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USA hosting 100th Copa America Centenario
Copa America

The Championship of the Americas is going to be hosted in the United States for the first time to celebrate its 100th year known as the 2016 Copa America Centenario.


Over the next four weeks, in stadiums across the U.S., the Copa America Centenario will showcase a glorious summer of soccer that will continue with the Euro 2016 in France followed by Olympic soccer in Rio de Janeiro.


There is much excitement throughout the Americas, and especially in the U.S., as some of the most prolific futbol players the world has ever seen, past and present, will be right here in our backyard.


Lionel Messi (Argentina), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Alexis Sanchez (Chile, and the 2015 Copa America winners), Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez (Mexico) and also one of the most exciting players from the 2014 World Cup along with the top scorer James Rodriguez (Colombia) will be here in the states.


If that doesn't have you brimming with anticipation, then I don't know what else to tell you other than you don't want to miss this summer's Copa America tournament.


Not only will some of the best players in the world be here in our backyard, but local soccer fans will also have an opportunity to check them out at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, which is serving as the host of the tournament opener on June 3, when the U.S. will take on Colombia.


The final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.


With my passion and love for futbol, or soccer as many in the states are accustomed to saying, I figured I would share my insight on this year's tournament with a brief take on all teams and also a bracket filled out with my predictions.


So with that being said, let's take a look at this year's headlines for all four groups competing for the title and my predictions. I did predict the final four for the 2014 Cup correctly, so trust me, this shouldn't be too off.


Group A:


USA (2-1-0): My prediction and instincts tell me that the USMNT will surprise many and begin the tournament with either a draw or victory but will not be defeated by anybody in group stage. I just don't see it happening but look for possibly the tightest games coming from this group. We could be witnessing history.


Colombia (2-0-1): Along with having one of the best strikers in the America's and in the world in James Rodriguez, the Colombians are hungry after getting eliminated from the quarterfinal round in last year's Copa America but will have a tough competition in the group stage but should still advance.


Paraguay (1-1-1) : The top scorer is Nelson Haedo Valdez, who leads the team with 13 goals scored in 74 appearances and is part of a team that struggles to find the back of the net but there is so much young talent that this should provide some sparks and a glimpse of the national team for years to come.


Costa Rica (1-0-2): Costa Rica has Real Madrid's goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who was arguably the best surprise and the most outstanding goalkeeper during the 2014 World Cup, and he should continue that same success but will have a tough time advancing into the knockout round.


Early match to watch: USA v. Colombia


Players to watch: Juan Iturbe and Derlis Gonzalez [Paraguay], Joel Campbell [Costa Rica], Christian Pulisic [USA] and Carlos Bacca [Colombia]



Group B


Brazil (3-0-0): Brazil currently got news that Bayern Munich's Douglas Costa will be out with an injury and Kaka will replace him. That gives a huge blow to Brazil, who is already without Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Roberto Firminho and Neymar, now look for the other three teams to possibly give the Brazilians a run for their money.


Ecuador (2-1-0): Ecuador is led by the Valencia's in Enner and Antonio who compete in the Premier League and are some of the most dangerous players on the pitch when Ecuador has them playing in top form. Look for Ecuador to create some opportunities with their speed.


Peru (1-1-1): Paolo Guerrero is the leading scorer on the team with 26 goals but also has the most caps of any Peruvian player with 67. The 32-year-old Guerrero was joint or lone top scorer at the 2011 and 2015 Copa Americas.


Haiti (0-1-2): The Haitians are one of the worst team in this tournament but Jeff Louis, the 23-year-old winger playing in France, is probably their best bet to make things happen on the ball for the tourney.


Early match to watch: Brazil v. Ecuador


Players to watch: Marquinhos [Brazil], Enner Valencia [Ecuador], Christian Cueva [Peru] and Jeff Louis [Haiti]



Group C


Uruguay (3-0-0): Uruguay is one of the most talented teams in the tournament with a large number of world-class players that include Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up top. They should be the group favorites, unless Mexico triumphs, however look for Uruguay to advance into the knockout round.


Mexico (2-0-1): 'El Tri' is a very capable team of topping Uruguay but in order to do so, Mexico will have to get past two determined teams in the group stage in Jamaica and Venezuela, both whom have tremendous athletes who compete at a high level.


Venezuela (0-1-2): Venezuela might be the surprise of the tournament since they have one of the more prolific and young scorers in Salomon Rondon who is the leading scorer his national team with 14 goals in only 47 caps.


Jamaica (0-1-2): Don't count out Jamaica if you think they will be just another pushover in the group stage. Jamaica has seven players on its Copa America roster that play in the Premier League in England and seven others who compete in the MLS.


Early match to watch: Mexico v. Uruguay


Players to watch: Salomon Rondon [Venezuela], Wes Morgan [Jamaica], Jurgen Damm [Mexico] and Edinson Cavani [Uruguay]



Group D


Argentina (3-0-0): Lionel Messi is arguably the best player in the world. One could argue, of all-time as Pele acknowledged that he is almost as good. After leading his team to the World Cup final in 2014 and the 2015 Copa America finale, Messi and his team can only go up from here.


Chile (2-0-1): Alexis Sanchez fought off injuries and fatigue for much of the season at Arsenal. When he's on, he's a tireless runner and one of the game's most dynamic and threatening attackers. If he finds his form, along with Arturo Vidal, Chile can play with anyone.


Panama (1-0-2): Ismael Diaz [Panama] The 19-year-old striker is the only Panamanian player plying his trade in Europe, for FC Porto. He scored 13 goals for the Porto B team. He scored four times for Panama’s U-20 team during the 2015 CONCACAF Championships.


Bolivia (0-0-3): Aside from Haiti, Bolivia might be other team in the tournament fighting to squeeze out a point during the group stage, especially since last year's first and second place team are in the same group stage.



Early match to watch: Argentina v. Chile


Players to watch: Erik Lamela [Argentina], Eduardo Vargas [Chile], Anibal Godoy [Panama] and Yasmani Duk [Bolivia]