Preview of the 12 teams taking part in the 2019 Copa America

(Image: Twitter/CopaAmerica)

A guide to all 12 teams competing at the Copa America, which begins in Sao Paulo on June 14:

GROUP A

Brazil

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

Coach – Tite

Key player – Philippe Coutinho

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.

Bolivia

Tournament record – winners 1963, runners-up 1997

Coach – Eduardo Villegas

Key player – Marcelo Moreno

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.

Venezuela

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

Coach – Rafael Dudamel

Key player – Salomon Rondon

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

Peru

Tournament record – winners 1939, 1975

Coach – Ricardo Gareca

Key player – Paolo Guerrero

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.

GROUP B

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

Key player – Lionel Messi

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.

Paraguay

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

Coach – Eduardo Berizzo

Key player – Miguel Almiron

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.

Colombia

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

Coach – Carlos Queiroz

Key player – James Rodriguez

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.

Qatar

Tournament record – first appearance

Coach – Felix Sanchez

Key player – Almoez Ali

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.

GROUP C

Chile

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

Coach – Reinaldo Rueda

Key player – Arturo Vidal

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.

Uruguay

Tournament record – champions 15 times, most recently in 2011

Coach – Oscar Tabarez

Key player – Luis Suarez

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.

Japan

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

Coach – Hajime Moriyasu

Key player – Shoya Nakajima

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.

Ecuador

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

Coach – Hernan Gomez

Key player – Antonio Valencia

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.

REUTERS/Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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