SoccerCopa America

What’s been going on in the Copa America?

The Copa America has kicked off with a bang, delivering a thrilling first gameweek full of unexpected twists and high-octane action. As the continent’s premier football tournament gets underway, fans are already buzzing with excitement and controversy. From problematic pitches to Brazil’s surprising stumble in their opener, the early stages have been anything but predictable. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi and his Argentine squad have made a strong start, hinting at a potential title run. The USA, led by their own “Captain America,” are also making waves with impressive performances. Dive into the drama and discover what’s been shaking up Copa America in this action-packed first week.

What’s the problem with these pitches?

In the early stages of the Copa, there was one constant that tied together all the teams; criticism of the playing surfaces. In the USA, the biggest, brightest, and best stadiums are American Football stadiums, such as the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Yet the NFL is played on turf, as opposed to grass. Footballers are used to playing on grass, and it is a lot more effective for injury prevention to play on grass, partially due to the amount of changing direction that players do.

365Scores Game Stats of Brazil vs Costa Rica
(Via 365Scores)

Despite their win over Canada, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni was critical of the pitch quality in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. He described the surface as “not up to standard for these players”. Similarly, Peru manager Jorge Fossati determined it as a potential reason his captain, Luis Advincula, had to be substituted with pain in an Achilles tendon. He said “I realise that this is a grass field today but it’s not normal grass. It’s a grass they bring in from elsewhere. I’m not a doctor but I’ve been around football for a few years. Achilles injuries can be caused by that as well.”

USA midfielder Weston McKennie has also been critical of the pitches. It’s only the first week. With the Club World Cup taking place in the States in 2025 and the World Cup in 2026, America has to get this fixed as soon as possible!

Brazil somehow didn’t win their first game – was Ronaldinho right?

Before the Copa America 2024 kicked off, Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho expressed severe doubts about Brazil’s national team, even going as far as to declare that he wouldn’t be watching their matches due to his disappointment with the squad’s current state. His harsh critique, which many fans and pundits initially dismissed, has gained credibility after Brazil’s underwhelming start to the tournament.

In their opening game, Brazil was held to a lackluster 0-0 draw by Costa Rica, despite dominating possession and creating numerous scoring opportunities. The absence of Neymar, sidelined with a serious knee injury, was really felt as the team struggled to convert chances into goals. Key players like Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo failed to break through a resolute Costa Rican defense, leaving the Brazilian fans frustrated and the team with much to prove in the upcoming matches. Ronaldinho’s concerns about the team’s effectiveness and strategic direction appear to have been validated, raising questions about Brazil’s prospects in the remainder of the tournament.

Lionel Messi and co. are off to a good start

Argentina commenced their Copa America 2024 campaign with a solid 2-0 win over Canada at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Julian Álvarez opened the scoring early in the second half, tapping in a pass from Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister.

Despite Lionel Messi being heavily involved throughout the match and grabbing an assist, it was Lautaro Martínez who sealed the victory in the 88th minute with a clinical finish. Argentina dominated possession and created numerous chances, giving Canada no real chances as Lisandro Martinez and Cristian Romero cleaned everything up at the back. This performance set a positive tone for Argentina as they aim to defend their title​

Angel Di Maria is hungry for another Copa America title!
(Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

USA and Captain America are looking good in the Copa America!

The USA Men’s National Team, led by Captain America himself, Christian Pulisic, made an impressive start to their Copa America 2024 campaign with a commanding 2-0 victory over Bolivia. Playing at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the American squad showcased their dominance from the onset. Pulisic, living up to his nickname, scored himself and was pivotal in orchestrating the team’s attacks and creating scoring opportunities.

Captain America is leading by example!
(Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Coach Gregg Berhalter expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, noting that the players executed the game plan effectively and showed great chemistry on the field. This victory is a promising start for the USA as they prepare for tougher challenges ahead against Panama and Uruguay in their group.

The USA are looking like a serious team and a sending a warning shot to the rest of Copa America. They want to win it in their home country. Ahead of the World Cup in 2026, the USA are constantly improving. They reached the knockout stages of the last World Cup and their players play on the biggest international stages. If the investment into American football (as in football in America, not the NFL) keeps happening, they’ll continue to go from strength to strength.

By Nicky Helfgott / @NickyH3lfgott on Twitter (X)

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