Bolivia's Pedro Azogue (L) and Argentina's Lionel Messi vie for the ball during the Copa America Centenario football tournament match in Seattle, Washington, United States, on June 14, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / Jason REDMOND
Bolivia's Pedro Azogue (L) and Argentina's Lionel Messi vie for the ball during the Copa America Centenario football tournament match in Seattle, Washington, United States, on June 14, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jason REDMOND

Havana : The quarter-finals of the 2016 Copa America football tournament are surely full of suspense and excitement as the last eight teams are either tournament favorites or dark horses that toppled traditional powers during the group stage. The eight teams alive include an outstanding Argentina, while Mexico and Chile, two strong candidates, will eliminate each other and a careful look is recommended at Colombia and the United States.

The first quarter-final will be on Thursday when the US will face Ecuador. On Friday, a South American high-voltage game will be held between ascending Peru and the Colombian team led by James Rodriguez. On Saturday, Mexico and Chile will play in Santa Clara, while Argentina and Venezuela will face each other in Foxborough Stadium near Boston.

The favourite teams include Argentina, with the showman Lionel Messi and a powerful team ready to win Copa America, after the elimination of both Uruguay and Brazil. Mexico, who play like being home thanks to the thousands of Mexican fans in the US territory, have remained undefeated since the leadership of Colombia coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Chile, on the other hand, have been unstable but are the current champion.

 Don’t be over confident, says Messi

Havana : Argentine star Lionel Messi was respectful of Venezuela, ahead of their quarter-final clash in the Copa America Centernario. Messi said: “Venezuela is a complicated rival. If the team got here, it is because they deserve to be here. Venezuela comes from a very complicated group and almost finished top.”

The victory against Bolivia allowed Argentina to finish as leader of Group D with a perfect record including 10 goals in favour and one against. They will face Venezuela, the second place of Group C, but Messi prefers to be cautious, reports Xinhua. “We have to prepare the game as we always do, to try to keep the same level because we are going to face a tough rival,” Messi added.

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said facing Venezuela in the quarter-finals marks “the beginning of a decisive stage” of the regional tournament. “Venezuela played a great match (against Mexico). They have lots of strengths and great players. A decisive stage will begin, where teams are forced to win if they want to stay alive. We hope to be at the right level,” Martino said. The game against Venezuela will be played on Saturday at Foxborough Stadium in Massachusetts.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in