What Is Going On At The Copa America?

Argentina 0-0 Colombia

Sit with that for a moment.  Argentina has now played two matches, drawn two, and scored all of one goal.  Needless to say, the Argentinian players were booed off the field.  They now have one match left against junior varsity high school team from Costa Rica who play Bolivia tomorrow.

This looks bad for Argentina, but the truth is that the entire Copa America has been absolutely insane.  Every match thus far that has pit two South American sides against each other has ended in a draw: Argentina 1-1 Bolivia; Brazil 0-0 Venezuela; Paraguay 0-0 Ecuador; Uruguay 1-1 Peru; Argentina 0-0 Colombia.

The two only matches that weren’t draws were the two that featured CONCACAF nations, both of whom sent in severely understrength sides, given that the Gold Cup was last month.  Unsurprisingly, the South Americans won, although not in particularly convincing fashion: Colombia 1-0 Costa Rica, and Chile 2-1 Mexico.

So I ask again.  What is going on at the Copa America?  Could it be that there is now a parity in South America that verges on the ridiculous?  A parity that threatens not just the Brazil/Argentina hegemony (and if we’re honest Argentina hasn’t won anything since 1993), but also the traditional established hierarchy of the continent?  Is it possible that come the 2014, the non-Brazil entries in the World Cup might include Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia, but not Argentina or Uruguay?  Ever since River Plate was relegated everything in South America has gone topsy-turvy.

Argentina are in real trouble right now.  Although 8 of the 12 teams advance to the quarterfinals, Argentina now have to be thinking that even if they advance they may have to do so as a top ranked 3rd place team.  Which also means Argentina could be playing Brazil in the quarterfinals.  Should Argentina advance–words I never thought I would write.

I have no idea what is going on. Is it psychological (the pressure of playing at home)?  Is it tactical (the wrong players are being used)?  Is it the weather?  The team is just not gelling.  Is it Messi or his teammates or both?  As far as I know, the Copa America doesn’t air on television here, so I can only go by reading reports and game casts.

So what is going on?

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