By Tony Attwood
Copa America Centenario is what is happening in the US just at the moment, celebrating 100 years of CONMEBOL, the South American Football Federation, and of Copa América. It is being held outside South America for the first time – in the USA in fact, (in case you haven’t been following events) in agreement with CONCACAF (the Federation of North and Central America and the Caribbean).
Untold sent Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw to the US to cover the games, but he seems to have got lost, so I’ll do my best in the meanwhile.
All ten teams from CONMEBOL are automatically included along with six teams from CONCACAF, with the USA and Mexico also automatically qualifying.
Costa Rica came in as champions of the Central American Football Union having won the 2014 Copa Centroamericana, Jamaica were given a place as the champions of the Caribbean Football Union having won the 2014 Caribbean Cup, and Haiti and Panama joined in as the winners from the other four highest finishers in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup who hadn’t qualified through any other route.
But since this is a competition held under Fifa regulations we have also had all the usual pre-match corruption that we’ve come to know and expect.
A fair number of sports executive arrests have been made including those involved with media company Datisa (trading as “Wematch”), which itself is linked to Full Play, Torneos and Traffic Sports Marketing. In 2014, José Hawilla of Traffic Sports pleaded guilty to corruption, racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering – so your usual sort of Fifa related crimes.
The FBI said that bribes totalling $20million were involved. Datisa had their bank account frozen and CONCACAF finally pulled the plug on them. I am not sure any of this actually made the news in England, but you know, we have to ignore some of this so we can enter the World Cup without thinking that we are associating with criminals.
Anyway, Arsenal have three players involved, including one who has already played.
- CHILE: Alexis Sanchez
- COLOMBIA: David Ospina
- COSTA RICA: Joel Campbell
So all three will be back late from their holidays, and hardly refreshed, but they could be back a little earlier than players in the Euros.
Group A kicked us off last night – that group containing Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, USA. The Columbian team being Oooooooooospina, Arias, C Zapata, Murillo, Diaz, Perez, Torres, Cuadrado, James, Cardona, Bacca.
The general commentary in the media that have bothered to cover the competition is that the USA aren’t going anywhere any time, but Klinsmann talked the team up before the kick off saying, “It’s a difficult start, but that’s what we want. Our guys are ready. We’ve prepared well for this tournament and we want to match ourselves with the best in South America. The players can’t wait to get on the field.
“To be part of a Copa America is something very special. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we want them to take advantage of that.”
Columbia got to the quarterfinals at last year’s tournament and for this match goal.com summed it up like this…
While the USA eventually settled and enjoyed some extended periods of possession, the side never troubled goalkeeper David Ospina, with Dempsey’s long-range effort just past the half hour, which almost curled inside the post, the only real highlight for the home team
The man from the Guardian wrote a little piece before the match saying
USA are in decent form coming into this match – they’ve won their last four, and seem to have solved some tactical issues – but this is a test against a good team, and they need not to lose. Predictions? I think Colombia might sneak a 2-1. But remember: when it comes to making bets on football matches, I am a cretin.
Which I thought was rather good as the result was 2-0.
Next up with an Arsenal player involved is Costa Rica v Paraguay at 10pm UK time. Chile play Argentina on Tuesday morning at 3am (UK time).
- Blimey – the Vardy bid looks like it is true, and there is a release clause, and it wasn’t all made up
- Infantino under suspicion of being Blatter II; Fifa under suspicion of being, well, Fifa.
- Memo to the Metro Newspaper. Just how miserable would you like me to be?
- The 57 players tipped to arrive (so far) and the 12 players on their way out. The Arsenal Transfer Index 2016
And on the Arsenal History site…
- Arsenal in the 1930s – the first eight episodes have been published, more to come…
- The First League Season, including a review of each player who played in that season
- Arsenal in the 1970s – the complete review of every game and every transfer
- Arsenal in the summer – the transfers, the friendlies, year by year
- Arsenal anniversaries – nearly 5000 entries
The full index to all the series is on Arsenal History Society Web Site