Copa America Group B preview
A look at the teams in Group B and their projected order of finsh:
M, Cristian Noboa -- Valencia is the bigger name, but if the holding duo of Noboa and Castillo don't win the ball sufficiently, the Manchester United winger could find himself starved of possession, even with his propensity for tracking back. Noboa's purposeful demeanor was central to Rubin Kazan's two Russian league titles in 2008 and 2009, and for both club and country the sense is that he is the central hub. Sitting just in front of the back four, he organizes and makes tackles, and is likely to sit is while Castillo goes hunting possession. He's not just destructive, though, and offers a range of passing options.
First Argentina is given its big start in La Plata, the two days later Brazil too kicks off an hour down the coast from Buenos Aires, and with a similarly straightforward game. It should dispose of Venezuela relatively comfortably, meaning the group hinges on what happens the same day in Santa Fe, where Paraguay meets Ecuador. Whoever prevails in that clash should be confident of taking second-place in the group behind the Brazilians. Paraguay is marginal favorite, and then goes to Cordoba to face Brazil, while Venezuela faces Ecuador probably needing at the very least a draw to have any chance of progressing. Ecuador, meanwhile, needs points on the board early before a meeting with Brazil in its final game -- although it may benefit if Brazil has already qualified.