Colombia and Ecuador to share the spoils
The troubled 2021 version of Copa América finally gets underway on Sunday with a pair of matches in the North Zone. Colombia, the hitherto hosts of this year's competition, get their campaign going with a game against Ecuador. Losing host status also means being denied home advantage, and that could prove to be the leveller in this encounter. Read our preview here:
Juan more time
Head coach Reinaldo Rueda arguably has the most star-studded squad outside of the perennial favourites pair of Brazil and Argentina, and many of his charges have vast experience in the highest levels of competition for both club and country. Few embody this more than the versatile form of Juan Cuadrado, who has been utilised down the right flank in almost every conceivable role during his glittering career. Here, he will be operating in the half-space as the right-sided forward of a front three that will look to get forward whenever possible, shifting Ecuador outwards and back in to create space for the runners from midfield to get into. The Juventus veteran's assist in injury time for Junior loanee Miguel Borja ensured a last gasp draw at home to Leo Messi and co. in CONMEBOL qualification for Qatar, and they certainly have the capability to trouble the scoresheet at least twice again.
La Tri have most of their stalwarts in midfield too, but also a smattering of new emerging talents. 19 year old Moisés Caicedo was signed by Graham Potter for Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion on deadline day of the winter transfer window, and whilst he has yet to make his bow for the Seagulls, that will almost certainly change once the 2021/2022 season gets underway, having made an immediate splash for his national side by becoming the first 21st century born goalscorer in the continent's World Cup qualifying stage. Assuming a repeat of the formation is on show from the defeat to bitter rivals Peru, he'll be in a central two, looking to feed Toluca #10 Michael Estrada with passes and through balls to get beyond sole striker Jordy Caicedo (no relation).
It's hard to know whether the shift from Colombia to Brazil of hosting rights at the last possible juncture due to COVID-19 will have any appreciable on-field impact for Los Cafeteros, but they're not set up to keep things tight at the back, and the same can be said for opponents Ecuador. bet365 have odds of 2.00 for both teams to score.