Squads for the upcoming Copa America could look vastly different by the time the tournament comes around following its postponement.

The latest edition of the competition was scheduled to start in June, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen it pushed back 12 months.

Some veteran players might now fade from the picture before the Copa America gets under way next year, while other stars will have time to recover from injury.

There could also be some new faces on the scene, with a host of uncapped prospects given an extra campaign to break through.

We take a look at five players who might emerge between now and the tournament.

 

GABRIEL MARTINELLI (BRAZIL)

Even beyond Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and co., Brazil have a wealth of attacking talent.

Matheus Cunha and Paulinho each starred at this year's CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament and are already plying their trade in the Bundesliga, yet the nation's most outstanding prospect might reside in London.

Gabriel Martinelli is eligible for both Brazil and Italy, but the Selecao will surely move swiftly to cap-tie the striker.

Martinelli trained with Brazil last year aged 17 after starring for Ituano, and he has continued to impress in his first season at Arsenal, scoring 10 goals in all competitions.

Further progress in the coming season would give Tite something to think about.

 

CRISTIAN ROMERO (ARGENTINA)

Argentina have long had problems at centre-back, with Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi still a regular at international level.

However, head coach Lionel Scaloni could soon have greater options to choose from, with younger talents now breaking through.

Nehuen Perez might well have gone to the 2020 Copa America, having been called up for the first time late last year after promising loan spells away from Atletico Madrid, but he could soon find himself nudged back down the pecking order.

Cristian Romero appears well-placed to establish himself, having earned a €26million move from Genoa to Juventus at the start of the season, although he returned on loan to his former club, who are enduring a testing campaign.

With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci ageing, Romero should get opportunities with Juve next term - and Argentina could soon come calling.

 

DIEGO ROSSI (URUGUAY)

Uruguay continue to rely on a number of their veterans of previous tournaments, but this will have to change in the coming months and years - especially in attack.

Luis Suarez faced a race to be fit for the 2020 edition, while Edinson Cavani's club future is in doubt as his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires. Even Cristhian Stuani is now playing in Spain's second tier. All three are 33 years old.

And Diego Rossi should back himself to be in position to put pressure on that star trio in 12 months' time.

Rossi left Penarol for Los Angeles FC aged 19 and has proven an instant hit in MLS, scoring 29 goals in 68 regular-season appearances, helping his club win the 2019 Supporters' Shield.

LAFC general manager John Thorrington has spoken of "significant interest" in Rossi from Europe, and such a move would give the forward a great chance of making the grade for Uruguay.

 

JORGE CARRASCAL (COLOMBIA)

Rossi's LAFC team-mates Eddie Segura and Eduard Atuesta both appear set for first Colombia caps, but Jorge Carrascal might now have nudged to the front of that queue.

A tricky winger who debuted for Millonarios at just 16, Carrascal initially struggled after joining River Plate on loan from Ukraine's Karpaty Lviv last year.

However, Carrascal improved as the season went on, earning a permanent switch to River - and, crucially, a call-up to the Colombia Under-23s.

Representing his country at youth level for the first time since 2015, the 21-year-old scored in each of his first three games at the Pre-Olympic Tournament and started all seven matches.

A return to the River Plate XI this year could see Carrascal earn a senior Colombia call-up.


REINIER (BRAZIL)

It might seem a long shot for a player who has yet to feature for Real Madrid's first team and started only twice at the Pre-Olympic Tournament to be playing for Brazil's senior side in just over a year's time.

But Reinier will have the benefit of 12 months in the limelight at one of the world's biggest clubs.

After signing from Flamengo for €30m, Reinier netted a brace in just his third Castilla appearance - his final match before the coronavirus crisis intervened.

The pre-season will be key if the 18-year-old is to get a chance at Madrid in 2020-21, and there is no reason why he could not then do enough to catch Tite's eye.

Vinicius Junior made a big-money move from Flamengo to Madrid in 2018 and had debuted for Brazil within 12 months of his LaLiga bow. The path is clear.

CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to postpone the start of its 2022 World Cup qualifying, scheduled for this month, due to coronavirus fears.

In a letter sent to FIFA on Wednesday, CONMEBOL asked for its opening qualifiers, scheduled for March 26, 27 and 31, to be postponed.

COVID-19 has killed more than 4,600 people worldwide while affecting more than 126,000.

CONMEBOL cited the possibility of players not being able to travel from Europe due to coronavirus as a reason for its request.

"The member countries of CONMEBOL – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have requested the CONMEBOL to submit to FIFA's consideration the request to postpone the start of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup," the statement read in part.

Lionel Messi's Argentina are due to begin their qualifying campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires, while Brazil are scheduled to face Bolivia in Recife.

The other matchday one games are Paraguay-Peru, Uruguay-Chile and Colombia-Venezuela.

Argentina will open the 2020 Copa America with a blockbuster clash against Chile in Buenos Aires.

In a rematch of this year's third-place play-off, which Argentina won as Lionel Messi and Gary Medel were sent off, the teams will meet again at the El Monumental on June 12 next year.

While the draw took place on Tuesday, the nations already knew almost all of their opponents with teams split into zones for next year's tournament in Argentina and Colombia.

However, Australia – playing at their first Copa America – were drawn into Group A, which features Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Qatar, the other invited nation, will meet Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

Brazil will go into the tournament as defending champions after their success at home this year.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Group A: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay.
Group B: Colombia, Brazil, Qatar, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru.

James Rodriguez has been ruled out of Colombia's friendly against Peru on Friday after suffering a knee injury in training.

The Real Madrid midfielder, 28, will miss the clash in Florida after hurting his left knee, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) said in a statement on Thursday.

James complained of "discomfort" in his left knee during training, leading to the FCF ruling him out of the Peru fixture.

"The player was evaluated by the medical body and his first diagnosis is reserved," the statement said.

"For now and as a precaution, the player James Rodriguez is ruled out for the match against Peru.

"In the next few hours, a detailed imaging study will be carried out to confirm the definitive diagnosis."

Colombia are winless in their past five matches and will also face Ecuador on Tuesday.

James has made nine appearances for Madrid this season, scoring once.

Alexis Sanchez may require surgery after suffering an ankle tendon injury while on international duty with Chile, Inter have confirmed.

Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda had suggested Sanchez – who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United – could be set to miss "two to three months" after suffering an ankle injury in Saturday's friendly with Colombia.

The forward had further tests upon his return to Milan, with the results of those examinations confirming Sanchez has dislocated his ankle.

"Sanchez underwent medical tests earlier this morning at the Humanitas Institute in Rozzano," read a statement from Inter. 

"Results revealed a joint dislocation in his left ankle which has caused damage to the peroneus longus tendon."

Sanchez will now travel to Barcelona for consultations with professor Ramon Cugat, who has often treated injured Manchester City players, including Benjamin Mendy and Kevin De Bruyne, to determine whether an operation will be required.

Former Arsenal star Sanchez has made four appearances for Antonio Conte's side this term, scoring one goal in Serie A, though he was sent off later in that match against Sampdoria.

Alexis Sanchez could be sidelined for "two to three" months after sustaining a potentially serious ankle injury, according to Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless friendly draw with Colombia on Saturday after suffering what the Football Federation of Chile described as a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons".

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will undergo further tests in Milan, with Rueda suggesting he could be out of action for the foreseeable future if surgery is required.

"If the club operates, we could be without him for two to three months," he told a media conference. "It is a pity. He had been regaining form for his club and played in the Champions League.

"Now we have to wait for these crucial hours to know what decision the club will take."

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

Alexis Sanchez will leave international duty to have an assessment on a potentially serious ankle injury, the Football Federation of Chile (ANFP) has confirmed.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless draw with Colombia in an international friendly on Saturday.

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will travel back to Milan for tests on an injury that may require surgery.

Sanchez has suffered a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons", according to the ANFP, and will miss Tuesday's game against Guinea.

"Tests with magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic echotomography will be carried out to make the best therapeutic decision," said an ANFP statement.

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

The 30-year-old may be a doubt for an upcoming Champions League double-header against Borussia Dortmund.

Inter host the Bundesliga side on October 23 then travel to Dortmund for the reverse fixture in Group F two weeks later.

Colombia and Chile drew 0-0 in a boisterous friendly that saw heavy challenges flying between the South American rivals.

The result in Alicante mirrored the scoreline after 90 minutes of June's Copa America quarter-final, which Chile went on to win 5-4 on penalties, and it was clear neither side wanted to lose face in front of a lively crowd at Estadio Jose Rico Perez.

In the absence of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, Colombia started with Duvan Zapata up front alongside Luis Muriel and Roger Martinez and looked the more dangerous side throughout.

Juan Cuadrado's 40-yard spring almost produced an early goal but he fired into the legs of Claudio Bravo after 16 minutes.

Colombia dominated the first half but Chile countered dangerously, with Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez combining for a sweeping move that Barcelona man Vidal failed to finish off.

Cuadrado went down clutching his ankle after a scything challenge from Erick Pulgar in the box shortly after half-time but had his claims for a penalty dismissed by the referee.

A member of Carlos Queiroz's coaching staff was shown a red card after tempers spilled over on the Colombia bench, and four yellow cards were shown as the second half turned into a scrap.

One moment of quality from Colombia saw substitute Jefferson Lerma presented with a clear shooting chance from the edge of the box eight minutes from time, but his attempt was at a comfortable height for Bravo, who saved to ensure the scoresheet remained blank at the final whistle.

Brazil coach Tite rued not giving Vinicius Junior his international debut in Friday's friendly against Colombia, owing the decision to Neymar displaying "perfect" body language upon his return.

Real Madrid talent Vinicius has long been tipped to make the breakthrough at senior level for Brazil, having sparkled in his fledgling career with Flamengo and then last season in Spain.

Injury denied him a first cap in March after he was called up for matches against Panama and Czech Republic, while he failed to make the cut for Tite's Copa America squad.

Tite planned to let the 19-year-old feature as Brazil drew 2-2 with Carlos Queiroz's Colombia, but instead opted to keep Neymar – playing his first match for club or country in three months – on the pitch in an attempt to maximise the Paris Saint-Germain star's fitness.

"Vinicius was ready to enter," Tite told reporters. "The idea was to for him to come on, but circumstances change.

"He will have his chance. Of course, he will be used as a left winger. Playing in the national team is already complicated, the yellow shirt weighs on anyone.

"So, in the case of Vinicius, I will put him in his natural position, where he is accustomed and feels comfortable.

"The plan was not that Neymar played 90 minutes, he came from more than three months without playing, and I was about to take him off three times during the second half, but he was improving technically and physically as the minutes passed.

"I was talking with Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar and our physio during the match and we decided to leave him on the pitch.

"I don't think he expected me to play him for 90 minutes, I saw him look at the bench a couple of times, but his body language was perfect, he was not tired and there was no point in taking him out.

"The level of the game was so high and I saw the team at such a good pace that I didn't want to make any more changes."

Neymar scored Brazil's second goal, after a Luis Muriel brace had cancelled out Casemiro's headed opener.

Brazil are next in action against Peru on Wednesday.

Brazil coach Tite admitted Neymar's performance in the 2-2 draw with Colombia surprised him as he revealed he has a "relationship of truth and loyalty" with the unsettled forward.

After a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona failed to materialise in the transfer window, fit-again Neymar played for the first time in three months in Brazil's friendly at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami.

He made an impact 19 minutes into the game when his corner teed up Casemiro to give Brazil the lead and, though Colombia turned the game on its head with two goals in nine first-half minutes, Neymar side-footed an equaliser into the net after the break.

Tite said he considered substituting the 27-year-old but instead allowed him to play the full 90 minutes, having been impressed with Neymar's display.

"I said, 'I'll take him off' for the sake of physical preservation," Tite told reporters after the game.

"But I saw that his physical responses were strong, intense, and coordinated. I could see him growing.

"As the end of the game approached he produced more and more. He keeps his technique light and creates space. He was above my expectation."

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has yet to include Neymar in any of his four matchday squads in Ligue 1 this season, but Tite gave a glowing assessment of the forward's condition.

"We talked yesterday about monitoring the performance of Neymar from 45 minutes," he said. "A player starts thinking and cannot perform [when fatigued]. But he was thinking and performing. It surprised me."

After scoring Brazil's second goal, Neymar wrapped his arms around the Brazil coach, who said the pair enjoy a strong working relationship at a time when the forward's career is in a tumultuous phase.

"It is a reaction of true loyalty," said Tite. "We have a relationship of truth and loyalty. We say what we think is right, what is wrong.

"It is a transparent relationship. I don't analyse other facts, other situations. But I can say that we have a real relationship."

Dani Alves described playing with Neymar as a joyous experience after the Brazil star scored on his long-awaited return to the pitch.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward set aside three months of injury issues and transfer speculation as he made his first appearance of the season in the Selecao's 2-2 friendly draw against Colombia in Florida on Friday.

Though relatively quiet in the first half, he delivered the corner from which Casemiro opened the scoring and later preserved his side's unbeaten streak by side-footing home in the 58th minute.

Luis Muriel scored a brace in between for Colombia, but Neymar's influential outing grabbed attention in the wake of his failed move back to Barcelona.

"It's always a joy to have Ney doing what he knows best, enjoying himself and doing his best for the national team," the experienced Alves told Globo.

"We have affection for him and when he is focused his level is very high.

"Let's let him do what he can do, which is to play football. We're here to help him."

The warmth with which Brazil's players greeted Neymar's return was not shared by Colombia, who fouled the PSG star four times.

One notable shove from Davinson Sanchez ended with the 27-year-old Neymar flying into the advertising board.

Goalscorer and Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, recipient of the game's only yellow card for a first-half tackle on striker Muriel, was unimpressed with the opposition's approach.

"Guys come to play against Brazil and want to intimidate, putting their hands on us, talking, wanting to hit us," Casemiro said.

"You have to win on the ball. They have their tactics and we have ours. When it comes to Brazil there are no friendlies.

"Teams are always strong against us, so we have to play hard.

"I took the yellow [for the challenge on Muriel] and I apologised."

Neymar scored and set up another as the Brazil star made his long-awaited return in the South American champions' 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia.

An ankle injury had sidelined Neymar since June and forced the Paris Saint-Germain forward to miss Brazil's successful Copa America campaign as he eyed a return to Barcelona.

Neymar – who was unable to engineer a Barca comeback – made his first appearance of the season for either club or country in Miami on Friday, setting up Casemiro's opener before equalising in the 58th minute.

Luis Muriel's first-half brace cancelled out Casemiro's 19th-minute goal but Neymar came to the rescue 13 minutes into the second half as Tite's men extended their unbeaten run.

While Brazil welcomed back Neymar, Colombia were without star duo James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao – who joined Turkish giants Fenerbahce prior to the transfer deadline – due to injury.

But Colombia made a lively start and were the better of the two teams as Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina came close to opening the scoring.

Neymar was relatively subdued in the first half however he provided the cross from a corner for Casemiro to head Brazil into a 19th-minute lead – the Real Madrid midfielder rising highest to beat David Ospina.

Brazil's lead was short-lived as Colombia equalised five minutes later through Muriel, who converted a penalty after being struck by Alex Sandro's high boot.

Richarlison had a good chance to restore Brazil's advantage but the Everton star's curling effort went just wide of the far post approaching the half-hour mark.

Colombia found the back of the net in the 30th minute but it was ruled out for offside, though it mattered little as Muriel struck four minutes later.

A great break from Roger Martinez saw Duvan Zapata receive the ball and play it out wide to Muriel, who fired past Brazil goalkeeper Ederson, before Ospina preserved Colombia's buffer by rushing out to thwart Richarlison.

Brazil returned to the pitch with renewed optimism and almost restored parity seven minutes into the second half but Philippe Coutinho's effort flashed just wide of the post following a terrific piece of skill to control the ball.

Coutinho was at the heart of the Selecao's 58th-minute equaliser after the Bayern Munich loanee picked out Dani Alves with a stunning pass from the half-way line as the latter squared a ball across the six-yard box for Neymar to side-foot into an empty net.

 

What does it mean? Brazil stay unbeaten

Tite's Brazil were not at their brilliant best, but they did enough to make it 17 matches without defeat. It is a streak dating back to the nation's 2018 World Cup elimination at the hands of Belgium.

Neymar fit and closing in on record

After months of speculation and fitness issues, Neymar returned to the field and he was influential in the draw. The 27-year-old scored his 61st goal in 98 international appearances – moving within one of second-placed Ronaldinho as Pele (77) continues to hold Brazil's record.

Muriel stakes his claim in Falcao's absence

Muriel had only managed three international goals for Colombia, dating back to his first in February 2013. However, the 28-year-old almost doubled that tally against Brazil. After scoring a brace in Atalanta's Serie A opener on August 27, Muriel is emerging as a key player for club and country.

What's next?

Brazil will face Peru in a rematch of the Copa America final on Tuesday, while Colombia meet Venezuela on the same day.

Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao not been included in Colombia's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Venezuela.

Madrid confirmed on Monday the 28-year-old had suffered a calf injury in his right leg but did not say how long he would be out for.

James started for the Spanish giants for the first time since May 2017 on Saturday, when Zinedine Zidane's side were held to a 1-1 LaLiga draw by Real Valladolid.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli were reportedly interested in signing James during the transfer window, but a deal failed to materialise and it looks likely he will stay at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the transfer deadline of September 2.

Falcao is yet to make an appearance for Monaco this season due to injury and in his absence Colombia have called up Duvan Zapata, Rafael Santos Borre, Luis Muriel and Roger Martinez in attack for the double header.

Chile kept their Copa America title defence alive with a penalty shoot-out win over Colombia in the quarter-finals on Friday.

In what was a largely scrappy and tight encounter, two-time defending champions Chile were held to a 0-0 draw at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Chile twice thought they had found a breakthrough, but strikes from Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal were ruled out after VAR reviews.

But they delivered in the penalty shoot-out, Alexis Sanchez converting the winner to seal a 5-4 success after William Tesillo missed for Colombia.

Chile edged the first half and Aranguiz forced a superb save from Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina with a 12th-minute header, although the VAR would likely have ruled out the effort for offside if it had gone in.

Aranguiz thought he had given his side the lead just four minutes later.

Sanchez played in Jean Beausejour down the left and Ospina, along with Davinson Sanchez, made a mess of the cross, with Aranguiz netting from an angle.

However, the goal was ruled out after a VAR review, with replays showing Sanchez was narrowly offside down the left.

The first half lacked any real rhythm, with Guillermo Maripan heading a Beausejour cross over 10 minutes before the break and Vidal curling a Sanchez pass just wide moments later.

The battle continued after the break, with efforts from distance or set-pieces appearing the most likely avenues to a goal for both teams.

The VAR was again involved after Chile thought they had their opener through Vidal in the 71st minute.

Vidal finished clinically from inside the area, but the goal was ruled out after Sanchez's volley hit the arm of Maripan in the build-up.

That was the last of the opportunities through 90 minutes before Chile were too good in the shoot-out.

Vidal, Eduardo Vargas, Erick Pulgar and Aranguiz produced fine spot-kicks before Tesillo fired wide, Sanchez stepping up to put away the winner.

 

What does it mean? Chile edge through

Chile are still on track for a remarkable third straight Copa America title. They were the better team for longer periods against Colombia and deserved their win.

Chile continue Colombia dominance

Colombia just cannot get past Chile. For the fourth time in Copa America knockout games, Chile beat Colombia, while they are undefeated in their eight clashes at neutral venues.

Not capitalising on Sao Paulo traffic

Both teams reportedly arrived later than expected at the ground due to traffic in Sao Paulo, but Chile particularly so, leading to kick-off being delayed. Perhaps because of that, Colombia looked dangerous in the opening 20 minutes without taking advantage and Chile settled into the contest from there.

What's next?

Chile will face either Uruguay or Peru in a semi-final in Porto Alegre on Wednesday, while Colombia look ahead to friendlies with Brazil and Venezuela in September.

Colombia drew on their reserves to defeat Paraguay 1-0 and make it three wins from three in the Copa America group stage.

Carlos Queiroz's side earned all three points at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, despite the coach making 10 changes to the team that beat Qatar last time out.

Gustavo Cuellar's first-half strike, which went in off the right foot of Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez, made the difference.

Colombia had a goal disallowed in the second half as well, when substitute James Rodriguez flicked a clever pass with the outside out of his boot to Luis Diaz, who controlled and lashed a shot past Fernandez from 10 yards. After a long wait, a VAR review showed the ball had brushed Diaz's right arm and the goal was ruled out.

Paraguay, who have two points, now face a nervy wait to find out if they have done enough to progress out of Group C with one of the two best third-placed records.

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