USMNT in Copa America & Sweden in the Euro 2016

With no MLS or Allsvenskan matches, it is time to follow the national teams in their competitions.

Its pretty simple for Team USA: don't lose to Paraguay. 

A draw is okay because USA finishes with 4 points in group A and the only way they can get eliminated is a big upset by Costa Rica over Columbia. It would be a big upset because Columbia is really good. It would also have to be a big upset in that Costa Rica has to erase their -4 goal differential with a seven goal victory over Columbia.

A win by the USMNT gets them to six points and into the knockout stage.

Paraguay is at the win or go home point. The only way they get to the knockout is to win.

I haven't seen any of the USMNT games but have heard post game comments. The general feeling I get was that the early goals in both matches were key. Colombia got the early goal and US had to chase the game and don't have the skills to break down a solid defense. USA got the early goal against Costa Rica so they had to chase which allowed the US to counter attack and it snowballed into a big win for team USA. The analysts at ExtraTime said this situation played into the US hands because Costa Rica is weak at defensive midfield.

So what does the USA brain trust call for tactically in the first half of the first half against Paraguay?

Do they ask the team to go out and press for the opening goal?

Or do they sit back and let Paraguay be aggressive and hit them when they get too far forward?

If this article is any indication, Paraguay wants to win the game 1-0 and not fall into the trap Costa Rica did and paid for dearly in a 4-0 thrashing.

Meanwhile, in Euro 2016, the usual suspects (France, Germany, and Spain) are favorites. Sweden would be at best a dark horse. Zlatan has had much club success. National team success has been harder to come by because the supporting cast isn't as strong. Nonetheless, he is a game changer and not short on confidence!

UPDATE: Well, well, well. The Scriptwriters at Copa America threw a couple of twists there! The USA got the goal early as the USA fans hoped for. But then the scriptwriters threw in the craziness of Yedlin picking up two yellows thus leaving the USA with 10 for almost all of the second half. Nonetheless, Guzan and the defense held firm and preserved the 1-0 win. But there was one more twist to come: Colombia's manager decided to send out the "B" team against Costa Rica and Costa Rica won 3-2! Classic case of disrespecting your opponent coming back to haunt you. Thus, the US wins group A by goal differential over Colombia.

Sunday's group B match results determine who plays who: the US will get the #2 from Group B and Colombia will get the #1 from Group B. To see the scenarios go here.

UPDATE: Well, well, well. The Scriptwriters at the Copa America throw down another twist by eliminating Brazil with a 1-0 defeat to Peru!
UPDATE: It was a blown call by the refs by all accounts.

USA Fifa ranked #31 face Ecuador (#13)
Colombia (#3) face Peru (#48)

Euro 2016

Meanwhile in Euro 2016, Sweden face Ireland on Monday.

So far the main story line about Euro 2016 has been the fan violence on the streets and in the stands.

On the field, England managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory due to a stoppage time goal late in the game is twist from the Scriptwriters working the Euro 2016.

UPDATE: It is a final. 1-1 Ireland v. Sweden.