FC Daily: U.S. find crucial Copa America win, while Brazil seeking first
It's Wednesday, June 8, and here's a look at the big stories and what you need to know around the footballing world from FC Daily.
Matches of the day
Brazil return to action against Haiti on Copa America day six, after opening the tournament with a 0-0 draw against Ecuador. Dunga's team looked lively in the first half vs. Ecuador, but wound up being fortunate to come away with a point after a Miller Bolanos goal for Ecuador was disallowed for the ball going out of play even though replays suggested it should have counted. Brazil have a 78.3 percent chance of winning the match, according to the ESPN Soccer Power Index.
Peru opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Haiti, and are currently sitting in first place in Group B ahead of a Wednesday meeting with Ecuador. The second match of the day doesn't bode well for the Peruvians' quest to stay in first place place. The SPI gives Ricardo Gareca's team only a 24.7 percent chance of winning.
Three key points
1. Despite playing a solid opening 45 minutes against Ecuador, we didn't see the Brazil that football fans around the world have grown accustomed to seeing. The exciting wing play that stood out when the Selecao were on the attack in the first half, went out the window in the second, wrote ESPN FC's Tim Vickery. Certainly they are missing Neymar, who is being rested in favour of playing in the Olympics in Rio in August. So perhaps the "ideas" man for Dunga & Co. will be Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool forward was at the heart of the goog things that Brazil did, but couldn't seem to find his magic touch in the final third. The 23-year-old should find more room to roam against a vastly overmatched Haiti team.
2. The U.S. needed a statement game following an opening day loss to Colombia, and Jurgen Klinsmann's team provided it with a 4-0 win over Costa Rica. Clint Dempsey opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the ninth minute and the Americans never looked back. The team looked very lively throughout, especially on the counter, where the second goal came from courtesy of a Dempsey-Jermaine Jones connection with the latter scoring. Klinsmann's team are now in second place in Group A with a 69 percent chance to advance to the final eight after group play concludes.
The other game in Group A on Tuesday saw Colombia beat Paraguay 2-1. Carlos Bacca and James Rodriguez had Colombia two goals up before the half hour before Victor Ayala pulled a goal back. But any hopes Paraguay had of finding a way back into the game were hit when Oscar Romero was booked twice in two minutes, dismissed in the 81st. Colombia are top of the group and now guaranteed of a place in the semifinals.
3. Hopefully the Copa America is whetting the appetite of football fans around the word for another little tournament that's about to begin over in France on Friday. On June 10, France host Romania at the Stade de France on the opening day. If you aren't fired up yet, some of ESPN FC's pretournament coverage should help. We have full squad lists here, a look at team posters for each country, our #EuroRank with the top 25 players at the tournament, and a Top Tenner on the greatest Euro teams of all time.
Player of the day
With a number of Brazil's stars like Neymar, Douglas Costa and Marcelo missing out on the Copa America, this one is a toss up between Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool and Chelsea's Willian. Since the honours went to the former ahead of the Ecuador match, Willian is our player to watch at the Copa America on Wednesday. The 27-year-old was a bright spot in a disappointing season for his Stamford Bridge team, scoring five goals and providing out six assists.
Stat of the day
Clint Dempsey is the second #USMNT player with 50 international goals, joining Landon Donovan. U.S. leads 1-0- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 8, 2016