Argentina – Bolivia Highlights / Colombia – Costa Rica Preview

Highlights available here.

In Group A’s other game, Colombia and Costa Rica kick-off in San Salvador at 3:30 PM local time (2:30 PM US/Eastern).

Colombia have brought a strong squad featuring players from the English, Spanish, Italian and German leagues. But their coach, Hernan Dario Gomez, is notoriously risk-averse and conservative. Talented attackers Hugo Rodallega (Wigan Atheltic) and Jackson Martinez (Chiapas) will probably start on the bench. Another surprising move: center-back Cristian Zapata (Udinese), a twenty-four year old wanted by several major European clubs, has been dropped in favor of the older Luis Perea (Atletico Madrid). Perea has more experience on the big-stage but is entering the twilight of his career and has a reputation of being error-prone.

The 23 de Agosto Stadium, San Salvador de Jujuy, about 930 miles northwest of Buenos Aires (Photo credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Photo)

Costa Rica aren’t properly members of South America. One of the Copa’s unique features is that teams from other continents are invited to participate alongside the ten CONMEBOL member nations. Japan were originally slated to play but had to withdraw after March’s devastating tsunami (Mexico are the other foreign participant).

Like Mexico, Costa Rica’s senior team just finished playing the North American championship, the Gold Cup, where they lost to Honduras on penalties in the quarterfinal. Both Costa Rica and Mexico have sent youth squads to the Copa in order to give their usual starters a break.

A confession of ignorance: I have never heard of any players on Costa Rica’s squad. Except for one defender playing at San Jacinto College outside of Houston and a striker with Cerro Porteno of Paraguay, the squad is locally-based. That doesn’t mean there aren’t quality players in the team and the Central Americans will surely put up a good fight. A quick Google search revealed that their most promising player is one Joel Campbell, a 19 year-old striker with Saprissa. Rumor has it that he is wanted by clubs in England and Italy. See his impressive debut goal against Cuba in the Gold Cup here.

Even with Campbell in the side, I doubt the Costa Ricans will have the quality or the experience to beat the seasoned Colombians.

Prediction: Colombia 2 – Costa Rica 0

Once again the game will be live at: http://www.youtube.com/user/CopaAmerica

Last night the picture quality was outstanding, the best I’ve ever seen online, until about the 35th minute when it started to lag and jump around. I switched to Spanish-language TV. I hope the quality will be more consistent this afternoon.

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About Nicholas Nehamas

Journalist and soccer fan. I write on politics, culture, business and sports.
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