Copa America 2024 opens with ferocity

Argentine Coach Lionel Scaloni
Argentine Coach Lionel Scaloni

Thursday, June 20

Argentina 2—0 Canada

Copa America holders, Argentina, squeezed out a win over game Canada who were as “unlucky” as any Albiceleste opponent of late having one sure penalty not called in their favor and several other fouls going begging cards. The Argentine fans, err, announcers, immediately said “there was not enough” for a call on numerous occasions particularly on the penalty.

As usual, the Argentines needed to show their class and managed to come onto the pitch several minutes late after the half-time break and, needless to say, suffered no consequences. Julian Alvarez’s 49th-minute goal and Lautaro Martinez’s 88th-minute tally rounded out the score and brought about the type of team jubilation one would most likely associate with having won the tournament.

At the match’s end, Lionel Scaloni and company began what will surely be a refrain in both 2024 and 2026, finding excuses for a bad performance in everything and everyone but their players and coaches. Though the field was certainly poor, both teams had to play on it and Canada seemed to do so with some ease. The “purist” Argentines, though, found themselves very much nonplused by a pitch they said, “felt like a trampoline.” The field conditions, of course, were, sadly, known well before the match.

Friday, June 21

Peru 0—0 Chile

In a Copa America match which resembled a brawl, Peru and Chile drew nil-nil each garnering a point and hoping to beat Canada and not get clobbered by Argentina. The one who accomplishes that will progress.

Saturday, June 22

Ecuador 1—2 Venezuela

Ecuador’s Enner Valencia’s horrific 22nd-minute red card did not change the complexion of the Ecuador-Venezuela match which was rough from the get-go. Ironically, it was Ecuador’s Jeremy Sarmiento who opened the score in the 40th minute, but by the 64th Venezuela had drawn even, and by the 74th they were ahead to stay. It was not much of a match, but mostly another brawl between teams with no love-loss between them.

Mexico 1—0 Jamaica

This Copa America game was marred by injury but in a match with thirty-three called fouls, there were no cards awarded. Mexico deserved the victory, but not by much as they seemed to open up their Copa with the jitters, while Jamaica seemed unaffected by the event.

Sunday, June 23

USA 2—0 Bolivia

It is a shame that even in victory the USA looked like amateurs for long swaths of the match. In their opening Copa America 2024 match, the USA created chances against a much weaker opponent, yet still managed to flub just about every shot at or on goal. Christian Pulisic’s golazo in the third minute was a godsend as thereafter the USA mixed pretty, multi-pass plays, which had many players contributing, with at least as many moments when they were unable to complete the simplest of square passes.

Pulisic’s assist on Folarin Balogun’s 44th-minute goal sealed the victory but it was a wasted tournament opportunity as the USA should have won by many more goals. Timothy Weah, Balogun, and especially Ricardo Pepi—who was the recipient of several plays that begged for him to simply tap where the goalie wasn’t—were incapable of putting the ball in the net from ideal spots in the box the entire second half.

This was the must-win game for the USA and they got it, but their next two opponents will not be as easy, and they will need at least one point from those two matches to progress.

Uruguay and Panama play next and their match will be covered in a subsequent post.

Shutterstock photo ID—1752870146, by Delmiro Junior.

TAGS—Folarin Balogun, Christian Pulisic, Julian Alvarez, Enner Valencia, Lionel Scaloni

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.