Your Copa America Crash Course

So you haven’t been paying attention to the soccer tournament down in Venezuela huh?

Me neither.

But that doesn’t mean you have to go on without finding out the hotties playing. I’ve spent countless hours winding down all the tale running up and down the pitch so we can all truly enjoy “the beautiful game.”

A little info first: not all countries are represented here. Including the stars and stripes. The USMNT will be getting their own post sometime soon. I tried to have at minimum three players per position minus goalkeeper. I wanted to field a team of hotties. Yes, it adds up to more than 11.

To get us started, here is Rafeal Márquez:

I’ve decided to make it my life’s mission to lick peanut butter off his abs.

More Copa goodness, after the jump.

*players whose team is still in the cup are in color

Donieber Alexander Marangon (Doni)-Brazil, Goalkeeper

Roberto Ayala-Argentina, Centerback

Javier Zanetti-Argentina, Rightback

Maicon Douglas Sisenando (Maicon)-Brazil, Defender

Iván Córdoba-Colombia, Centerback

Rafael Márquez (Rafa)-Mexico, Centerback[Note: MMMMMM...peanut butter...]

Darío Verón-Paraguay, Defender

Pablo Aimar-Argentina, Attacking Midfielder

Gonzalo Galindo-Bolivia, Midfielder

Diego Ribas da Cunha-Brazil, Attacking Midfielder[Note: I’m going to learn Portuguese for him. And then become his wife. That's all.]

Robson de Souza (Robinho)-Brazil, Leftwinger/Striker

Luis Angel Landín-Mexico, Striker

Claudio Pizarro-Peru, Striker

The final is Brazil-Argentina in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Third place game is Mexico-Uruguay on Saturday in Caracas. I know nothing about soccer and won’t pretend to. But I have someone who does to give you a preview. The very hot and very sweet Mike from Digital Headbutt knows what he’s talking about, so his thoughts about what’s going to go down on Sunday:

We’re getting to the good game now. Trust me, no amount of fiestas on La Republica Deportiva could make Peru versus Bolivia watchable. It’s now a battle between the two best teams in the American continent, and quite possibly the world, for bragging rights and the chance to give Jozy Altidore a rude welcome to senior international soccer at the 2009 Confederations Cup. It should a very heated game, as Brazil and Argentina absolutely hate each other.

Argentina is the heavy favorite to win this year’s Copa America. They bring with them a team that could be more formidable than their World Cup team. In their five games leading up to the final, Los Albicelestes have outscored their opponents 16-3, including a 3-0 annihilation of Mexico in the semifinals.

A lot of pressure is on Argentina to win. The team has not won any championship of significance since the 1993 Copa America, an unprecedented dry spell for one of the world’s best teams. In Peru 2004, they held a 2-1 lead in the final a against Brazil heading into stoppage time, but Adriano robbed them of a title by scoring in the 93rd minute, in essence when the game was supposed to already be over. Brazil took advantage of their new opportunity, beating Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks to win. Make no mistake, they need to win this game. For pride. For revenge. To take back their place among the world’s best.

Key Players (club affiliation in parentheses)

  • Lionel Messi, striker (Barcelona). Quite possibly the best soccer player in the world right now, and he’s only 20.
  • Carlos Tevez, striker (???). Ugly as sin, but he’s the reason West Ham is still playing in the English Premier League.
  • Juan Roman Riquelme, midfielder (Boca Juniors). Has five goals in this tournament. Messi and Tevez may be the flash, but Riquelme is the centerpiece, the man that keeps team Argentina running.

Brazil is perhaps the most legendary team in all of sport. At least outside of this country, but we all know that the universe revolves around the U.S. of A. Why else would American football have grown so quickly overseas?*

If you have a hard time recognizing this Brazilian team, that’s because Brazil sent a young, experimental team to Venezuela in order to build for the future. You aren’t going to see names like Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, Dida, Cafu, and Kaká (heh heh, ka-ka). The United States took a similar approach to Copa America. However, Brazil is the soccer equivalent of pre-Coker Miami Hurricanes football. Just about anyone whom they put on the field, even their third and fourth-stringers, can compete with the best teams in the world. The USA, they’re more like Notre Dame; impressive against lesser opponents, but tends not to show up for the big games. (Our youth team notwithstanding, of course. this year they beat Brazil 2-1, and they have a real chance at winning this year’s U-20 World Cup.)

Brazil’s Copa America “B” team was embarrassed by Mexico 2-0 in group play, and nearly lost to Uruguay in the semis. However, anyone wearing those yellow shirts has a chance to win a soccer game, and this Sunday’s final is no exception.

Key Players

  • Robinho, striker (Real Madrid). He leads all Copa America players with six goals in five games.
  • Gilberto Silva, midfielder (Arsenal). Captain of team Brazil and a standout midfielder for a British powerhouse.
  • Vagner Love, striker (CSKA Moscow). Just because he has the oddest name. Ka-ka would have been funnier, but this will suffice.

TV Coverage

The game will be played only on Univision in America. Don’t fret if you don’t speak Spanish; it’s a lot more fun to watch soccer on Univison than on any English-speaking network. I’m very new to soccer, but the past two insanely hot summers would have been unbearable without Fernando Fiore and Pablo Ramirez; instead, I would be worrying about the Red Sox’s dwindling AL East lead, which by the laws of physics will dissolve sometime in August.

Prediction

I cannot bring myself to root for either team. To be honest, I despise them both. Argentina because they’re smug, holier-than-thou and are the second dirtiest team in the world (Italy being #1), and Brazil because…well, they’re Brazil, that’s why. The ideal situation for me would be for FIFA authorities to find them both guilty of steroid use and award the Championship to Uruguay. However that’s not going to happen. Brazil will compete well in this game, but they are undermanned against a stacked, angry, and determined opponent. Argentina wins 3-1, but they don’t get the go-ahead goals until the second half.

27 thoughts on “Your Copa America Crash Course

  1. What is it about South America that makes their men 22% hotter than the rest of the men on this planet? Dayum.

  2. more so, how is it that they can be all sweaty and greasy looking and still manage to make me all weak in the knees.

    guess i’m a sucker for grime. mmmmm.

    (side note: did you see the ad campaign for dolce last year that featured the italian soccer team? whooo…i need a breather)

  3. I don’t know, but I am thinking we should take a field trip to Peru to do some research on Chitowntiger’s stats.

    Claudio Pizarro. I even love the name.

    (Also – Thanks DigitalHeadButt!)

  4. Well DAMN, I think I need to start watching soccer.

    Thanks for this. Now I’m going to need a towel…drool in the keyboard is bad, right?

  5. I would like to take this moment to extend a general hat tip (can you extend a hat tip?) to Kleph and Kanu for kontinuing to send us wickedly beautiful soccer photos. Keep ‘em koming.

  6. Much thanks to Mike for doing the preview.

    I would fully support a South American pants party. I need to stalk Diego.

    I mean, watch him play. Yeah…watch him play.

    Chitowntiger-I don’t know. I guess it would be the same thing men see in the woman from there. (see: EDSBS Friday cheesecake).

  7. Mike, thanks for that preview. I actually read the whole thing! And not once did I think “soc-cer?” Go Argentina! Or Brazil, I don’t really care who wins.

    And… mm-mm-mm. Those men are delish.

  8. YNBA, I’ll make sure to keep the u20 team in mind.
    And Benny Feilhaber you say? Nice.

    Kelph-eh, the first and third pictures are hot. The other two…
    And sucks to be the manager of his club right now. And him.

  9. “I know nothing about soccer and won’t pretend to. But I have someone who does to give you a preview.”

    So does this mean that I know a lot about soccer, that I pretend to know a lot about soccer, or a bit of both?

    Thanks to SA for having me as a guest.

  10. Wow, horrible choice of words from me. Sorry. I promise, one of these days I’m going to actually read what I write.

    You know a lot about soccer.

  11. SA – i’m gonna have to trust you on that. i just wanted to give you all a representative sampling. i’m certainly no expert on this subject – be it the hotness or the game itself.

  12. WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT…

    People are keeping up with Living in Peru? That is the most awesome thing I have read all day.

    We’d don’t like racists here though, no matter how hot they maybe.

  13. SA – Glad to hear it. It would be sad to see the barely-legal Americans go unrecognized. Feilhaber’s not a u20, but still. Nice indeed.

  14. C’mon now. Argentina isn’t even the fifth dirtiest team in the Western Hemisphere. Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, and Chile are all quite dirtier.

    And no, “ladies”, not dirty in the fun sense.

    All this time, I’ve been picturing YNBA as jailbait, and she’s old enough to describe a 20 year old as jailbait? Hmpf.

  15. BBM: what about Uruguay? They’re the only team I’ve ever seen that seem to make a habit of starting fights after the final whistle. (Also, I’m 24. So it’s not really cougaring as much as planning ahead.)

  16. YNBA, Uruguay, as a nation, is quite easily roused to anger. I think it all started when Homer Simpson pronounced their nation “U R Gay.”

    Gay Panic + Hot Headed Latins + Soccer = Fighting.

    24, whilst not jailbait, will not hurt your crush status at IDYFT. Congrats!

  17. More Latino Hotness of the man Rafeal Marquez!! I can picture this blonde American woman on top of his Beautiful Latino browness!!

  18. Damn, was I wrong about this game. I don’t anyone expected Brazil’s “B” team to play this well (a 3-0 win over Argentina). It’s still f—ing Brazil, but no Ronaldinho, no Kaka, no Roberto Carlos, no Dida, no Adriano, no Emerson–and they still destroy one of the best teams in the world. Simply amazing.

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