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The Copa America favors Brazil; Argentina on the spot Uruguay

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Image source: AP

Brazil is aiming for the 10th title of the South American champion.

Defending champions Brazil may have the smoothest path to the host final of the Copa America.

The hottest race could be on the other side of the draw, where rivals Argentina and Uruguay have a chance to meet in the semifinals.

The Copa America knockout stage was finalized on Tuesday after the last two Group A matches.

Argentina beat Bolivia 4-1 to ensure they finished at the top of the group, organizing a game against Ecuador in the quarterfinals.

Ecuador is yet to win the tournament, but held Brazil to a 1-1 draw on Sunday and is third in the qualifiers for the South American World Cup.

“We have great respect for Ecuador, they turned out to be a good, young and dynamic team that will surely give us a war,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.

If Lionel Messi’s team beats Ecuador, coached by Argentine Gustavo Alfaro, his semifinal will be against Uruguay or Colombia. This major match recently led to great matches, including Colombia’s 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On Monday, Uruguay scheduled the next chapter between the two national teams with a 1-0 victory over Paraguay. The only goal in the match came from veteran Edinson Cavani.

“We grew with the progress of the Copa,” said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabares. “We had to win and improve our game, and both things happen.”

Uruguay has 15 Copa America titles, the most recent being in 2011. Argentina has 14, but has had a trophy drought since 1993.

Brazil is aiming for the 10th title of the South American champion.

The most immediate challenge for Neymar’s Brazilian squad will be Chile’s aging team.

Chile’s only win so far in the tournament is against Bolivia, but could be reinforced by the potential recall of striker Alexis Sanchez, who missed the group stage due to injury.

A win against Chile on Friday will put Brazil in the semi-finals against Peru or Paraguay. Both teams recently lost to Selecao without much resistance.

On June 8, shortly before the start of the Copa America, Neymar’s team won 2-0 in Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier. Days later, Brazil crushed Peru 4-0 in the group stage of the Copa America.

Brazil also has the advantage of having all its potential knockout partners in Rio, near its Granja Comary test site in Teresopolis. The final is scheduled for July 10.

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