In the Venezuela preview, we look ahead to this summer’s Copa America Centenario to feature the team’s roster and schedule, as well as to predict how far they’ll advance in the Copa and which players to watch out for.
Manager: Rafael Dudamel
Captain: Tomas Rincon
Venezuela preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): José Contreras (Tachira, VEN), Wuilker Faríñez (Caracas, VEN), Dani Hernández (Tenerife, ESP)
DEFENDERS (7): Wilker Ángel (Tachira, VEN), Rolf Feltscher (MSV Duisburg, GER), Alexander González (Huesca, ESP), Roberto Rosales (Málaga, ESP), Jose Manuel Velazquez (Arouca, POR), Mikel Villanueva (Atlético Malagueño, ESP), Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Nantes, FRA)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Juan Pablo Añor (Málaga, ESP), Arquímedes Figuera (La Guaira, VEN), Alejandro Guerra (Atlético Nacional, COL), Yangel Herrera (Atlético Venezuela, VEN), Rómulo Otero (Huachipato, CHI), Adalberto Peñaranda (Granada, ESP), Tomás Rincón (Genoa, ITA), Luis Manuel Seijas (Santa Fe, COL), Carlos Suárez (Carabobo, VEN)
FORWARDS (4): Yonathan Del Valle (Kasimpasa, TUR), Josef Martínez (Torino, ITA), Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion, ENG), Christian Santos (NEC Nijmegen, NED)
Venezuela preview: Overview:
Of all the South American teams involved in the Centenario, it’s Venezuela who find themselves in the worst run of form. Dudamel’s men desperately need to discover some kind of impetus if they’re going to be competitive in the United States.
In 2015 La Vinotinto began their tournament with a bang, beating a Colombia side which looked lost with key men out of form. They were unable to build on that triumph, though, and since have found form very difficult to come by; they lost seven of their next eight games following their victory over Los Cafeteros.
The result of this poor form is a World Cup qualifying campaign which already looks to set to be a fruitless exercise. Venezuela have only mustered one point from six games so far, trailing fifth placed Colombia by nine points. It means they’re unfancied as they gear up for this centenary edition of the Copa.
Finding cause for optimism is difficult. Longstanding creative crux Juan Arango—the all-time record appearance-maker and goalscorer—is not longer available to call upon; it means there will be more expectation placed on Salomon Rondon, after a mixed season with West Bromwich Albion, and Josef Martinez from Torino to do damage in the attacking areas.
Strong defending has been a huge problem and having only been appointed in April, it’s tough to see how the new manager, previously in charge of the Under 20s, can stem the flow of goals before the tournament. Indeed, the Venezuelan Football Federation itself admitted in a statement upon appointing their former goalkeeper a lack of funding prevented them from chasing a “world-class coach,” per Reuters.