Caribbean giants Jamaica and CONMEBOL squad Venezuela are set to open Group C competitions of the 2016 Copa América Centenario on Sunday, June 5 at the Soldier Field in Chicago.
World no. 55 Jamaica is one of six nations competing from CONCACAF in the 16-team tournament while ten squads are coming from CONMEBOL. They qualified in the said event after claiming the 2014 Caribbean Cup trophy, as per Vavel.
The Reggae Boyz are in for a tough fight in Group C as two higher-ranked teams, Uruguay and Mexico, are also in the bracket. Facing Venezuela could be an advantage to head coach Winfried Schäfer’s squad as it may provide them momentum before facing El Tri and La Celeste in their next two matches.
The team is also coming off a runner-up stint in last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup where they reached the final unbeaten until they were beaten by Mexico.
Their key players remain to be Leicester City captain Wes Morgan, striker Giles Barnes, and goalkeeper Andre Blake. Jamaica actually has enough talent to make surprises in the group stage, but they will face Mexico in their second game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which is a known haven for Mexican fans.
Meanwhile, Venezuela, who are currently ranked 74th in the world by FIFA, has been reeling in the past few years, dropping 38 places in the world rankings since 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported.
They had been winless in six games in the World Cup qualifiers and their defense had become one of the worst in the region, surrendering almost three goals per match.
Nothing much is expected from head coach Rafael Dudamel’s boys in this tourney except their participation and the presence of some football stars in their lineup, such as Torino’s Josef Martinez, West Brom’s Salomón Rondón, Malaga’s Roberto Rosales, and team captain Tomas Rincon of Genoa.
It would be a miracle if La Vinotinto can pull off even a single win in the group stage as all of their three groupmates are powerhouse scoring squads.
The predicted result is a 2-0 win for Jamaica.
Jamaica starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Blake; Taylor, Morgan, Mariappa, Lawrence; Watson, Austin, McAnuff, Dawkins; Barnes, Orgill
Venezuela starting lineup (4-3-2-1 formation): Hernandez; Velazquez, Vizcarrondo, Rosales, Gonzalez; Guerra, Seijas, Otero; Rincon, Rondón; Martinez

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