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Colombia to pip Paraguay, Brazil on the prowl as Copa America continues

Holly Thackeray | June 6, 2016

The intriguing 2016 Copa America, the first edition to be hosted outside of South America, has already thrown up a few surprises and a raft of enthralling contests from the group stages.

As the scuffles continue, hosts the USA are seeking to get back on track against Costa Rica after being sunk by Colombia in the curtain raiser.

As for Group A leaders the Coffee Growers, they face prickly Paraguay, while elsewhere in Pool B, big-guns Brazil must blow away Haiti after stumbling to a draw against Ecuador in their opener. It’s also an important encounter for Los Amarillos, as upcoming opponents Peru have stolen a march at the summit.

So, as the standings become ever tighter, who will feel the squeeze in the second matches of Groups A and B? Read on for Coral’s fixture thoughts and best bets.

USA v Costa Rica

  • Group A
  • Wednesday, June 8th
  • Kick-off: 01:00 BST
  • Soldier Field, Chicago
  • Live on Premier Sports

Stars and Stripes seeking first victory

Losing 2-0 to Colombia in the opening clash on their home soil was not the way Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA team would have wanted to impress themselves on the Copa America.

CONCACAF Mexico USA Soccer

So, the hosts are odds-on 4/5 favourites to rectify that by beating Costa Rica in their second attempt at scooping three points. Even a draw at 23/10 could be disastrous for the North Americans as both their forthcoming opponents and Paraguay have a point on the board already, with only one more match to go in the groups after these encounters.

Should Oscar Ramirez’s Los Ticos team pull off a shock (which is 4/1 to unfold) at Soldier Field, the USA would certainly be feeling the strain. It is a result not out of the realms of possibility, as Costa Rica boast a 14 to 13 winning record against the stuttering Stars and Stripes, with the underdogs also victorious from the last two fixture frays.

Campbell Costa Rica’s ace card

Los Ticos may not have managed to get on the scoresheet against Paraguay (with odds of 16/5 for another shut out), they do possess a pacy player in Arsenal’s Joel Campbell who loves scoring against the USA.

Costa Rica US Soccer

With two in as many of his last matches against them, Campbell is an excellent shout to score last, with his previous poaches both late in games, or punters can plump for Costa Rica at 11/2 to win by a one nil margin.

Should you fancy USA’s heroes to step up, Clint Dempsey and Captain Michael Bradley are the most likely leaders in the squad.

Colombia v Paraguay

  • Group A
  • Wednesday, June 8th
  • Kick-off: 03:30 BST
  • Rose Bowl, Pasadena
  • Live on Premier Sports

Coffee Growers can increase advantage

In comparison to the USA, Colombia could not have wished for a better beginning to the Copa America Centenario and are odds-on 8/11 shouts to make it two triumphs on the trot versus plucky Paraguay.

Always capable of forcing a splitting of spoils, there is little historically to divide these two teams, with the Coffee Growers edging a winning record 18-17, and you can back an eighth encounter to end evenly at 12/5.

Copa America Centenario Soccer US Colombia

Colombia will certainly have to avoid complacency against a La Albirroja outfit which has recently held both Brazil and Ecuador to draws in 2018 World Cup qualifying. If on form, however, the Colombians do have more than enough in the tank to clinch victory.

Rodriguez off to a great start

With so many question marks over his Real Madrid future, James Rodriguez captained his Colombia contingent to glory against the USA, answering critics in emphatic style by getting on the scoresheet. The playmaker is a great chance to be first on target against Paraguay, while Carlos Bacca will be aiming to open his 2016 Copa America account. The Coffee Growers for glory and over 2.5 goals in the game is a value 12/5.

Copa America Centenario Soccer US Colombia

While La Albirroja are a tempting at 13/2 to see out a stalemate, but Germany-based forward Dario Lezcano is their best hope of finding the net.

Brazil v Haiti

  • Group B
  • Thursday, June 9th
  • Kick-off: 00:30 BST
  • Camping World Stadium, Orlando
  • Live on Premier Sports

Samba Boys need to make statement

Brazil did little to shake off doubts surrounding their squad quality and selections for this competition after failing to find a way past Ecuador.

Still, Dunga’s Samba stars (1/6) will be expecting to have it all their own way against Haiti (outsiders at 18/1 for the win), with little chance of an upset.

Copa America Centenario Soccer Brazil Ecuador

The South American superstars should have a point to prove and be able to reinforce their title intentions here, having smashed 10 past Haiti in their two previous match-ups, with odds of 5/2 for Dunga’s men to dispatch four or more.

Brazil forwards to finally dazzle

There may be no Neymar, but Brazil have the quality to cause havoc against Haiti. Hotly tipped young-gun Gabriel Barbosa came off the bench last time and is 3/1 for the final goal this time, with Philippe Coutinho and Willian 6/5 and 6/4 to add a strike anytime respectively. Haiti are also yet to create a goal and hitman Kervens Belfort is a 6/1 chance to get off the mark.

Copa America Centenario Haiti Peru Soccer

Ecuador v Peru

  • Group B
  • Thursday, June 9th
  • Kick-off: 03:00 BST
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
  • Live on Premier Sports

Ecuador looking to leapfrog Peru

Despite their opener ending in a draw, it arrived against pool favourties Brazil, meaning Ecuador could be good value to secure safe passage. Though they need three points next up against Peru, with the Incas top of the table but having to face the star-studded Samba Boys last.

Copa America Centenario Soccer Brazil Ecuador

A draw is on the cards at 11/5, and that would still be no drama for Ecuador, who face minnows Haiti last. Still, a victory is odds-on at 17/20 and would certainly smooth any nerves.

Los Amarillos have attacking edge

West Ham United’s Enner Valencia may be on the move this summer, and is 4/1 to get scoring underway, or 5/1 for a brace or better to put himself in the shop window. Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero, meanwhile, is a cool 10/3 to notch anytime.

Copa America Centenario Haiti Peru Soccer

As for Peru, Flamengo forward Paolo Guerrero looks their best bet to be on target at 7/4 in that same anytime market.

Related

See our football page for further Copa America content.

Coral’s top tip: Back Colombia to beat Paraguay and over 2.5 goals in the game at 12/5!