Argentina hasn’t won the Cup since 1993 and Brazil since 2007. Brazil’s last title came in the 2013 Confederations Cup but the final happened in very specific conditions, Spain was very tired after the tiring match against Italy which ended in extra time and lots of extra running, and that very fixture also marked the begin of Spain’s decay.
Brazil and Argentina are not doing well. Although Tite stayed, it wasn’t a national consensus and Argentina is going to the tournament with an interim coach. There probably wasn’t a point in the recent past in which both the Conmebol jurisdiction giants have started a cup in such a bad moment.
Argentine local fans suffer seeing their local tournament losing their talent to Europe in a worse situation than Brazil as the local currency is in a bad situation. Spanish football is a very distant world and the Selección is their chance to support their best players but the recent past has been hard for Argentina, some very bad rumours emerged saying that Mascherano decided the formation together with Sampaoli during last World Cup’s crisis, a clear demonstration of total lack of command.
Messi isn’t the leader the Argentines always desired and the tension and behaviour of their local press, notably the famous newspaper “Olé” have made for instance Higuaín announce his early retirement from the national team as he couldn’t bear the excessive criticism.
Brazil and Argentina consider the selection the top job for a football coach, something that doesn’t happen anymore in Europe where the wealthiest coaches work for clubs and not selections.
In sum, it’s fair so say we never saw such a scenario for Argentina and Brazil close to the begin of a Cup, and Neymar’s recent polemic situation in Paris as well as the melancholic end of season of Barça make it a very odd moment in the Conmebol jurisdiction history.
Obviously this leaves lots of room for a third Chilean title in a row or an Uruguayan victory, we can’t forget Uruguay are the most successful nation of this tournament. Maybe this is the best Copa América to bet on an underdog nation, if one still considers Argentina and Brazil the “dogs” considering their current situation.
When Japan was first invited to Copa América, probably no one expected their team to improve and have players at top teams such as Nagatomo, Honda and others. It’s obvious that they aren’t favorites but it’s fair to say that a Japanese title is “more likely than ever” at this Cup, which could cause some embarrassing situation, Conmebol having to give them the Cup to cross the ocean.