Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Pressure is on host Venezuela in Copa America opener
by Paul Kennedy, June 26th, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  copa america, mexico

MOST COMMENTED

Venezuela's record in the Copa America isn't just bad. It's horrible -- only one win in 12 appearances dating back to 1967. Still, the pressure will be on the hosts on Tuesday when they open the 12-team South American championship against Bolivia.

President Hugo Chavez has spent $1 billion on the construction and renovation of the tournament' nine stadiums and infrastructure aimed at putting his government in a positive light abroad.

The national team has come a long way since Coach Richard Paez was a player. He played for Venezuela when it lost to Argentina, 11-0, at the 1975 Copa America. Since Paez took over as national team coach in 2001, Venezuela has made significant strides, particularly in World Cup qualifying.

"They no longer go onto the field wondering how many goals they are going to lose by," Paez said of his players.

Venezuela, which is staging the 12-team event for the first time, is led by left-footed midfielder Juan Arango, the first Venezuelan to play in Spain's La Liga and top scorer for Real Mallorca in the 2005-06 season with 16 goals.

Bolivia, Venezuela's opening opponent in Merida, hasn't won a game at the Copa America since finishing second in 1997. Stars on that team were Erwin Sanchez and Jaime Moreno. Sanchez is now the coach of Bolivia, and he convinced Moreno to come out of international retirement last month after a four-year absence. Moreno is the lone MLS player to represent a South American team at the 2007 Copa America.

In Tuesday's other game, Uruguay faces Peru in San Cristobal.

Uruguay, winner of 10 Copa America titles, has shown signs of life under veteran coach Washington Tabarez. The Celeste is 8-2-2 since the 60-year-old Tabarez returned for his second stint as coach.

Like Tabarez, Peru's Julio Cesar Uribe is in his second stint as national team coach, though all hasn't gone well. He was almost fired in April when a Peruvian tabloid caught him at a Japanese disco after a 2-0 loss to Japan in a friendly game. Poor relations between the national team and the Peruvian press, considered the most hostile in South America, have made life difficult for Uribe and his players.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: NESCAC men's coaches    
"As a supporter, we ask you not engage in any unsportsmanlike actions, which include booing, taunting, ...
AC Milan's Menez brilliantly beats keeper with back-heel     
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] AC Milan's Jeremy Menez scored one of our favorite goals of the year ...
What They're Saying: Jermaine Jones    
"We got a second game we will see what happens there. He hurt me ... I ...
What They're Saying: Tim Leiweke    
"I personally don't think Defoe will come back. I think if he doesn't want to be ...
Report: Johnson steps down as Fox soccer announcer    
[SOCCER ON THE AIR] The Fox Sports experiment with Gus Johnson as its No. 1 soccer ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] For the second time this weekend, No. 2 UCLA had to settle for a ...
MLS run-in complicated by international conflicts    
[DATEBOOK] MLS moves into the final six weeks of the season during which teams will play ...
Galaxy and New York face toughest schedules    
[BY THE NUMBERS] The LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls have the toughest schedules (based ...
Where to Watch European Soccer    
The new European club season has started up. Here are places Soccer America readers recommend where ...
Galaxy drops precious points at San Jose    
[MLS: Sunday] Even if they were on the road, games against Montreal, last in the overall ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives