The most important club competition in South America has already defined its groups. In LatinAmerican Post we analyze each one of them.
LatinAmerican Post | Javier Aldana
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Leer en español: Copa Libertadores 2023: ¿Qué equipos tienen más chances de superar la fase de grupos?
The 2023 Copa Libertadores defined its group stage in the draw carried out by Conmebol on Monday, March 27, in Paraguay. Which teams have the best chance of reaching the round of 16? Remember, only the first two of each group will qualify for the next phase.
Group A: The defending champion begins its journey
Flamengo would qualify for the round of 16 without any problem. In the first place, because it is the current champion and retains the majority of its squad. Second, because it is the team in the current Copa Libertadores with the highest value on the market: approximately 161 million euros.
Racing arrives as runner-up in the Argentine league and champion of the International Super Cup and the Professional League Champions Trophy. For this reason, it is likely that they will surpass Aucas, rookie in the Copa Libertadores after winning the Ecuadorian championship. Likewise, it is feasible that they will lead Ñublense, a team that arrives as the current runner-up in Chilean soccer.
Group B: Parity between Uruguayans, Colombians, and Brazilians
Even group because the current Uruguayan soccer champion, Nacional, no longer has its main figure: Luis Suárez. For its part, Internacional from Brazil will compete as runner-up in their country's tournament, as will Independiente Medellín from Colombia. Finally, Metropolitanos arrives as the current champion of Venezuela, but being a lower caliber league, it is considered the weakest of the group.
Group C: The second team with the most options for the title competes
Palmeiras comes as the current champion of Brazil, it is the team with the second-highest value on the market and the second team with the most options to win the title according to most bookmakers, only behind Flamengo and ahead of River Plate. An imminent classification of the 'verdão' is expected to the next phase.
For its part, great equality is predicted among the other teams in the group. There, Barcelona will compete as runner-up in Ecuadorian soccer and Cerro Porteño arrives as the current runner-up in Paraguay. Finally, Bolívar is presented as champion of the Bolivian soccer opening tournament in the middle of 2022 and his greatest advantage is playing in La Paz, a city that is 3,502 meters above sea level.
Group D: The group of death?
River Plate is considered the strongest team in the group, despite the fact that they will no longer have Marcelo Gallardo on the bench. However, they arrive as the current leaders of Argentine soccer led by Martin Demichelis.
On the other hand, Fluminense of Brazil landed as the third-best team in the Brazilian championship and has figures like Marcelo, Germán Cano and Felipe Melo. Likewise, The Strongest arrives as the second-best team in Bolivian soccer and also has the advantage of playing at the height of La Paz. Finally, Sporting Cristal will compete after eliminating Huracán from Argentina in the last preliminary phase of the competition.
Group E: The 'kill giants' against Brazilians, Argentines, and Uruguayans
Independiente del Valle of Ecuador is the current champion of the Copa Sudamericana 2022, defeating São Paulo from Brazil and current champion of the Recopa Sudamericana, defeating Flamengo. For this reason, its reputation as the 'giant killer' of South America increased. Similarly, his recent star signing stands out: the Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno Martins.
However, they will face the always competitive Corinthians, who arrive as the fourth-best team in Brazilian soccer. Likewise, they must face Argentinos Juniors and the Uruguayan runner-up, Liverpool. Therefore, it is expected that Independiente del Valle will qualify together with Corinthians to the next phase if there are no surprises.
Group F: Continental greats against inexperienced
Boca Juniors is the champion of the Professional League and the League Cup in Argentina. Now, he will seek to win the Copa Libertadores for the seventh time. For his part, Colo Colo arrives as champion of the First Division of Chile and the Super Cup of the same country. Likewise, he will seek his second title in the competition.
In contrast, Monagas from Venezuela arrives as runner-up for his country and will participate for the third time in the Copa Libertadores without ever having passed the group stage. Finally, Deportivo Pereira arrives as the unprecedented champion of the Colombian league and will face its first participation in the Copa Libertadores. Given this, a classification of Boca and Colo Colo is predicted without inconvenience.
Group G: Two Brazilians against Paraguayans and Peruvians
Athletico Paranaense and Atlético Mineiro, fifth and sixth best team in the Brazilian championship respectively, lead the group. Both will face the Peruvian champion Alianza Lima and the Paraguayan opening tournament champion, Libertad. Therefore, when considering the level of each league, it is expected that those classified to the round of 16 will be the Brazilian clubs, although the Paraguayan club could come as a surprise.
Group H: An old rivalry and two challengers
Olimpia from Paraguay and Atlético Nacional from Colombia will revive a rivalry that took place in the final stages of the Copa Libertadores approximately three decades ago. Now, the 'Decano' club comes to the competition as the current Paraguayan soccer champion, while 'el verde paisa' qualified by winning the Colombian league in the middle of 2022.
The group is closed by Melgar from Peru, by achieving the runner-up in his country, and Patronato as champion of the Argentine Cup, managing to qualify for the first time in its history in the competition. Consequently, the classification of Olimpia and Atlético Nacional to the next phase is estimated if they do not succumb to the challengers of the group.
All teams will seek 'Eternal Glory' with maximum demand. Likewise, it is necessary to remember that the third-placed player in each group will have a new continental chance by qualifying for the Copa Sudamericana play-offs, which will qualify for the round of 16 of said competition. In addition, the last of each group will definitely lose their international presence this season, so high competitiveness is guaranteed from start to finish.