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Published on June 28th, 2011 | by Sportingly Better Tipster

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Copa America 2011 Preview – Group B

Group B
Brazil (Holders)
Venezuela
Paraguay
Ecuador

Second favourites Brazil have reached 7 out of the last 9 Copa America finals and have won 4 of the last 5 Copa America tournaments. Doubts around coach Mano Manezes continue to increase, with Brazil winning just 2 of their last 5 games, scoring only 3 goals. Like Argentina, Brazil can boast an equally strong attacking line with Neymar and Ganso two of the brightest emerging stars emanating out of Brazil. As well as the Santos pair, Mano Menezes also has Pato and Robinho (both of AC Milan), Julio Cesar of Inter and Dani Alves of Barcelona. Curiously in both 2004 and 2007 Brazil failed to top their Group.

Four years ago on home soil Venezeula reached the quarter finals, although this was largely to do with a favourable group draw as hosts. Before that Venezuela have not progressed passed the group stages for 12 straight tournaments and coach Cesar Farias will have his work cut out to repeat the feat reached in 2007. A lot will hinge on midfielder Juan Arango of Borussia Monchengladbach, although Cesar Farias has also blooded a number of youngsters into his squad, which may surprise.

Paraguay impressed many during the 2010 FIFA World Cup reaching the quarter finals. Striker Lucas Barrios of German champions Borussia Dortmund is the star turn and Marcelo Estigarribia is another competent attacking talent along with forgotten man Roque Santa Cruz. Paraguay have equally shown they are adept at the back under Gerardo Martino and go into 2011’s Copa America with 4 straight clean sheets to their name. Paraguay have a good recent head to head record against Group B opponents and should qualify along with Brazil. Backers of Paraguay should be aware however that they have not progressed past the quarter finals in the last 8 tournaments.

Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia is the star name for Ecuador who would do well to qualify out of Group B. Manchester City striker Felipe Caciedo had an encouraging campaign on loan at Levante last season and will be one of a handful of players hoping to make the difference for Reinaldo Rueda. Ecuador look like having to beat Venezuela if they are to stand any chance of qualification.

GROUP WINNERS: Brazil
FORECAST: Brazil 1st, Paraguay 2nd, Ecuador 3rd, Venezuela 4th

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