021 generally agree with our sentiment even though Argentina is actually favoured over Brazil at certain bookies. The winner odds for Copa America in general place Brazil and Argentina around 3.00-3.25, while the main contender to the two giants, Colombia, clocks in at around 6.00 - odds that we certainly think is worth giving a second thought.
It should also be noted that home nations traditionally have been very successful in Copa America, giving further foundation to the odds provided. In fact, out of the last seven South American championships, three have been won by the host.
Even if much of the talk is around the three main favourites, we will more than likely see upsets happen here and there, and maybe even of the magnitude, Peru managed when they reached the final in 2019. Could something similar happen in the summer of 2021? Maybe it’s time for Uruguay or Chile to reach a final again? Considering that Chile has reached four straight semifinals and won twice during that stretch, it certainly is intriguing to speculate in it happening.
While Lionel Messi has been incredibly successful with his club, Barcelona, the Argentinian has not managed to reach the same kind of success in the national team. Not even close. According to most, he is the best footballer to ever play the game, but the closest to a Copa America title he has got was in 2016 and 2016 when Argentina reached the final but lost to Chile both times. In 2019 a third-place finish was the end result and the 0-2 loss to Brazil in the semi-finals is still a painful scar to this day.
We are looking forward to an Argentinian team seeking revenge in Copa America 2021. After 10 straight missteps, could it finally be time to bring gold to the Argentinian fans? The memories from 1993, when Gabriel Batistuta punctured the final by scoring twice are quickly becoming distant memories and new successes are more or less demanded by now.
Messi is the massive star of the Argentinian squad, but there are a whole bunch of other high-quality players able to back him up. The Argentinian head coach, Lionel Scaloni, has an arsenal of great offensive players to choose from and for example, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Agüero and Paulo Dybala come to mind. Martinez will be extra interesting to observe in Copa America 2021 after a couple of great seasons in Inter. The 23-year old could become one of the standout players this summer even if the competition for starting spots in Argentina is insanely tough.
Brazil might not have the most gold medals from Copa America history, but if we look at the championships played since 1989 they are the most successful. Out of the 13 played since Brazil has won an amazing 6.
Seeing Brazil defend their title as reigning champions in Copa America 2021 is not unlikely at all, as they possess what is the most complete squad out of all nations. There is an overflow of high-quality players, and even better is that the team does not have to rely on one or a few players to perform. We would like to argue that Brazil has 2-3 very competent players in each position. In Copa America 2019 Brazil also showed that they can survive just fine without a superstar like Neymar, as he was injured and they won gold regardless. Players like Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho were instrumental in picking up the slack, and show what a world-class nation Brazil is.
For Copa America 2021 Brazil will once again be complete with a fight to fit Neymar hungry to show his skills. With Neymar joining the offence the Brazilians have a crazy strong formation to work with. Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Vinícius Júnior and Phillippe Coutinho to name a few are simply amazing offensive core. We are expecting to see Brazil at their best in Copa America this summer, after the latest changes they will have the advantage of playing at home,which makes them a clear favourite on paper.
Colombia, has won Copa America once in the past Just like during the triumph in 2001 ,this time their squad is also filled with skill and talent. The head coach, Reinaldo Rueda, will have Atalanta’s stars, Luis Muriel and Duván Zapata, as main pieces in the puzzle, but he also has players like Juan Cuadrado (Juventus) and Radamel Falcao (Galatasaray) to build a world-class offence.
The defensive side for Colombia is certainly not much weaker either, and here we like the goalkeeper most of all. David Ospina from Napoli is a goalkeeper with massive experience from over 100 caps for his national team. Rueda will have to work wonders with his Colombia to outmanoeuvre Brazil and Argentina, but he has the right pieces to work with, that’s for sure. The ceiling for Colombia does match the two favourites, and while the depth is not at the same level, it doesn’t necessarily need to have an effect in a rather short tournament.
It might be somewhat interesting to some, but Uruguay has actually won Copa America more times than any other nation. The caveat is obviously that most of the victories came in the early, to mid-1900s. In the last three South American championships the team has in fact failed to reach the semifinals each time. While they won it all in 2011, it has been quite the disaster since, and in their last try, it ended with a quarter-final loss to the surprise of Peru.
Uruguay has traditionally succeeded by having a rock-solid defence, and if they can once again nail that they will be dangerous for sure. Down the middle, they have the experienced Giménez and Godin who were incredibly solid together in Atletico Madrid a few years ago. While Uruguay does not have the offence to match Brazil and Argentina, players like Suarez, Cavani and Darwin Nunez are threats against anyone. From an odds perspective, Uruguay is a very interesting choice paying more than 10 times the money. If they can nail the vital part of the game for Copa America 2021 that could very well turn out to be a great value bet.
Chile still has great memories from the recent past, as they managed to win Copa America back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. For a nation that had no titles before that, it was a massive accomplishment, but reality has also caught up a bit since that euphoria. In the most recent Copa America, Chile ended up in fourth place after losing the bronze match against Argentina, 1-2. A fairly respectable result, but the nation has got to try the taste of gold, and are looking for more.
There is quality in the Chilean squad, but absolutely everything has to be nailed and worked out to reach all the way once more. A lot of the hope is left with the big guns up front, Vargas, Sanchez and Vidal. The trio has scored an overwhelming amount of the Chilean goals and they need to keep on producing to give their team a shot in the summer of 2021. As much as we are reserving our praise here, the odds for Chile to win Copa America 2021 range between 15-20 times the money, and that honestly looks quite juicy for a team that has what it takes to challenge anyone.
In Copa America 2021, we will see 12 teams in total battle it out, and it’s hard to see another winner than the ones we have already talked about. Behind Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile it looks rather thin and the odds certainly reflect how small the chances are for a massive upset this summer in South America.
If we had to pick one out of the bunch, it has to be Peru, who surprised everybody by reaching the final in 2019. It’s also worth noting that Peru has managed to reach at least a semifinal in three out of the last four South American championships. That is however a different story than winning it all, and if they do, then it would be one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's 105-year long history. The Peruvian team is led by their star, Paulo Guerrero, who has managed to be the top scorer of Copa America three times in the past. While the odds for Peru to win Copa America range between 25-30 we certainly think the underdog odds on Chile are more lucrative right now.
Behind Peru, the field shrinks further and the chances diminish fast that those teams could get through all world-class squads and claim the trophy. Venezuela surprised in Copa America 2019 by not losing a game in the group stage, but in the quarter-final, they quickly got stopped by Argentina. Similar stories could very well happen in 2021.
The bottom three in Copa America 2021 according to the rankings are Paraguay, Ecuador and Bolivia. The two first seem of even-strength while Bolivia on paper is the weakest team in the tournament. The last time Bolivia reached a semifinal was all the way back in 1997 when they had the home soil advantage. The high elevation of Bolivia gave the team an even bigger edge than playing at home usually does.
The odds for Bolivia to win Copa America 2021 land around 151 or so at most bookmakers, and that seems like a fair assessment. Paraguay comes in at odds of 40, while Ecuador pays slightly more at odds of 50. None of these teams attracts us much though, as there is better value in some of the other underdogs in our opinion.
This year the tournament will be hosted by Brazil. If the home advantage will come into play remains to be seen, but looking at the past it has been a clear benefit. It’s also still unclear if fans will be allowed at the venues due to Covid-19 restrictions, but even if they are, we will surely not see fully seated arenas.
With all that said, it’s clear that 2021 is quite different from any other year, but no matter what a home advantage will always exist.
As mentioned it’s very clear that Argentina, Brazil and Colombia are the main favourites to win Copa America 2021, but there are a few options behind them that could succeed. Our prediction is still that one of these three will prevail, but we do like the odds for Colombia to complete the small upset over the giants. Odds of over 6.00 at the time of writing looks like a good value bet to us, as Colombia has all the right pieces to make life tough for Brazil and Argentina.