The Copa America Centenario Group O’ Death Scale

First things first, yes they just did a Copa America last year and yes they’re holding this special 100th anniversary edition in the United States, a country that has only participated three times and hasn’t been asked back until now after offending CONMEBOL by sending a weak squad that finished dead last in 2007. The answer to all questions that sentence presents is “money.”

The draw for this $pecial Copa America was held in New York on Sunday night and it was immediately decided that the U.S. had yet again landed in the Group of Death™. But is this the truth or just a tired ploy to squeeze pageviews out of an ambivalent American public and manufacture hype before a major tournament? This is where DT’s patented Group O’ Death Scale comes in handy. Let’s put it to use.

Group D: Argentina, Chile, Panama, Bolivia

Group O’ Death Rating:

One Leo Messi ready to pull Gonzalo “Destroyer of Dreams” Higuain’s spine through the back of his neck.

After what Higuain did in last year’s Copa America final and the 2014 World Cup final, if he blows a third consecutive chance for Messi to finally win a major trophy with Argentina, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will end him and there isn’t a court in the world that would punish him for it.

Match-up of Doom: Arturo Vidal v United States law enforcement. If Vidal drunkenly crashes a Ferrari during the tournament this year, he won’t have a friendly local police force to give him a speedy release so he can lead his nation to victory again. Someone better teach him how to use Uber.

Group B: Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru

Group O’ Death Rating:

One laughing Neymar.

While Ecuador could give Peru (who finished third at the last Copa America) trouble for the second-place spot, Neymar’s focus during the group stage will primarily be on impressing corporate executives so he can develop his brand in the U.S. market.

Match-up of Doom: Neymar v Haiti. If he plays the full 90 minutes in this one, he will likely be awarded the tournament’s Golden Boot on the spot.

Group C: Mexico, Uruguay, Jamaica, Venezuela

Group O’ Death Rating:

One ghost of Miguel Herrera.

Jamaica and Venezuela are both capable of pulling off an upset, so this group could prove tricky if Mexico or Uruguay underestimate it. Anyway, I miss Miguel Herrera.

Match-up of Doom: Luis Suarez v The World. Suarez was still serving his World Cup bite ban during last summer’s Copa America, so he will likely be eager to make up for that this time around. And, who knows, there might even be an opportunity to film an image boosting Funny Or Die video with Mike Tyson while he’s in the States.

Group A: United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay

Group O’ Death Rating:

One ongoing, deathly boring debate on the merits of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Being the host nation should help the U.S. advance to the knockout stage, but Costa Rica and Paraguay are both capable of changing that. For one, there won’t probably be snow when the U.S. face Costa Rica. And Paraguay, who beat Brazil in the quarterfinals last year, have reached the knockout stage in eight of the last 10 Copa Americas. The U.S. simply do not have the kind of talent to make advancing a foregone conclusion right now. I don’t think Klinsmann is the greatest manager of all time, but I also don’t think there is anyone else who could change that fact for this team.

And yet, no matter what happens to the U.S., the result will be used as evidence for or against Klinsmann: the U.S.’s most controversially foreign coach in recent memory.

Match-up of Doom: The U.S. v the concept of the Group of Death™. The U.S. keep ending up in groups American media label as the Group of Death™. But maybe if you’re always in the Group of Death™ you’re not all that alive. Something to think about.

So which of these qualifies as an official Group of Death™? None of them, really. They’re all pretty evenly balanced with two clear favorites and two underdogs. That might be a disappointing conclusion, but I’ve already gotten you to read this entire post, so I don’t really care.

6 comments

  1. Brock says:

    I didn’t sign up for this existentialism… “But maybe if you’re always in the Group of Death™ you’re not all that alive.”

  2. While I’ll agree that the US media loves to label our groups as Groups of Death (our WC group was above average difficulty, but not deathly), the US clearly has the toughest path to advance of any of the seeded teams. Colombia has been shaky recently but has world class talent, Paraguay beat Brazil at the last Copa America, and Costa Rica advanced to the quarterfinals at the WC. You could argue that the US is the weakest team, which wouldn’t be the case in any of the other groups

  3. “So which of these qualifies as an official Group of Death™? None of them, really. They’re all pretty evenly balanced with two clear favorites and two underdogs. That might be a disappointing conclusion, but I’ve already gotten you to read this entire post, so I don’t really care.”

    I agree, all groups seem fairly balanced. But the Klinnsman criticism will continue if he continues with his random line ups. We by no means have the talent to outright say we’ll advance. But if he does things like put Jermaine Jones at CB, that certainly doesn’t help the chances of advancing.

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