Copa America

2024 Copa America Tips: Argentina will win at 7/4 but Uruguay can make final

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi will lead Argentina into their defence of the Copa America

Dan Fitch takes a look at the Copa America contenders and he has his money on Argentina to retain their crown.

  • Argentina worthy favourites

  • Brazil must find balance in attack

  • Bielsa and Uruguay can make final

Copa kicks off in the USA

The Copa America kicks off in the early hours of Friday morning and it will have a distinctly different flavour.

For the 2024 tournament will take place outside of South America. The USA are hosting, with six teams from CONCACAF joining the ten regular nations from CONMEBOL to create a 16-side tournament.

Four groups of four teams will compete, with the top two from each progressing to the quarter-finals. It will be a tantalising taste of what we might expect in terms of atmosphere and spectacle from the 2026 World Cup, which USA will co-host alongside Canada and Mexico.

The action starts tomorrow morning in Atlanta, when the Canadians will be in action against the reigning Copa America and World Cup holders Argentina. Let's give you the lowdown on the main contenders to win the tournament.

Argentina have smooth passage to final

Argentina are the 7/42.75 favourites to retain the Copa America. Since winning the World Cup in 2022, Lionel Scaloni's side have played 14 games and won 13, with Uruguay being the only team to have inflicted a defeat.

The bulk of the squad that have been so successful in recent years remain in place. That includes Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, who are both now 36. When Messi is in the team, he is normally afforded a free role in a 4-4-2, with Scaloni often reverting to a 4-3-3 when his skipper is unavailable.

A couple of teenage talents have made the squad for this tournament. The Inter attacking midfielder Valentin Carboni has two caps, while Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho has five.

Argentina are just 1/41.25 to win Group A, with Chile expected to be the main opposition at 11/26.50, Peru and Canada both out at 9/110.00.

If La Albiceleste win the Group A as expected, they will meet the runners-up from Group B, with the reverse being true. Eduador are favourites to win that group at 13/102.30, with Mexico at 6/42.50, Venezuela at 9/25.50 and Jamaica at 15/28.50.

The structure of the tournament sees the winners of those quarter-finals meeting in the semis, so there doesn't look like there's any team on that side of the draw to stop Argentina reaching another final. Ecuador were beaten 1-0 by Argentina in a friendly at the start of the month, while Mexico have lost three of their last four games.

This is reflected by odds of just 8/131.61 for Argentina to reach the final. Messi is the favourite to win the Golden Boot at 3/14.00, with Julian Alvarez at 6/17.00 and Lautaro Martinez at 8/19.00, being the other Argentine contenders.

Bielsa's Uruguay a threat to the boys from Brazil

The other side of the draw is much more open, with it containing the second favourites Brazil at 9/43.25, third ranked Uruguay at 5/16.00, fourth favourites Colombia at 10/111.00 and the hosts USA, who are fifth in the betting to win the Copa America at 12/113.00.

Marcelo Bielsa's Uruguay are the favourites to win Group C at 8/111.73, alongside USA at 11/82.38, Bolivia at 14/115.00 and Panama at 20/121.00. The hosts were recently thrashed 5-1 by Colombia, putting the USA coach Gregg Berhalter under pressure, but they bounced back with a 1-1 friendly draw against Brazil.

Uruguay have beaten Brazil at home and Argentina away since Bielsa took charge in 2023. The veteran coach has a strong core of players to provide stability such as Jose Gimenez, Ronald Araujo, Manuel Ugarte, Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde, while in attack is Darwin Nunez, who scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Mexico earlier this month.

They look to be on a collision course with Brazil for the semi-finals. Brazil are the favourites to win Group D at 2/51.40, with Colombia at 11/43.75, Paraguay at 9/110.00 and Costa Rica at 25/126.00.

Brazil are unbeaten since Dorival Junior took charge of them earlier this year (P4 W2 D2), beating England and drawing with Spain.

Junior has plenty of defensive talent and a midfield trio that looks both solid and creative, with a combination of the Premier League players Bruno Guimaraes, Joao Gomes and Lucas Paqueta. It is in attack where there is a challenge to find a balance, with Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Raphinha making up a front three that lacks a recognised central striker.

If Brazil are without a cutting edge, then Uruguay could prove to be to strong for them in the semi-finals, with Bielsa's side 13/53.60 to reach the final. The main Golden Boot contenders from this side of the draw are Vinicius Junior at 4/15.00 and Nunez at 5/16.00.

Now head to our Euro 2024 HUB for today's best tips!

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