Copa 2016: US face Colombia, Gustavo leaves Selecao squad, Messi’s trial latest


The Copa America Centenario 2016 officially kicks off today, as tournament hosts US takes on Colombia as Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Details: KO 9.30 pm ET, Fox Sports 1
Live stream info: How to watch Copa America live online.

United States are massive underdogs in Group A behind Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay. But with an enormous home support behind them and the team riding on momentum, US are hoping to progress beyond the group stages.

The hosts are currently riding on confidence following three straight victories in warm up games against Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Bolivia. But, we all know, these results hardly mean anything.

US manager Jurgen Klinsmann believes his team is capable of beating Colombia on the opening match.

“Having the opportunity to open up the competition with a game against Colombia, which is one of the best teams in the world, it’s a real pleasure,” Klinsmann told reporters during his prematch news conference on Thursday.

“But it’s also something that in this specific moment you want to see where you stand, where you are right now. … I think we have strong enough, talented enough players to beat Colombia.”

Klinsmann has set the goal of reaching the semifinals of this competition, but it will be a difficult game against Colombia who are expected to pose a stiffer challenge.

The Cafeteros boast several world class attacking players on their ranks, including Juan Cuadrado, Carlos Bacca and James Rodriguez.

Brazil Squad: Luiz Gustavo out of Copa 

Luiz Gustavo has been pulled out of Brazil’s Copa America squad on Thursday. He has cited personal reasons and the Brazilian Football Federation have granted his request to return home.

The Wolfsburg midfielder became the sixth player to pull out of Brazil’s Copa squad. He was replaced by uncapped Gremio midfielder Wallace.

Ricardo Oliviera, Douglas Costa, Kaka, Rafinha, and Emerson are the other Brazilian players who were pulled out of the squad through injuries.

Brazil open their Copa America campaign against Ecuador on Saturday in Pasadena, California.

The updated Brazil squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Diego Alves (Valencia), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Barcelona), Fabinho (Monaco), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Douglas Santos (Atletico Mineiro), Miranda (Inter Milan), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo)

Midfielders: Elias (Corinthians), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Lucas Lima (Santos), Willian (Chelsea), Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain), Walace (Gremio)

Forwards: Hulk (Zenit), Ricardo Oliveira (Santos), Gabriel (Santos), Ganso (Sao Paulo)

Latest on Lionel Messi’s tax trial 

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi said he didn’t have any knowledge of the tax issues that led to fraud charges against him.

The Argentine revealed that he merely signed documents without reading them because he trusted his father and legal advisors.

Witness called to testify on the second day of his trial said that although Messi had signed documents, it was his father who was responsible for handling the player’s businesses.

Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, could be sentenced to nearly two years in prison if found guilty. He has been charged of defrauding Spain’s tax authority of 4.1m from 2007-09.

It is highly unlikely Messi is sentenced to prison, but he may have to pay a hefty fine. With off-pitch issues grabbing the headlines, can Messi clear his mind and take Argentina to Copa victory?

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