Weblog: The football punter

I've got the Copa America mapped out

The late running of the Champions League final this season means I haven't had as much time as I'd like to research the Copa America.

And when I finally got started, I found myself hopelessly distracted by a map of Chile on Wikipedia. What a weirdly-shaped country it is – a long, thin snake snoozing at the side of South America.

So with that in mind – along with the fact that the tournament mascot is a young culpeo fox named Zincha – who's going to win the thing?

Wes Morgan's had a memorable 2015 helping Leicester stay in the Premier League but we can safely rule out his Jamaica side and focus on the big guns.

I've heard a lot about how crucial home advantage could be for Chile – everyone else will be freaked out by playing in such a narrow country, presumably – but remember how that worked out for Brazil at the World Cup?

Both Chile and Colombia gave Brazil a scare before their semi-final drubbing against Germany but I still reckon Argentina are a cut above the rest of South America (and Jamaica).

They're in a decent group, with a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay, Paraguay and Jamaica, and key men Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero finished the season brilliantly.

Just in case they are short of goals, Carlos Tevez has been brought back into the fold by new gaffer Gerardo Martino. Maybe Tevez can cheer up Angel di Maria with tales of rejuvenating a flagging career by leaving Manchester.

The Golden Boot looks a half-decent betting heat with Argentina's Messi, Aguero, Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain up against Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Carlos Bacca, Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez.

I'm going for Aguero, whose goals-per-minute ratio in the Premier League is ridiculously good.

There has to come a time when Messi gets bored of scoring bundles of goals – and he comes into the Copa after a goal drought of, er, one game – so I reckon it's Aguero's turn to fill his boots in the group stage.

There's no denying the Manchester City man's eye for goal – in fact, I'd go so far as to call him a culpeo fox in the box.

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Match in Focus

17:30 We 5Aug BTEU

FK Qarabag v Celtic

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Qarabag have lost only one of their last 18 home matches
Expert verdict
Celtic are getting hot under the collar over a heat-baked pitch in Baku, which may not be up to scratch. It’s been blistering in the Azerbaijan capital – temperatures at kick-off are forecast to be in the mid-30s – so it’s an evening for staying cool, especially with only a 1-0 lead to defend.