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2016 SBI Copa America Preview: Group C


Group C may not exactly be the Group of Death, but it does feature three teams very capable of advancing to the knockout phase.

Uruguay is no stranger to winning this competition, hoisting the Copa America trophy four times in their history. La Celeste‘s most recent triumph came in 2011, making them likely favorites to advance out of this group. Even without Luis Suarez, attacker Edinson Cavani and the team’s veteran backline will be enough to provide stability for the South American nation.

Along with Uruguay, CONCACAF sides Mexico and Jamaica will look to make their impression on the group, particularly El Tri who boasts loads of talent and depth. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side features star attacker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, as well as key playmakers Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado.

For Jamaica, the squad includes several MLS talents such as Giles Barnes, Simon Dawkins and Kemar Lawrence, while also boasting an assortment of players that feature for English sides.

Finally, Venezuela has advanced past the group stage in only three of their 15 Copa America appearances. The struggling CONMEBOL side won’t be seen as much of a threat from their three opponents, making head coach Rafael Dudamel and co. heavy underdogs.

Here’s a closer look at Group C:





Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

MEXICO vs. URUGUAY — 8 p.m.

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

June 9

URUGUAY vs. VENEZUELA — 7:30 p.m.

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MEXICO vs. JAMAICA — 10 p.m.

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

June 13


NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

URUGUAY vs. JAMAICA — 10 p.m.

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Giles Barnes, Garath McCleary, Wes Morgan, Andre Blake

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: This year’s Copa America marks the second time in Jamaica’s history being invited to the tournament. In 2015, the Reggae Boyz exited in the group stage, after three consecutive 1-0 defeats.

OUTLOOK: Arguably the biggest CONCACAF sleeper in the competition, Jamaica has the talent to make a run. Starting with goalkeeper Andre Blake and a solid backline anchored by Leicester City’s Wes Morgan, this is a side that could very well shock Mexico and Uruguay to advance to the knockout phase. The biggest question for the team will be where the goals come from. Captain and midfielder Rodolph Austin leads Jamaica in goals (7), while Houston Dynamo forward Giles Barnes only has three international goals. It’s likely they’ll bail out in the group stage, but the team will surely go down swinging.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Guillermo Ochoa

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: 2016 will be Mexico’s 10th entrance into the Copa America, and El Tri have found success in the primarily South American tournament. While the Mexicans have yet to hoist the title, the team has previously finished runners’ up twice and in third place on three occasions.

OUTLOOK: Outside of Giovani dos Santos opting not to accept a call up for the tournament, this Mexico squad looks to be as strong on paper as many of the Copa America favorites. Led by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez up front, El Tri have one of the most complete rosters in the competition. Veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has come up huge in net for Mexico in the past, and the experienced backline includes Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar. This squad could very make a run at the final four.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Cristian Rodriguez, Nicolas Lodeiro

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Dating back to the first South American Championship (now Copa America) exactly 100 years ago, Uruguay has always found success in the competition. Uruguay is a 15-time champion in the tournament, with their most recent triumph coming in 2011.

OUTLOOK: Everyone knows Luis Suarez, but it’ll be the other 22 players that must step up for Uruguay if they are to make a run in this year’s tournament. Playing without Suarez for at least the group stage, possibly longer, doesn’t bode well for a team that has one of the top strikers in the world, but it’s doable. In his absence, Edinson Cavani’s role becomes that much more important, while the team’s midfield and backline will have to remain stout. Regardless of Suarez’s availability, Oscar Tabarez and his team should advance from Group C, but how far remains to be seen.


PLAYERS TO WATCH: Salomon Rondon, Tomas Rincon, Roberto Rosales, Alejandro Guerra

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Venezuela has only entered the competition since 1967, and the team has had very little success. The squad’s fourth-place finish in 2011 marked their best placement in their Copa America tenure, and was only their third time advancing past the group stage.

OUTLOOK: Realistically, the expectations won’t be very high for Venezuela. Not only will the team be forced to take on three high-quality opponents, but the squad simply isn’t all that deep. Outside of Salomon Rondon, the team’s leading goalscorer, finding the back of the net will be tricky for a side that struggles to generate on the attacking end. Best case scenario would likely be to overcome Jamaica for third, but that is a stretch.

How do you see Group C shaping up? How will Uruguay fare without Suarez in group play? Can Jamaica make a run at the knockout phase?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. By the way, this page is currently incorrectly coming up when you click on the Group B link. Hope this is fixed soon.

  2. Very likely Mexico and Uruguay go through. If one of those two wins their match on Sunday it’s likely that one will top the group, but I’m betting both could decide to settle for a draw if there isn’t a quick goal, in which case both will try to score as much as possible against Jamaica and Venezuela. I see Jamaica having a small chance to somehow make it through if they’re very lucky, and Venezuela probably will head home after three games.

  3. Although Venezuela should yield an easy 3 points, I think Jamaica is a pretty heavy underdog to advance. Mexico will have a home game in front of 90,000 rabid fans, and Uruguay may be in need of a result against them in the group’s final fixture.


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