The 8 Players to Follow in Copa América

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La Copa América has begun with some exciting games (and some not so exciting ones *cough cough Mexico-Bolivia *)…

In addition to the great games that are coming up, the tournament also gives us an opportunity to see new rising stars. Here are our picks for players who could join the ranks of Latin America’s biggest stars like as Neymar, Messi, James, and Alexis Sanchez, if they play their cards right this tournament.

Douglas Costa, Brazil

In addition to Neymar, Brazil has Shaktar’s rising star Douglas Costas in its arsenal. The young player came off the bench to score a last minute goal in Brazil’s 2-1 victory over Peru.

Alain Baroja, Venezuela

He led Venezuela to their victory against Colombia in their first game in the tournament. The young player has become a sort of good luck amulet for the Vino Tinto; they’ve won all 4 of their games since he joined the national team.

Javier Pastore, Argentina

The PSG Argentine is one of the tournament’s best midfielders. Although he has the characteristics of a creative “10”, he’s not as fast as Messi, which makes it difficult for them to play together with Pastore as a midfielder. Instead, Tata Martino has put him as a winger hoping he can bring some danger to Argentina’s attack from the sides.

Jackson Martinez, Colombia

Jackson is not a rookie, at least not at club play. The 28-year-old striker has made a name for himself playing for Porto, but surprisingly has not been able to make his mark on Colombia’s national team. He was relegated to the bench by Coach Pekerman, who prefers strikers Bacca and Teofilo Gutierrez. But in the loss against Venezuela, where Martinez played only 10 minutes, he showed more ambition and strength than both Gutierrez and Bacca. With Colombia having suffered a devastating loss and with a game against Brazil coming, the future Milan player might just become essential for his team’s comeback.

Nelson Haedo Valdez, Paraguay

“A Paraguayan never gives up.” These were Valdez’s words after the 2-2 tie against Argentina, a game in which Paraguay was down 0-2. The striker scored an amazing goal from outside the box, showing his power and strength when fighting each ball.

Eduardo Vargas, Chile

Vargas has won the trust of Chile’s Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli. And with reason: at just 25, he scored his 19th international goal in Chile’s 2-1 win over Ecuador in the starting game of the tournament. He seems to be getting along well with fellow striker Alexis Sanchez, so we will most surely be seeing a lot of him. He might just be the revelation of the Copa América.

Jesús Tecatito Corona, México

With a spectacular dribble, he was the best thing Mexico had going for them during their disappointing tie against Bolivia. The Twente striker is the only Mexican player who will play both the Copa América and Gold Cup this summer.

Diego Rolán, Uruguay

Given Luis Suarez’s suspension from international-play due to his biting maña, it’s the 22-year-old Rolan who has taken the mantle, teaming up with Edinson Cavani in Uruguay’s attack. He plays in France for the Girondins and showed promise in the first game against Jamaica.