Copa America: Brazil - Haiti
While the European championship is yet to begin, the American version of the tournament known as Copa America is in full swing with 16 participants competing for their spots in the play-offs. This yearÃ‚Â´s Copa America is particularly prestigious and ceremonial as it also is a celebration of the centenary of CONMEBOL, the most important American football association. Hosted by the United States of America, the tournament is expected to be a highly prestigious football event that Ã¢â‚¬â€œ according to some experts Ã¢â‚¬â€œ might even surpass EURO 2016 in terms of football quality. Traditionally, Brazil are among the biggest favourites to win the cup but their star studded squad were not overly impressive in the opener, having been held to a draw by Ecuador. Consequently, the Canaries must beat their next rivals Haiti who they will face in Orlando on Thursday at 1:30 PM (CET).
Brazil have won Copa America eight times, which makes them the third most successful team in the history of the tournament after Uruguay (15 trophies) and Argentina (14 trophies). The Brazilians have to make do without their brightest star Neymar (FC Barcelona did not allow him to play in the tournament) but even without him, the team features a number of world-class players such as Alves, Filipe LuÃƒÂs, Marquinhos, Casemiro and Jonas. Yet, despite their unquestionable individual quality, the Brazilian team were held to a goalless draw by Ecuador in the first game. After the disappointing result, the Canaries got under pressure to produce a better result in the next match as another failure would greatly complicate their position in the group. However, beating Haiti Ã¢â‚¬â€œ debutant and of the tournamentÃ‚Â´s clearest underdogs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ should not be a big deal for DungaÃ‚Â´s men.
Haiti rank among the oldest Caribbean teams but as for international honours and trophies, the team have not produced any major achievement. Les Grenadiers had even never participated in Copa America before which makes them debutants this year. In their opening duel, Haiti faced Peru who were expected to prevail in the game. Despite fighting a way more experienced side, Haiti gave a great performance in the match, holding their South American opponents at bay for most of the game. Unfortunately for Haiti, the Peruvians managed to score a goal via Guerrero in the 61st minute, taking the lead in the match. Despite a great effort, Les Grenadiers failed to equalize the score, suffering a 0:1 defeat in their very first Copa America match. In their next fixture, Haiti will take on ever bigger favourites Ã¢â‚¬â€œ five time world champions Brazil. The last time these two sides met was in August 2004 when Brazil hammered Haiti 6:0 in a friendly match.
After claiming a 0:0 draw in their opener, Brazil are now determined to gain their first victory at Copa America. With their last Copa America triumph dating back to 2007, the Brazilians are looking to win the tournament this year again but they need to progress from the group first. Therefore, beating their next rivals Haiti is their highest priority right now. Will Dani Alves and co. atone for the disappointing outcome of the first match and claim the coveted victory against Haiti? We will know by Thursday morning.
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