Copa America 2019: Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and every team’s key player in Brazil

Chile defend their title with Neymar missing the tournament through injury for the hosts

Richard Martin
Tuesday 11 June 2019 10:31 BST
A young Lionel Messi plays for FC Barcelona in 2004/05

The Copa America is back and Chile aim to retain the trophy for a third successive win.

It will be arguably the last chance for the golden generation, including Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, to add another trophy.

While Lionel Messi is back for Argentina, with great expectations once again.

Neymar is injured for Brazil, but their strength in depth rightfully sees them as favourites.

Check out each side’s key player below and the team-by-team guide ahead of the opener



Tournament record – Won eight times, most recently in 2007. Eleven times runners up.

Coach – Tite

Prospects – With nine wins in their last 10 games and a squad brimming with talent and experience, spurred on by a fervent home crowd, Brazil are clear favourites, even without the injured Neymar.


Tournament record – winners 1963, runners-up 1997

Coach – Eduardo Villegas

Prospects – Bolivia routinely fail to get out of the group and are not expected to progress this time around, but they will guarantee opponents an uncomfortable physical battle.


Tournament record – their best performance came when they reached the semi-finals in 2011

Coach – Rafael Dudamel

Prospects – Encouraging results, a talismanic figure in Rondon plus a kind draw mean Venezuela should be aiming to reach the quarter-finals at least.


Tournament record – winners 1939, 1975

Coach – Ricardo Gareca​

Prospects – Peru’s unpredictability was summed up by Gareca saying recently his team could beat anyone or lose to anyone. Hurdling the quarter-final stage should be their aim.


Lionel Messi is back for Argentina


Tournament record – 14 times champions, but not since 1993. They have also finished runners-up 14 times, including in the last two editions.

Coach – Lionel Scaloni

Prospects – Have a weaker squad than in recent years but lowered expectations could work in their favour. The return of Sergio Aguero also gives Messi a world class strike partner.


Tournament record – Champions in 1953, 1979; six times runners up.

Coach – Eduardo Berizzo

Prospects – Still finding their feet after Berizzo took charge in February following Juan Carlos Osorio’s surprise resignation, reaching the last eight would be a huge achievement given the circumstances and the quality of the group.


Tournament record – winners in 2001, runners-up in 1975

Coach – Carlos Queiroz

Prospects – Colombia have under-achieved in their recent Copa outings but after warming up with big victories over Panama and Peru they look determined to do better this year, especially under the orders of the highly-experienced Queiroz.


Tournament record – first appearance

Coach – Felix Sanchez

Prospects – Qatar have made stunning progress under former Barcelona youth coach Sanchez and after sweeping to victory at the Asian Cup, they will be keen to further demonstrate they will be no pushovers when they host the 2022 World Cup.


Chile celebrate their title in 2016 (Getty)


Tournament record – winners in 2015 and 2016, runners-up four times

Coach – Reinaldo Rueda

Prospects – After euphoric back-to-back Copa triumphs, Chile’s dream became a nightmare when they failed to qualify for the last World Cup. Coach Rueda has struggled to restore confidence, earning only five wins in 13 games.


Tournament record – champions 15 times, most recently in 2011

Coach – Oscar Tabarez

Prospects – Few countries can match Uruguay’s competitive spirit, especially in the tournament they consider their own, and if their prolific front two of Suarez and Edinson Cavani remain fit they stand a great chance of making the final.


Tournament record – invited once before in 1999, when they fell at the group stage

Coach – Hajime Moriyasu​

Prospects – With coach Moriyasu picking an young and inexperienced squad, Japan look set to use the Copa as a testing ground for next year’s Olympic Games, but getting out of the group is still a realistic goal.


Tournament record – their best performances were reaching the semi-finals in 1959 and 1993.

Coach – Hernan Gomez

Prospects – Ecuador have been on a downward curve since coming eighth out of 10 in World Cup qualifying and with no wins in their last four games, they will struggle to get out of their group.


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