Jamaica (FIFA Rank 55) v Venezuela (74)
Jamaica is hoping to upset one of the top two teams in Group C (Mexico and Uruguay) and make it into the knockout round. To do that they absolutely need three points in their opener against what should be the worst team in the group. Jamaica is coming off a successful Gold Cup run last summer where they upset the USMNT in the Semi-Finals to make the Final before losing to Mexico. They are captained by Wes Morgan, who just lifted the Premier League trophy as captain of Leicester City. Jamaica's odds to win Copa America are as high as 500-1, maybe the Wes Morgan miracle run as captain can continue?
It is hard to write about Venezuela without writing about the economic crisis and massive food and electricity shortages affecting the home country. They replaced their coach in March and Venezuela Under-20 manager Rafael Dudamel was brought in, who will be making his competitive coaching debut in Copa America. With their entire training camp away from Venezuela the thought is that the team will bond away from the problems at home and flourish in the tournament. With matches against Mexico and Uruguay coming up where they will be big underdogs, the opener against Jamaica is crucial for their hopes to advance.
México (16) v Uruguay (9)
New Manager Juan Carlos Osorio (if it seems like Mexico always has a new manager, it's because they always have a new manager) has been in charge since October and Mexico have been dominant in that stretch. Mexico boasts a very talented roster of players all entering their prime, led by Andres Guardado, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Hector Herrera, and Hector Moreno. Those big name players are joined by the core of the Gold Medal winning 2012 Olympic team, including Néstor Araujo, Jesus Corona and Diego Reyes who are brimming with confidence. Look for Mexico to thrive in Copa America even through their tough draw. While the USMNT are the official host, Mexico will most assuredly be the best supported team in stadium throughout the tournament.
Uruguay will be without Luis Suarez for at least the opening game and maybe the entire group stage after he was hurt in Barcelona's Copa del Rey victory. But Uruguay do have rumored new Seattle Sounders signing Nicolás Lodeiro who partners Gastón Ramírez in midfield to bring the creative impetus. Uruguay has been managed by Óscar Tabárez since 2006, he will know that Mexico is his toughest group stage opponent and they can still advance with Jamaica and Venezuela still to play. Look for Uruguay to try to weather what will surely be an early storm of attack from Mexico and play a conservative game plan looking for a counter attack goal.