Copa América, the international men’s football (soccer to us) tournament, began in earnest earlier this month with 10 of the numerous matches planned for this month already in the bag. The next big upcoming game on the Copa América schedule that everyone is diverting their attention to will be between Haiti and Brazil, and people already have opinions as part of their Copa América predictions. Is a victory for Brazil—arguably the football capital of the world—a foregone conclusion, or can Haiti pull off a perceived upset? Read on for our Brazil vs. Haiti predictions.
About Copa América
First, some details for those who don’t follow the world’s most popular sport. The Copa América, formerly known as the South American Football Championship, is an international tournament featuring teams from the South American Football Confederation, which is the governing body for football in South America and a part of FIFA. It’s the oldest international continental football contest, and the first tournament was held in July of 1916, with Uruguay winning. The team would go on to be the most successful squad, dominating the early tournaments and winning 15 to date.
What would come to be known as the Copa América would be held sporadically over the years, with time between competitions ranging from eight months to eight years. This year marks the first time the event has been hosted in the United States, which is likely why the 2016 Copa América, officially called the Copa América Centenario (“centenario” is Spanish for “centennial”) has received extra media attention in the West.
Copa América Standings
The game between Haiti and Brazil takes place today (June 8) and is part of the tournament’s Group B; teams are divided into four blocks of four and will play each team within their Group once, followed by the quarter-finals, in which Group B’s winner will play Group A’s runner-up and vice versa. Joining the two countries in Group B are Peru, to whom Haiti lost 1-0 on June 4, and Ecuador, who went the distance with Brazil that same day in a 0-0 tie (yes, a draw can happen in this tournament).
The above results give Peru three points, Brazil and Ecuador one and Haiti zero. Given the Group format means only three games before the results are tallied; Haiti is already at an incredibly disadvantageous position. Logic and both teams’ history in the sport imply a Brazil win should be pretty cut and dry. But is it? When asking, “Who will win Copa América?” should Haiti be given more consideration than they are?
Who Will Win Brazil vs. Haiti?
Unfortunately, the answer is likely “No.” When it comes right down to it, Brazil has more experience and a stronger track record against a team that has simply never shown itself to have what it takes. And if the match with Peru was any indication, that hasn’t changed. A loss to Brazil means they have no chance of advancing, so if Haiti wants to stay in the game, they need to take advantage of the lack of offense their opponents showed in their prior match and keep on the pressure.
But that isn’t to say that Brazil’s one game in the tournament so far has lit the world on fire. The draw with Ecuador was not only very underwhelming but also nearly a loss; Ecuador actually scored late in the game only to have a controversial out-of-bounds call render the goal null and void. The team is also missing star players Kaká, who will likely miss the entire tournament due to a recent muscle strain, and Neymar, who opted out of this competition in favor of the Olympics. However, Miranda should be back to solidify their defense.