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Copa América about to kick off (

26 jun 2007 - Source:

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The Copa América, the South American National Team Championship, is just about to kick off in Venezuela today. Jefferson Farfán, Alex and Edison Mendez are the PSV players that will compete in the 42nd edition of the world’s oldest national-team continental football tournament, while their team mates Carlos Salcido and DaMarcus Beasley are rested. ‘The Copa América is a football tournament all about passion. Football may be a TV sport for millions of consumers, the matches will be best appreciated in and around the stadiums. You can just sense the crowd’s anticipation in the streets surrounding the arenas and the disillusionment and euphoria are intensely tangible in South America”, previewed a Dutch national newspaper the tournament that was held for the first time in Argentina back in 1916. Title holders Brazil and Argentina, who disappointed at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, are clear favourites to win the tournament. The Argentinians, who last won the tournament in 1993, will field stars the likes of Messi, Crespo, Tevez, Riquelme and Veron, who will make a comeback. The tournament is held every three years. Brazil and Argentina met in last edition’s final, with Adriano as leading scorer. The Brazilians super stars Ronaldinho and Kaká are rested by FC Barcelona and AC Milan respectively, but Alex (PSV), Afonso Alves (Heerenveen), Fred (Olympique Lyon) and Adriano (Internazionale) are set to show their skills.
The competition currently involves 12 national teams, divided into three groups, the ten CONMEBOL nations plus two guests - on this occasion CONCACAF representatives the United States and Mexico, who met in last Sunday’s Gold Cup final. Nine cities, San Cristóbal, Mérida, Barinas, Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Puerto la Cruz, Maturín, Puerto Ordaz and the capital Caracas, have been chosen to host 26 games. The Copa América final will be played in Maracaibo on 15 July. Apart from the PSV players Alex (Brazil), Farfán (Peru), Mendez (Ecuador) and the above mentioned Alves, one more Eredivisie player will compete in the Copa América: N.E.C’s midfielder Barreto, who will wear the Paraguay shirt. PSV striker Jefferson Farfán is beaming with confidence “I am in great shape and I think the Copa América will be going my way. I will do my best to be named player of the tournament. It’s time for me to make the next step”, he said. If Peru, with Farfán, progress to the final, the striker will miss the first part of PSV’s pres-season campaign. First Phase (26 June to 5 July) Group A Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru (Farfán), Bolivia Group B Brazil (Alex, Afonso Alves), Ecuador (Mendez), Chili, Mexico Group C Argentina, Paraguay (Barreto), Colombia, USA (Lee Nguyen)