As Copa América soccer tournament reaches quarterfinals, two teams face off in North Texas tonight

Venezuela will play Canada in Arlington on Friday as both teams go for the cup.

By Sarah AschJuly 5, 2024 9:30 am, ,

Early July is generally not the busiest time on the sports calendar, but this year there is a feast for soccer fans. Two major men’s tournaments are in full swing: The UEFA European Championship, better known as the Euros, and Copa América.

The Copa includes 16 teams from North, Central and South America, and several Copa matches have taken place in Texas. Canada and Venezuela are set to face off Friday night in Arlington.

Abraham Nudelstejer, who covers sports for The Dallas Morning News, said one of the bigger surprises of the tournament so far is that the U.S. and Mexican men’s national teams are already out.

“It’s a big surprise for fans and for everybody that was expecting Mexico to play at AT&T Stadium this week. And it’s very disappointing for many, many fans because Mexico is the one team that can put 70,000 or 80,000 fans in the stadium, in the stands,” he said. “We will have a good game between Venezuela and Canada. But I don’t think it’s going to be close [in attendance compared to] were Mexico playing against any other team in Copa América.”

That being said, Nudelstejer said the Mexican team this year is not as good as it has been in the past.

“Mexico probably has the worst generation of players in the last 20 years. They don’t have leadership inside the locker room,” he said. “And they have a very young and inexperienced head coach.”

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The same cannot be said for the U.S. team, which had a better shot this year than they had in the past to go far in the tournament.

“The United States has a great team. They have great players. 23 out of the 26 players on the U.S. team roster, they play in top leagues in Europe,” Nudelstejer said. “But now the focus is on Gregg Berhalter, the head coach. It’s possible this was his last tournament because many people think that he’s not capable of getting the United States into the next level. So you’ll probably see a top European coach coaching the U.S. national team in the World Cup.”

Nudelstejer said his top pick to win it all is Uruguay.

“Uruguay is playing great soccer, and Uruguay’s coach, ‘El Loco,’ the crazy [Marcelo] Bielsa, he’s one of the best coaches in soccer right now,” he said. “So I think Uruguay is playing great soccer, and so is Colombia.”

In the quarterfinals, Colombia will face Panama, and Uruguay will face Brazil. The winner of those two games will go on to play each other in the semifinals.

The other two quarterfinal matches are Argentina vs. Ecuador, which Argentina won Thursday in a penalty kick shootout, and Venezuela vs. Canada.

“Venezuela, it’s the Cinderella team. It’s a great story. Venezuela had never had a team like this. The Venezuelan people living here in North Texas are really excited,” ​​Nudelstejer said. “It’s going to be really, really interesting to see all four games. But to me, Uruguay is the favorite to win the Copa América. Brazil is not playing good, actually. And Argentina, you have Lionel Messi playing with Argentina, but I think Uruguay is playing at a much higher level than Argentina right now.”

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