Argentina’s national squad’s soccer betting odds may have simultaneously improved and worsen for the Copa America Centenario and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, respectively. Head coach Gerardo Martino decided against having Messi compete at both events due to the proximity between one another – the Copa America takes place in June while the Olympics will be held in August.
The striker already won a gold medal at the Beijing Games in 2008. Martino emphasized that the Barcelona star was okay with the decision, though he is nevertheless somewhat disappointed not to be involved for the foray into Brazil, saying that he would have liked to go because it is a spectacular experience to play in the Olympics, just like it was for the U20 World Cup in 2005. And not just because they won, but because of the experience he gained.
Messi, who is on the verge of another Liga championship heading into the final round of the season, added that the World Cup is great but that the Olympics are something special. Argentina, the runners-up to Chile at last year’s Copa America , will have a fully-focused Messi available as they make their bid to win the competition for the first time in more than 20 years. The 14-time champions will meet the reigning champions Chile in a Group D game, in what will be a rematch of the 2015 final, followed by games against Panama, and Bolivia. Argentina are soccer betting favorites to make it through to the next round, if not win their group altogether.
The new edition of the Copa will unfold in the United States, which is very different from what South American fans who bet on soccer are accustomed to. In other Copa America news, Paraguay coach Ramon Diaz has revealed his roster for the tournament, comprising a veteran, North and South America-based team. Only five of Paraguay’s 23 players ply their trade in Europe, with the majority playing in the Liga MX and Paraguay, Argentina and Chile’s local leagues. Seattle Sounders forward Nelson Valdez is the only player contracted to a US team and will join a potentially lethal attack, featuring 34-year-old veteran and Malaga forward Roque Santa Cruz and Queretaro’s Edgar Benitez. World Cup and Copa America veteran Lucas Barrios will miss out on the tourney.
Barrios, who scored two goals at last year’s Copa America in Chile, was included in Paraguay’s preliminary roster, having participated in World Cup qualifying matches against Brazil and Ecuador in March. Unfortunately for Barrios, there was no space for the 31-year-old Palmeiras attacker in the final 23-man roster ahead of the 100th edition of the Copa, which will start in the United States on June 3rd.