Forget the Euros, For the Best Football Look to the Americas

13/06/2016 14:55

So Euro 2016 is under way, and as I write this on the first Sunday of the tournament, there are several questions which need urgent answers. In no order of importance:

Why are opening ceremonies in sporting competitions other than the Olympics still a thing, especially when their main "attraction" is David Guetta?

Can France really expect to win their home tournament with such an aging and immobile defence?

Are Albania the perfect example of why the tournament should not have been extended to 24 teams?

Why were England so reluctant to go for the jugular when 1-0 up against an abysmally average Russia?

If police intelligence cannot intercept gangs of English, French and Russia hooligans, what chance have they got against ISIS?

But most of all - why focus so much on the Euros when there is a superior sporting competition happening right now elsewhere in the world?

In the grand scheme of world football right now, Europe's top nations are not the world's powers, which explains why France are tournament favourites. That honour belongs to South America. For me, any of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and even Uruguay and Ecuador, would be favoured in a straight match against Europe's strongest sides.

The Copa America Centenario, held just one year after the previous Copa in order to mark the 100th anniversary of the first tournament. Held in the USA - the first time it has travelled outside South America - and with 16 teams, 10 from CONMEBOL and six from CONCACAF - the perfect number of teams for a regional tournament, rather than the bloated 24 - it is proving to be a fine celebration of the Latin game, with a string of goals, upsets and controversies that the Euros will have to go some to match.

The opening game saw Colombia defeat the hosts 2-0, with James Rodriguez - remember, he who was the best player at the World Cup two years ago before vanishing into Real Madrid's bench - on the score sheet. The US have recovered however, winning the group with two wins, while Colombia, who needed just a point from their final group game to top Group A and probably avoid Brazil in the quarters, played a weakened side against already eliminated Costa Rica, and lost 3-2.

Brazil, meanwhile, recovered from a goalless draw in their opening game to smash the footballing might of Haiti 7-1, Phillippe Coutinho scoring a hattrick. Unable to recover, however, where Uruguay, who are out after losing their first two games with Luis Suarez injured and on the bench for both losses, versus Mexico and Venezuela.

Chile are the reigning champions, but were in trouble after losing their Group D opener to Argentina, and were set to draw against Bolivia before scoring a penalty in the tenth minute of added time. Yes, tenth. Fergie has nothing on Juan Antonio Pizzi.

If you get a chance to stay up after the Euro games are done and catch the Copa America, or to see some of the highlights, I strongly urge you to do so. It's the best the beautiful game currently has to offer.