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Copa America Preview and Guide to EPL Players In Tournament

By early June, what was once perceived as a welcome break from the world of mind games and relegation drama has turned into an agonizing test of patience for most fans of the English Premier League. But rather than turn to the Egyptian Premier League to satisfy your unhealthy EPL cravings, why not occupy yourself with some quality football while keeping tabs on EPL players for the upcoming season? Featuring a number of EPL stars, football’s longest running continental competition, the Copa America, will take place over the next 24 days to crown South America’s football champion.

Here, EPL Talk offers a brief overview of the competition’s format and a quick glance to each of the competition’s 3 groups, noting the EPL player’s taking part, and the storylines which should occupy your attention.

Editor’s note: The 2011 Copa America kicks off tonight at 8:45pm ET on television and the Internet. Read on to find out where you can watch it as well as to learn more about the Premier League footballers playing in the tournament.

Format: Expanded beyond the original 10 Conmebol nations, the tournament has featured 2 invitees since 1993. In the group stage, the 12 teams are divided into 3 groups. The top 2 teams from each group, as well as the 2 best third-place teams advance to the knockout stage. The knockout stage proceeds in a normal, single-elimination manner, although it is important to note that level scores after 90 minutes proceed directly to penalties.

The Groups:

Group A:

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)


Hugo Rodallega (Wigan)

Costa Rica:

Storyline: Understandably, media coverage surrounding Group A has focused squarely on Argentina, host nation and favorites to win the tournament. Football fans, however, should be careful to pay attention to a resurgent Colombian side, powered by FC Porto pair Freddy Guarin and Falcao, as well as Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega. Expected to pair with Falcao in the front of attack, Rodallega seems likely to continue the quality he demonstrated at the close of the EPL season, and could prove vital to any Colombian successes.  Should the talented Colombian side coalesce at the right moment under coach Hernan “Bolillo” Gomez, they could prove spoilers.

Group B:

David Luiz (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Ramires (Chelsea)

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Antonio Alcaraz (Wigan), Cristian Riveros (Sunderland), Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City)


While Brazil should cruise through the majority of the competition with ease, the performances of a pair of players deemed surplus by Manchester City will have a large impact on how long their respective nations remain in the competition.

Felipe Caicedo of Ecuador was purchased for €7 million in January 2008 by Manchester City, and was tipped to have a long career at the Eastlands. As City moved in a different, high-transfer fee direction, Caicedo was shipped to Spain, with the move eventually made permanent, as he was sold to recently promoted Levante for the 2010-2011 season. Caicedo’s 13 goals were vital to Levante staying up, and the summer of 2011 sees the Ecuadorian ripe for a move to a more illustrious side. His ability to gel with Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia could turn the interest of a number of EPL teams into a finalized transfer, while guiding his team through the tournament.

Frozen out at Man City, unsuccessful at Blackburn, goalless in 15 months. The Copa American could be Roque Santa Cruz’ last opportunity to find a move to a more accommodating European side. Look for Roque Santa Cruz to have a surprisingly profitable tournament, both in terms of goals scored, and the resultant transfer.

Group C:

Gonzalo Jara (West Brom), Jean Beausejour (Birmingham City)

Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham)


Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

The last time the Copa America was hosted in Argentina, in 1987, Uruguay walked away surprise victors. They could very well do the same with the amount of talent they bring to Argentina this time around. Diego Godin, Diego Lugano, Nicolas Lodiero, Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan squad is one which should challenge Argentina and Brazil for the championship. However, look for the performances of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to dictate Uruguay’s success. Regrettably, age catches up to us all, and Suarez will be forced to compensate for a declining Diego Forlan. Should he struggle to carry his EPL form through the tournament, Uruguay could make a quick exit, regardless of the amount of quality players they bring.

Editor’s note: To view the TV schedule for Copa America as well as to find out where you can watch the games online, visit our sister site which will be featuring news and analysis about Copa America throughout the tournament as well as covering the Women’s World Cup.

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  1. morena

    July 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Nos esncanta la redaccion de Pablo y el profe Bracamontes. Pero por favor traten de pedir lo menos posible la opinion de “Hugo San ches” pues sus comentarios no son constructivos y mucho menos elocuentes. tienen falta de valides.

  2. Tony

    July 4, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Univision understands how to please soccer fans. You cannot say the same for Fox and all its entities. I’ll be watching Copa America both on Univision and youtube when it’s on Telefutura because I don’t get Telefutura on my cable lineup.

  3. David

    July 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Regardless of who is responsible for the youtube viewing it’s good to see that Univision and Traffic Sports are enabling soccer fans to see all the games made available on TV and online. This is how you get more people interested in your product. Something Fox could learn from. Fox scams you into buying their online product which is terrible to begin with. Bravo Univision for letting your viewers know that the games are also available on youtube and providing a link from your site to youtube. Thanks again.

  4. Junior

    July 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Another +1 for Univision and their youtube feature. It’s great that a company cares about soccer enough to allow viewers to watch it for free. Thanks Univision.

    • The Gaffer

      July 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      The online rights shown on YouTube are from Traffic Sports, not Univision. The Spanish language network are broadcasting the games on their own site.

      The Gaffer

  5. Gary

    July 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Thank you Univision Soccer Editor for your youtube access to matches. It’s awesome. I have Univision but not Telefutura so I’m watching some of the matches on youtube. You guys could teach Fox a lesson or two about how to build viewership for your soccer broadcasts. Thanks again.

  6. limon | sports stories

    July 3, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Argentina is going to win this tournament.

  7. Univision Soccer Editor

    July 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Hey guys!
    At Univision (US rights-holders in Spanish) we are broadcasting all the matches — and also streaming them online.

    Check out our broadcast schedule:

  8. Nelson

    July 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I just unsubscribed. Or at least I think I did. There was no confirmation on their website to show I did so I unsubscribed three times for good measure.

  9. brian

    July 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    isnt Vela on Mexico in this tournament?

  10. Cape

    July 2, 2011 at 6:42 am

    One would think with the talent Argentina has and playing at home they would win their group games easily. Bolivia could have won it and once again Messi just doesn’t get it done for his country the way he does for Barcelona.

    Argentina are the England of South America. Underachievers.

  11. Garth

    July 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I agree about the soccer pitches. They are really bad and that’s why I don’t watch any South American games. I wonder why they aren’t as good as the ones in this country or Europe.

  12. Frank

    July 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    South American pitches are terrible. Tonight’s Argentina-Bolivia game was played on a poor field. You would think a competition of this status would deserve good playing surfaces.

  13. arnold

    July 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    No interest in South American football. The players that do play in the Premier League have been Anglicized in their behavior for the most part but the rest who don’t play in England will probably dive when and where ever possible.

    • The Gaffer

      July 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      Arnold, you should give it a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised! To me, Copa America is one of the most underrated tournaments.

      The Gaffer

    • carlos

      July 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Quite the ignorant comment, the epl is full of divers. Drogba, is one of the most notorious. Ronaldo, when he played at Manchester was also worthy of an Oscar. Every league, every tournament has its share of divers. The copa America has a different style of play, more possession and ball handling. I would also add that a good number of these players will play a huge role on the international leagues they play.

  14. Soot

    July 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Neither is Dos Santos.

    Mexico sent their B team.

    • Keith

      July 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Dos Santos is. They and Costra Rica are sending their U-21? teams but with 3 overaged players.

      • Maxi Rodriguez

        July 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

        Under-23 teams, if I’m not mistaken. Not by choice though: Concacaf ordered the Federations to focus on the Gold Cup and send an U-23 side to the Copa America.

  15. Lars

    July 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I am pretty sure that Chicharito is not taking part in this tournament.

  16. sam

    July 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Hey! You forgot to mention that each and every match will be freely available to watch live on YouTube!

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