Copa America preview: Panama vs. Bolivia, Argentina vs. Chile on Monday
GROUP D: PANAMA vs. BOLIVIA
Where: Orlando, Fla. Time: 4 p.m. PDT. TV: FS1, UniMas, UDN.
The buzz: Panama looked good in its final Copa tuneup, playing Brazil tough in 2-0 loss. But the shutout marked the sixth time in the last seven games that Panama has scored one or fewer goals, which puts added pressure on the team’s goalkeeper, former Galaxy standout Jaime Penedo.
Bolivia’s struggles go far deeper: It’s 4-0 loss to the U.S. in a friendly last month was its ninth in 10 games, a span in which it was outscored, 32-8.
GROUP D: ARGENTINA vs. CHILE
Where: Santa Clara, Calif. Time: 7 p.m. PDT. TV: FS1, UniMas, UDN.
The buzz: This could be the best matchup of the tournament – or at least of the first round. Deep and talented Argentina, the tournament favorite, is ranked No. 1 in the world and has arguably the world’s best player in Lionel Messi. But Messi is coming into the tournament a little banged up after bruising his back in a tuneup game with Honduras and may sit this one out. Coach Gerardo Martino said Messi’s availability will be a game-time decision.
Chile, ranked fifth in the world, is confident, having beaten Argentina in the Copa America final last summer to win its first title. Both teams are expected to advance out of group play handily, which means this matchup could be repeated in the tournament final.
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