Brazil seek Copa America hat-trick

Updated: 28 June 2011 16:45 IST

Training just outside Buenos Aires, Brazil are honing their game plan for the 43rd Copa America, starting on Friday, as the five-times world champions chase a third straight win in the international game's oldest event.

Brazil seek Copa America hat-trick

Buenos Aires:

Training just outside Buenos Aires, Brazil are honing their game plan for the 43rd Copa America, starting on Friday, as the five-times world champions chase a third straight win in the international game's oldest event.


But if re-asserting regional dominance would put a big feather in the cap of coach Mano Menezes, both the Brazilians and their Argentinian hosts have an eye fixed on the 2014 World Cup.

Given Argentina's failure to land a major trophy at senior level since their 14th Copa triumph in Ecuador in 1993 - six Copas and five World Cups ago - the pressure is mainly on the Albiceleste.

Brazil can, in contrast, claim to be moulding a work in progress which is not supposed to go on show until the World Cup itself.

Given the World Cup records in particular of both countries, many believe that the Copa is all about Argentina and Brazil.

But both are acutely aware of at least one side which have tripped them up in the past.

That side is Uruguay, who proved the pick of the continental crop at last year's World Cup finals, outdoing both of its illustrious neighbours by reaching the semi-finals.

It was Uruguay, too, who emphatically rained on Brazil's parade in the 1950 final by winning 2-1 in Rio's Maracana. Brazil may have coloured much of World Cup history yellow since that day - but the wound they suffered all those years ago still festers.

The Uruguayans have also stunned Argentina on more than one occasion - not least in winning the 1916 South American Championship.

With Brazil more preoccupied by the World Cup to the extent they won just three Copas up to 1989 - it was Argentina and Uruguay who slugged it out - and the latter again shocked their hosts in the 1987 semi-finals, notwithstanding the then World Cup holders boasted a Diego Maradona in his pomp.

Uruguay share the record of Copa wins - 14 - with Argentina, to just eight for Brazil, albeit the Brazilians have won four out of the last five.

Carlos Tevez, who hopes to create a deadly tandem with Lionel Messi in the Argentinian attack, told Clarin newspaper earlier this month after flying back from a successful season with Manchester City that: "I am dying to win the Copa. I played in the last two finals which we lost to Brazil. But now we will have home support behind us and this will be key."

But Brazil will, as ever, be the major threat.

While Argentina have laboured to find a winning formula since the halycon days of Maradona and company, the Selecao have landed the 2002 World Cup triumph and a string of Copa crowns.

Argentina coach Sergio Batista, selected by Argentinian Federation president Julio Grondona to pick up the pieces after the World Cup mauling by Germany last summer, can at least point to his 2008 Olympic success while he has also overseen prestigious friendly wins recently against both Spain and Brazil.

But those matches were followed by losses to Nigeria and Poland and already Batista is in the line of critical fire both from his bosses and the fans.

Real Madrid`s wide man Angel Di Maria says that Argentina must ensure they combine to help Messi show his top form.

"We have got to show Argentina have it in us to win the title. That means getting the ball, moving it around and linking up with Leo."

Previous Copas have been the platform for grooming young stars in the making - previous editions saw the likes of Ronaldo and Rivaldo emerge for Brazil.

If the likes of Messi have been around for several years this year will be no diffeent as Brazil look to their prodigy Neymar, currently of Santos but coveted by a strong of top European clubs, not least Chelsea.

With three years to the World Cup, which coach Menezes says is the chief target, there is time for such talent to be given its head and to blossom despite no qualifiers to test the mettle of their new gneration.



Topics : Football Brazil Argentina
Related Articles
Champions League: Borussia Dortmund Hold Real Madrid as Porto, Sevilla Make Last 16
Champions League: Borussia Dortmund Hold Real Madrid as Porto, Sevilla Make Last 16
FIFA Club World Cup Set to Begin Under The Shadow of Chapecoense Plane Tragedy
FIFA Club World Cup Set to Begin Under The Shadow of Chapecoense Plane Tragedy
Real Madrid Demand Respect For 'Exemplary' Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid Demand Respect For 'Exemplary' Cristiano Ronaldo
Show Comments
Advertisement