The Copa America group stage has been an emotional roller coaster and full of upsets, surprises, and the inevitable controversies. Luckily for us, the adventure isn't over just yet, so let's take the time to relive some of the best and worst from what we've seen so far.
Chile, this year's host for the tournament, has yet to win a Copa America title, but are, nevertheless, one of the favorites to win the prestigious cup. La roja's passing game was the most successful of the group stage and, as you may have imagined, is the primary reason for their high possession percentage (61%) over the three matches. Only Argentina was able to equal Chile's high rate of possession, which should be of little surprise thanks to their equally impressive passing game. Regrettably for Messi's men, the number of goals the albiceleste scored in their first three games (1.3) is lower than Chile's (3.3). Fortunately for Argentina, almost every other opponent managed the same number of goals. With the numbers in both Chile and Argentina's favor, watching these two teams in the final would be real treat.
At the other end of the spectrum, there have been a few top teams that have failed to impress, including Brazil, who's won the Copa America title eight times, and Uruguay, who has a record fifteen trophies.
Brazil was relatively tame when it came to scoring goals during the group phase. Not only are they sitting in the median range for number of goals scored, their shots on goal were low in spite of their decent ball possession. Furthermore, their shots off target were significantly higher than those on. It's clear that the Seleção are in need of a leader and a goal-scorer, something they lost thanks to Neymar's 4-match ban, if they want a real chance at winning the title.
Alas, there is one team who, despite all of their footballing royalty, were not as impressive as one expected them to be. Uruguay has been meager, at best, and are sorely missing the swift feet and sharp strike of Luis Suarez. The celeste's ball possession currently sits below the 50% mark, and their passing, which clearly reflects their poor possession, isn't much better than Mexico or Bolivia. To make matters worse, Uruguay's shots on goal (2.3) and goals (0.6) are lower than their opposition's, 3.3 and 0.7 respectively, while their shots off target are over two times greater than their shots on target. Uruguay has truly been one of the worst performers this year and are incredibly lucky to have moved on to the quarter finals.
With such strong competitors, mixed in with a few weak ones, the next stage of the Copa America should be entertaining and definitely worth watching.