Copa America Power Rankings: Argentina, Mexico remain favorites

1:29 | Planet Futbol
Is Argentina the favorite in Copa America?
Wednesday June 15th, 2016

The quarterfinals of the Copa America are here, and finally a tournament that has slowly ramped up in intensity will be blessed with high-stakes knockout games chock full of intriguing matchups.

We did a power rankings of all 16 teams at the start of the tournament, and now with the field narrowed down, two favorites drop off (Brazil, Uruguay) while two surprise packages (Peru, Venezuela) take their place. These rankings are based partly on the teams’ group stage performance, but mostly on their likelihood to advance, meaning a more favorable matchup in the quarterfinals or path to the final is taken into consideration. 

Onto the rankings!

Copa America Quarterfinal Power Rankings
  • 1
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Venezuela
    The Argentines finished the group stage as the competition’s only team with an unblemished record. Moreover, the Argentines were never seriously challenged in any of those games, only conceding one goal, in injury time, to Chile. Lionel Messi is well-rested, having played just 106 total minutes in the group stage, but still capable of greatness judging from his virtuoso, hat-trick performance against Panama. On top of all of this, Argentina has the easiest path to the final of anyone. It’s good to be La Albiceleste, though Angel Di Maria's injury could be a factor going forward.

  • 2
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Chile
    Things haven’t been perfect on the field, particularly in defense, but El Tri have found ways to get results on the attacking end. Though Mexico has scored the third-most goals in the tournament, no player has scored more than once so far. That’s indicative of the number of ways Mexico can punish teams, and that works to its advantage against a Chile team that hasn’t been the best defensively so far and will be without suspended right back Mauricio Isla. Mexico’s massive support in this tournament has been a boon to the team, but an embarrassment in other ways.

  • 3
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Peru
    The Colombians are ranked third in the world, and they looked every bit of it in their opening two games with solid wins over the United States and Paraguay. Then, in a stroke of tournament luck, their 3-2 loss to an already-eliminated Costa Rica lost them the group but actually improved the team’s second-round matchup. If Colombia doesn’t lose focus against Peru, it should be able to advance.

  • 4
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Mexico
    The Chileans conceded more goals than any other quarterfinal team, and they’ll be without Isla after his mindless yellow card in the dying moments of its 4-2 win over Panama. That’s a big loss, especially with the team facing a multifaceted Mexico attack. However, Chile’s leading lights Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are having fine tournaments, and if they are allowed chances to impact the game, anything is possible for the defending champions.

  • 5
    Quarterfinal Opponent: USA
    Ecuador is one of the hardest teams to figure out in this tournament. It has the worst record of any quarterfinalist, but held its own in a 0-0 draw against Brazil and enters the quarterfinals with momentum after a morale-boosting win over Haiti. Ecuador boasts pace on the wings with Jefferson Montero and Jaime Ayovi, both of whom have had good tournaments so far and will be facing a U.S. team missing starting right back DeAndre Yedlin.

  • 6
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Ecuador
    The group stage showed the United States at its best and its worst. The Americans looked slow at the back and out of ideas up front as it dropped its opening game to Colombia, but then followed that up with a 4-0 smashing of Costa Rica and a solid 1-0 win over Paraguay. Defense wins championships, as the old saying goes, and the U.S.’s is playing well at the moment, not having conceded yet in the run of play.

  • 7
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Colombia
    Credit to Peru for seizing the initiative against Brazil, which didn’t deserve to go through based on its performance in this tournament. However, the handball goal that got Peru here masks an otherwise so-so performance from a team that has surprised at the last two Copa Americas. The Peruvians forced a 0-0 draw against Colombia in the group stage of last year’s Copa America, but they’ll need to be more proactive if they hope to earn an upset in this year’s quarterfinal.

  • 8
    Quarterfinal Opponent: Argentina
    The Cinderella team of this year’s Copa America is rewarded for its efforts with a date against FIFA No. 1 Argentina. Venezuela’s commitment helped it get by poor showings from Jamaica and Uruguay, but it was the team’s performance in a 1-1 draw against Mexico that showed what it is capable of. It took a moment of magic from “Tecatito” Corona to force a draw, but Argentina is more than capable of providing those moments in pressure-packed situations.

The quarterfinals begin Thursday, with the USA playing Ecuador at CenturyLink Field in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. ET. Peru faces Colombia in at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Friday at 8 p.m. Saturday's doubleheader sees Argentina face Venezuela at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (7 p.m.) and Mexico take on Chile at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California (10 p.m.).

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