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Copa America Team of the Week - Angel Di Maria, Diego Godin, Claudio Bravo

:Headline: Copa America Team of the Week - Angel Di Maria, Diego Godin, Claudio Bravo:
Sports Mole selects its Copa America team of the week for matchday three of the competition, including Angel Di Maria, Diego Godin and Claudio Bravo.
Sports Mole

With the third gameweek of the Copa America done and dusted, we now have a much clearer idea of which teams are set to cruise through to the knockout stage and which will be battling it out for the final spots.

The round of fixtures started with an exciting 2-2 draw between Ecuador and Venezuela, keeping it extremely tight at the bottom of Group B.

Peru then pulled off an eye-catching victory as they defeated heavily-fancied Colombia 2-1 in Goiania to move up to third spot, potentially leaving Venezuela and Ecuador to battle for fourth place and the final quarter-final spot.

Argentina were the first side to officially book their place in the final eight, as they defeated Paraguay 1-0 to move two points clear at the top of Group A.

Meanwhile, the chasing pack in that group shared the points, as Chile and Uruguay played out a 1-1 draw, meaning Uruguay remain at risk of dropping out at the group stage.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Copa America team of the week from the latest round of fixtures.


With more goals flying in this week than in the previous rounds of fixtures, there were not as many eye-catching goalkeeping performances, but Chile stopper Claudio Bravo definitely deserves credit after he made four saves in their 1-1 draw with Uruguay to keep his side on level terms. While he was eventually beaten by former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez on the hour mark, Bravo helped his side to a point that they might not have achieved in his absence, and he gets in our Team of the Week ahead of Emiliano Martinez, who narrowly misses out after an impressive performance and a clean sheet.

Beginning the back four is Argentinian right-back Nahuel Molina, who shone in his side's 1-0 win over Paraguay with an excellent all-round performance, comfortably dealing with the opposition's attacking threat while combining well with winger Angel Di Maria going forward, a dynamic performance which sees him make the Team of the Week for the first time this campaign.

He lines up alongside his compatriot Cristian Romero, who occupies the first of two centre-back spots after a standout performance in that win, putting in a monumental display to see his side to a clean sheet and a crucial win. Having not been overly extravagant in the final third, the Argentina performance was reliant on solid defensive foundations, and Romero was at the heart of that, making several key blocks, interceptions and clearances.

The other centre-back slot is filled by experienced Uruguay defender Diego Godin, who marshalled their back four well in the draw with Chile, having only lost out on a clean sheet due to an excellent solo goal from Eduardo Vargas. At the age of 35, Godin continues to defy his years, looking as solid ever as he leads his side and the Uruguay defence by example, narrowly beating Peru centre-back duo Christian Ramos and Alexander Callens to the Team of the Week as a result.

Having ground out a 2-1 victory over Colombia this week, Peru undoubtedly needed a mention in the back line, and the standout performer in their back four was left-back Marcos Lopez, who put in a monumental defensive performance to help his side over the line, while also balancing attacking responsibilities as he was a constant threat down the left flank. Lopez caught eyes with a particularly assured display, comfortably dealing with the threat of Juan Cuadrado, who looked to be the one to inspire Colombia to victory if he was not dealt with so well by the 21-year-old.


While Lopez was arguably the best player in Peru's back four, midfielder Yoshimar Yotun was not only his team's best performer, but comfortably the best player on the pitch, shielding the back four from all of the danger that Colombia managed to cause. Showing immense ability to tackle and break up play, the 31-year-old delivered arguably one of the best performances of his international career, ensuring that Colombia never got too much of a foothold in the game, and stopping a turnaround as a result.

In an attempt to fit in as many centre-midfielders as possible, we have opted for a diamond in the middle of the pitch, and the first player in the centre in front of Yotun is experienced Chile man Charles Aranguiz, who was pivotal in their draw with a strong Uruguay side. Not only was he an excellent enforcer, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder showed immense ability on the ball to create his fair share of good opportunities, but it was ultimately his physical performance that caught eyes as the 32-year-old ensured his 85th international appearance was one to look back on with pride.

Next to Aranguiz in the centre is Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes, who follows in the footsteps of teammates Giovani Lo Celso and Rodrigo De Paul after they took their turns to shine and feature in the Team of the Week in the first and second rounds of the season respectively. It was the Paris Saint-Germain star who shone brightest in their win over Paraguay, orchestrating the majority of their play from deep while also causing plenty of problems for opposition defenders with excellent link-up play with the forwards. The Argentina performance would definitely not have been as dominant if Paredes was not on the pitch, as he got on the ball and ensured they remained in the driving seat throughout the encounter.

Rounding off the midfield, and offering support to the front two, is arguably the standout performer of the week, after Venezuela talisman Edson Castillo almost single-handedly earned his side a point against Ecuador, first levelling the game at 1-1 with a bullet header past Pedro Ortiz at the beginning of the second half. Their opponents then retook the lead and Venezuela looked set to fall to a 2-1 defeat until Castillo, from just inside the Ecuador half, played a pinpoint long ball for Ronald Hernandez to head in from 15 yards, earning a vital point in their bid to qualify for the quarter-finals. The 27-year-old may have dragged his side to the final eight with an inspired performance.


In a somewhat different role to his usual wide position, Angel Di Maria should still thrive in a system like this, especially given the central input from Castillo, and he undoubtedly deserves recognition for his performance in Argentina's recent victory. In the 10th minute, Di Maria collected the ball on the right-hand side, cut in and threaded a perfect ball through the Paraguay defence into the box for Alejandro Gomez to finish and put Argentina ahead, with that goal proving to be the difference in a 1-0 win. His work did not stop there either, as the Paris Saint-Germain star was a constant threat for the Paraguayan back line, regularly beating defenders to create chances and linking up with Molina, cementing his spot in the starting XI for Argentina's next game as a result and pipping the likes of Ayrton Preciado and Miguel Borja to a place in this XI.

He is joined by a more conventional striker in the form of Eduardo Vargas, who netted his second goal of the tournament to put Chile ahead in the first half of their clash with Uruguay, as they went on to draw 1-1, picking up a crucial point as a result. Vargas collected the ball outside the box and showed immense pace and power to burst through the defence before smashing the ball past Fernando Muslera, and he would continue to be a thorn in the side of the Uruguay defence all night, fully warranting a spot ahead of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who did net the equaliser but ultimately had far less of an impact on the game.


Sports Mole's Copa America team of the week (4-1-2-1-2): Bravo; Molina, Romero, Godin, Lopez; Yotun; Paredes, Aranguiz; Castillo; Di Maria, Vargas body check tags ::

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