Being the host often times brings about more pressure for some players, something which won’t be an exception for U.S.A as they would be hoping of hosting and winning the tournament at home soil.
A good start for the home team could brighten their chances of qualifying from what appears to be a group of ‘death’ but then, coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has been saddled with the responsibility of conjuring the magic of leading the team to glory knows that he has no choice but to win the trophy.
Players like Brad Guzan, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman will shoulder more responsibilities for this Yankees team.
Gifted newcomers like Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood are changing the face of the team.
While they may be fixtures at the World Cup in two years, their ability to impact the Copa is uncertain.
Tipped as the favourites to qualify from this group, Colombia are expected to go all the way to the final all things been equal.
Despite missing the services of prolific strikers such as Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez for the competition, the team still looks strong with players like James Rodrigues and Carlos Becca, who have both proved themselves at both the club and international level.
Coach Jose Pekerman’s side have been out of colour of late, but they do have the talent and skill to win their second Copa America, after their triumph in 2001.
Los Cafeteros fell to Argentina on penalty kicks in last year’s Copa quarters, scoring only one goal in four games. This year’s Centenario holds great promise for them.
Having finished in the quarter finals twice in 2001 and 2005, Costa Rica will be keen to better that performance. But their main objective will lie in squeezing out of the group, and finishing in the top two places, which does not look easy.
Their progression in the competition will more or less depend on their striker Joel Campbell, who can use his skill and pace against his opponents, to score goals. But football is not a one man game; hence other players also need to play at a similar level to defeat teams like U.S. and Paraguay.
They will also look forward to the services of Keylor Nevas, who is their star goalkeeper.
Paraguay have always been a solid defensive unit, making life difficult for opponents to score goals, and their ploy might not change at this competition as well.
Their coach, Ramon Diaz, should make some clear strategies, depending on their opponents, which makes it rather very interesting in the group.
They will mostly rely on their counter-attacking ability, where Dynamo Kyiv player, Derlis Gonzalez will need to shine.
With Colombia being tagged as favourites, Paraguay, if they play quality football, can get the better of Costa Rica and USA, and reach the last eight.
Traditionally a defensive juggernaut, Paraguay is anchored by Club América defender Miguel Samudio.
One name that cause shivers in the spine of most football teams around the world is Brazil and they remain a team to beat in any competitions considering their rich history in the Copa America.
Regardless of the absence of Barcelona striker, Neymar who chose to feature at the 2016 Olympic Games that will be hosted in Rio, the team never seem depleted as they will be parading the best of players such as Willian (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) and Hulk (Zenit). These players could provide the much-needed cutting edge in the attacking department of the side.
Also, the presence of legend Kaka (Orlando City) could add another positivity to Dunga’s side.
While Brazil remains the Group B favorite and boasts a typically skillful midfield that is among the best in the tournament, the lack of obvious goal-scoring punch (Neymar) could mean trouble in the knockout rounds.
The No. 12 ranked football nation in the world could join Brazil as the other team in the knockout stages of the Copa America 2016 based on team’s potential.
Gustavo Quinteros’ side may not be every pundit’s favourite team but being grouped alongside teams like Haiti and Peru have given the two-time Copa America fourth-place winners a better edge this time around.
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) remains one of the key names to hog limelight in the Ecuador squad. Over the years, the winger, who made a name for himself as being a great sprinter, has, however, lost the edge. At 30, he has mostly been used as a full back. Whether Quinteros can use Valencia’s powers well again, remains to be seen.
Enner Valencia (West Ham) could also remain one of the key forwards for Ecuador in the tournament.
Not much is expected from the two-time Copa America winners this season, as they will miss the likes of Claudio Pizarro and Juan Manuel Vargas in the Copa America Centenario.
The terrific duo have, however, pledged to travel with the team to the United States and support them from the bench. The absence of the key players may not dent their hopes of putting up a real fight.
Peru come into the tournament at the back of a whopping 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago and a 3-1 victory against El Salvador in their international friendly games, all in a span of six days.
All the seven goals, amazingly, were scored by seven different scorers over the two games — Cristian Benavente, Edison Flores, Beto Da Silva, Christian Cueva, Raul Ruidiaz, Andy Polo and Yoshimar Yotun.
Their key players are Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo), Christian Cueva (Toluca).
The 71-ranked football team in the world have little to no chance of qualifying from the group stage. If they even manage to get at least a win in the competition, that would turn out to be a milestone in itself.
Haiti suffered a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Colombia in their pre-Copa America 2016 friendly game.
Key players arw Johny Placide (Reims) and Sony Norde (Mohun Bagan).
Mexico showed the football world they can pull the shocks when they defeated Brazil to claim the gold medal of the 2012 Olympics.
Mexico enters the summer tournament on an 11-game unbeaten run in competitive games, including eight wins in a row, and it has yet to concede a goal in five games under manager Juan Carlos Osorio (five games).
It balances an experienced, battle-tested defense, a savvy midfield, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez up top.
His pace and instincts in front of goal are among the best in the world, and his continued good form will be imperative if Mexico is to live up to its potential in this tournament.
Uruguay are sweating over the fitness of striker Luis Suarez whose hamstring injury causes palpitations in the camp of the 2011 Copa America winners.
Uruguay have enough quality throughout its side and is dogged enough defensively that it can still give Mexico a run for the group even without Suarez, but the task will be tougher than it looked a month ago.
If Suarez is out, or limited, the onus will be on Cavani to score (which he’s done plenty this season at PSG), and also come through in big moments—something he hasn’t done at PSG.
However, Cavani does have a stellar record scoring for his national team. Either way, his ability to deal with the pressure of being Uruguay’s primary scoring option will help determine his team’s fate.
Earlier we looked at how dangerous Uruguay could be but If Suarez’s injury does affect Uruguay’s effectiveness in this tournament, Jamaica would be a good bet to take advantage and possibly nip the second spot in the group.
However, the team will be reliant on veteran Giles Barnes for goals. Incidentally they have not been in great form since finishing as runner-up in last year’s Gold Cup.
Wes Morgan, Jamaica is the captain of surprise EPL champion Leicester City.
The central defender obviously has the leadership qualities one wants in a back line marshal. Morgan is also a commanding physical presence, and his matchups with dangerous attackers like Chicharito, Cavani, and others will be fascinating to watch.
Venezuela is another nation that could surprise, with intriguing individuals in all three lines.
However, the team have not inspired confidence of late, currently sitting last in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying.
There aren’t a whole lot of reasons to think La Vinotinto could turn that around in Copa America.
Salomon Rondon is coming off a solid debut season in the English Premier League with West Bromwich Albion. He’ll hope to repeat that feat, albeit while wearing different colors.
Argentina are the overwhelming favourites to lift the 100th edition of the Copa America.
Whether the current court case which star player Lionel Messi is embroiled in-of tax offenses will hurt the team is another debate.
Argentina have a ridiculously good squad, particularly in forward areas.
Interestingly Gonzalo Higuain, whose missed chances cost Argentina at the World Cup and 2015 Copa America, is in the form of his life for Napoli.
Under new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Chilean national team should be forgiven if they don’t really want to participate at the tournament.
La Roja waited 99 years for its first Copa title and now must defend it only 12 months later as part of a lucrative celebration in the U.S. But Chile also should be feared.
If motivated, this is a team that should ease through the first round and then make a run at repeating.
In goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, defender Gary Medel, midfielder Arturo Vidal and forward Alexis Sánchez, among others, Chile has players that star at some of Europe’s top clubs.
Chile are on a title defense, and going through the group shouldn’t be a problem. Later on, they’re expected to fight every team they encounter, what could maybe lead them to the final again.
Last summer Panama were really close to the Gold Cup final, only to have the referee award Mexico a game-tying penalty in a 10th minute of added time; another awarded penalty cost Panama the game in the subsequent extra-time. They later beat the host United States in a shootout to claim third.
The current Bolivian outfit is in transition, having lost top striker Marcelo Martins (54 appearances) and former captain Ronald Raldes (89 appearances) to international retirement in September.
Forward Juan Carlos Arce of the domestic league is now the team’s most-capped player, with 50, while nine on the 23-man roster have four appearances or fewer.
La Verde gave the nation some reason for optimism at last year’s Copa America, where they drew 0-0 with Mexico before defeating Ecuador 3-2, achieving their first win in the tournament for 18 years.
As one of the weakest teams in the competition, Bolivia will hope to beat Panama and maybe upset Argentina or Chile to give them any chance to progress.