After a tepid start to Copa America, the tournament has really kicked off. Thursday's upset by Venezuela over Uruguay and Jamaica's valiant but eventually futile effort against Mexico might have been the best day of the tournament for a neutral. Today, the star enters center stage as Messi is expected to start for Argentina. Note that both games today are on broadcast FOX, not Fox Sports.
Chile (FIFA Rank 5) v Bolivia (82)
Chile played well and made a lot of fans in their spirited opening match against Argentina in a sold out Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, but it still resulted in a 2-1 loss. As Uruguay discovered yesterday, losing to the group favorite in the opener and then not playing your best in the second match where you are heavy favorites can lead to an early exit from Copa America.
Bolivia lost their opener 2-1 to Panama, a game that was played through a tropical storm in Orlando. If they have any chance of advancing to the knockout rounds, then they need to beat their traditional cross Andes rivals. With their next game in Seattle against Argentina, they will be putting everything into pulling the upset today.
Argentina (1) v Panama (56)
After missing the opening match, Messi is expected to play today. Or is he? With attacking talent such as Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain in great form, Higuain broke the Serie A scoring record with Napoli this season netting 36 goals, manager Gerardo Martino could opt to rest Messi to ensure he is 100% heading into the knockout round and ready for his appearance in Seattle on Tuesday. Martino has the luxury of so much attacking talent, he brings Sergio Aguero off the bench as an impact attacking sub.
Panama is happily sitting on three points after everyone's favorite MLS villain, Blas Perez, scored a brace against Bolivia included the 87th minute game winner. With the final match probably being for a spot in the quarterfinal against Chile, Panama will be in a position to sit back and try to make the game against Argentina as ugly as possible and hope for a draw.
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