We move onto the 10th of 12 teams in the Guide to the Copa America 2015 – and up now is Venezuela. On paper, a decent team with the likes of Salomon Rondon and Juan Arango, as well as many others from inside of Europe’s top 6 or so leagues. This is how their squad looks:
Goalkeepers: Alain Baroja, Wuilker Farinez (both Caracas FC), Daniel Hernandez (Tenerife)
Defenders: Gabriel Cichero (Mineros de Guayana), Grenddy Perozo (AC Ajaccio), Andres Tunez (Buriram United), Wilker Angel (Deportivo Tachira), Roberto Rosales (Malaga), Fernando Amorebieta (Middlesbrough), Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Nantes)
Midfielders: Rafael Acosta (Mineros de Guayana), Alejandro Guerra (Atletico Nacional), Ronald Vargas (Balikesirspor), Franklin Lucena (Deportivo La Guaira), Cesar Gonzalez (Deportivo Tachira), Tomas Rincon (Genoa), Luis Manuel Seijas (Independiente Santa Fe), Juan Arango (Tijuana)
Forwards: Jhon Murillo (Benfica), Gelmin Rivas (Deportivo Tachira), Nicolas Fedor (Rayo Vallecano), Josef Martinez (Torino), Salomon Rondon (Zenit St Petersburg).
Coach: Noel Sanvicente
Likely Lineup (4-5-1): Baroja, Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Amorebieta, Tunez, Guerra, Seijas, Gonzalez, Rincon, J Martinez, Rondon
Here is a quote from South American expect Juan Arango (not the player…):
“If there was one thing that Venezuela proved in their friendly against Jamaica, it’s that they have some problems out wide. Their back line is a bit slow and ageing; in fact if you look at them as an entire team it is ageing overall.
“It’s also a team which wants to be more attacking under Sanvicente as opposed to a more conservative, defensive-oriented style that Cesar Farias had, but the team is having issues making the transition. One thing that helps them is that historically they are a tough nut to crack and could revert to a more defensive style that has given teams like Colombia fits.”
So – an ageing team, and if you remember Fernando Amorebieta for Fulham…you may have a few laughs. Vizcarrondo is also very slow, with the full backs a little more pacey. Arango is getting on (35), and the only decent threat in the side is Rondon, who is not lightning quick. They made the Semi Finals in 2011, but as with Paraguay, many moons have passed since and the players who starred then are now a lot older.
What to Expect?
To compete for 3rd with Peru – they have beaten them recently 1-0, so it should be a decent game! The lack of pace at the back could help Carillo, Farfan and co win the game for Peru, but then again the Peruvians have similar issues. A 2-1 loss to Jamaica again makes them seem vulnerable at the back, especially to pace – so for that reason I’d fancy Peru to win, and the Venezuelans to go home.
If you can find it anywhere, To Finish Bottom is a great bet. Should be around the Evens mark, with Peru similarly priced I’d imagine. Nothing bar that for me, even if its available!
Like mentioned, a poor showing expected. 3 losses is my prediction, with maybe the odd goal for – but their defence is what is going to let them down. If the coach has any sense, it will be the last hurrah for this lot – the likes of Arango should retire and let the next generation come through for the World Cup qualifications, as it they can get a few players to support Rondon, they stand a decent chance