If you're a soccer fan, then this summer will be one of the best. This is the halfway point to the World Cup, where continental tournaments take their place on the world stage, and no matter what tournament you watch or who you root for, excitement will be in the air! The United States, for the first time in history, will be hosting the Copa America Centenario, the 100th anniversary of the tournament. 16 countries from North and South America will enter for a chance to win one of soccers most coveted trophies. Let's break down the groups and see who will make it to the knockout stage this summer!
Group A: United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay
The hosts have a tough group with them, but not necessarily the "group of death". Colombia have one of the top players in James Rodriguez. The Costa Ricans are always contenders in World Cup Qualifying and in the Gold Cup (CONCACAF's tournament). Paraguay are a South American soccer stronghold. The Americans will have their work cut out for them, but I wouldn't count them out entirely. If any team can make the group interesting, it'll be the American's. I expect Colombia to win the group, but the U.S. will get second and move on.
2. United States
4. Costa Rica
Group B: Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru
This group is probably the easiest to predict. Brazil, one of the top teams in the world, have a chance to go undefeated in group play. Haiti is a team that can try, and a win for the Haitians makes the group intriguing. Yet, being pitted with three South American teams, I think Haiti will bow out in this one without getting a win. That leaves Ecuador and Peru, and even though their matchup is the second game, I see the Peruvians moving on based on the goal differential tiebreaker.
Group C: Jamaica, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico
I consider this group the "Group of Death" over Group A, and it has a lot of possibilities within it. Jamaica made waves in the Gold Cup (eliminating the) and in World Cup Qualifying so far. Mexico, with Javier Hernandez leading the charge, has had an up and down few summers since the World Cup, where they failed to produce in the Gold Cup, but leads their group in World Cup Qualifying. Uruguay has the better chance to make a run for the top of the table, and Venezuela has made it to the knockout stage the past two out of three Copa America's (2007 and 2011, failing in 2015). I see Uruguay getting two wins and a tie to top the group, but the battle for second place is up for grabs. Do the Jamaicans have more magic left within them, or will it be the Mexicans or Venezuelans moving on?
Group D: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Panama
This group hosts the defending Copa America champions in Chile and the 2014 World Cup runner ups in Argentina. Panama and Bolivia are the teams that can play Cinderella in the group. If I had to choose between the two, I would say Bolivia over Panama as the better chance. Chile won over Argentina in the 2015 final in penalties, and I think Chile will steal three points over the Argentinians in their matchup, getting them second place and a chance to repeat.