For the second time in history, the two most important continental tournaments in the world will be played simultaneously. As in 2016, the Copa America and the Euro will simulate a kind of particular World Cup, without intercontinental crossings but with the whole world pending.
In recent times, Europe has shown a notorious supremacy both at the club level, for obvious economic reasons, and also at the national team level, something that had never happened since football became universal. Because if they invented it, we in these lands perfected it, we turned it into art. But since the end of the last century the best South American exponents nurtured their fields and today they are the ones who set the pace.
However, in South America there are indisputable talents, with the ability to compete in any circumstance and against any rival. Therefore, playful exercise is relevant. Who would represent both continents in a face-to-face duel? What would be the result? What would happen if the best of the Copa América faced the best of the Euro? As imagining is free, this would be the duel.
Gabriel Arias placeholder image (Chili) vs. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Someone will say that Brazil has two of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and they are right. However, the 2021 of the head of the Chilean National Team was so extraordinary that he won the place. At 33 years old, Arias is in the best moment of his career and that is something to take advantage of. For his part, the Belgian is a proven guarantee on any stage and was left with a position to which other great figures aspired, such as Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Donnarumma. The reasons? Experience, timeliness and security.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (England) vs. Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Colombia)
The Englishman did not have the best season of his career but he is still the most complete winger in Europe. Strong, fast, with the ability to attack and also to defend. It stands out as a clear exit from the right and also as a lethal weapon on the offensive. For his part, the Colombian is pure South American talent with several seasons in Serie A that gave him maturity, tactical intelligence and knowledge of the role. In addition, he has been one of the best assistants for Juventus.
Fill Days (Portugal) vs. Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay)
The 24-year-old Portuguese came to Manchester City to boost Guardiola’s team defense. His presence gave greater strength and order to the last line of the runner-up in Europe. He was instrumental in the improvement of the team and even won the award for the best player in the Premier League. Josema, for his part, at age 26 has the experience of a veteran. A head of Real Madrid for five seasons, he won the position in Uruguay at 21 and today he is one of the leaders of the new generation. With the strength of the legendary Charrúa defenders and the power of the modern central defenders.
Stefan de Vrij (Netherlands) vs. Marquinhos (Brazil)
Without Virgil van Dijk, de Vrij should be the leader of the Dutch defense. And he has the conditions to take over the task. He has just won Serie A with good performances at Inter and is at the right time in his career to shine in a big tournament. It is a true guarantee. Marquinhos is a true all-rounder. Great central marker but his ability to handle the ball and pass also allows him to stand out as a midfielder. In Brazil he makes an extraordinary pair with Thiago Silva.
Jordi Alba (Spain) vs. Renan lodi (Brazil)
To face a challenge like the Euro, the World Cup or an imaginary game like this, you need experience. And Jordi Alba has plenty. In addition, he knows the figure of the rival very well. He may not have had the best season, but his contribution on the left was one of the high points of an irregular Barcelona. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Lodi has proven his worth in European football beyond the fact that the change of Atlético Madrid’s system and the entry of Hermoso took minutes away from him. In a team like the one that could be the South American, having a winger with his speed is key.
Leandro Paredes (Argentina) vs. N’Golo Kanté (France)
A duel of very different central midfielders. The Frenchman has been an undisputed figure in almost all the tournaments he played (and won) in his career: the Premier with Leicester, the Champions League with Chelsea and the World Cup with France. He is tireless, knows perfectly the map of the field and marks and plays with the same talent and sacrifice. On the other hand, the Argentine has less history but a proven talent in the most difficult scenarios. In PSG he established himself in the position of “midfielder” and acquired virtues that he did not have, such as the location and the route without the ball. You can build game as the best creator and also fall back to help in defense.
Casemiro (Brazil) vs. Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
Paredes is better with a player like Casemiro by his side, something he can’t always have in Argentina. The Brazilian is one of the best in his position for years in Europe. He runs and scores, as is obvious, but he also reaches the goal with ease and enlarges on difficult ones. The German is such a complete footballer that he is capable of playing in any position in the midfield and even in defense. In fact, he began his career as a right back. Today, it is the game engine of Bayern Munich. Everything passes through his feet and he is, on average, the footballer who passes the ball the best in Europe.
Arturo vidal (Chili) vs. Ilkay Gündogan (Germany)
A duel between experienced and gladiators from various battles. The Chilean knows well what it is to make history and, although he has not had so much continuity at Inter, he did add a good number of minutes. His physical ability, intelligence and punch are essential in games that heat up or get complicated. The German was the soccer leader of Guardiola’s City this season. To his accustomed bustle and to his good ball handling he added a goal, since he was the top scorer of the English team. You can open any lock.
Lionel messi (Argentina) vs. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
A no-brainer. The duel between the two greatest footballers of their time was inevitable and pays for itself. Although they no longer play in the same position or fulfill the same role in their teams, they would be the captains of their continental teams and the men capable of defining this and any other imaginary match. In addition, the Argentine would be the main South American argument to achieve victory.
Luis Suarez (Uruguay) vs. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Another expected challenge. If anyone believed that the Uruguayan’s career was in clear decline, it was proven that in no way. A key player in the Atlético Madrid title, he was the scorer he has always been. For his part, the Pole from Bayern Munich was a real machine. For the second year in a row he was the top gunner in Europe and is at the best level of his career. It is difficult for a game to pass without scoring.
Neymar (Brazil) vs. Kylian Mbappé (France)
Companions and rivals. With the presence of the Brazilian, the historic European champion trio Messi-Neymar-Suárez is formed, a partnership with all the historical virtues of South American football. Ney’s qualities are well known and alongside his friends he is further enhanced. The French is every day more complete and his time to reign in world football is very close. To his enormous talent and speed he added even more goal. If it is on a bright day, it is irrepressible.
Tite vs. Luis Enrique
It was a difficult choice. Because Oscar Tabárez deserves all recognition, but Tite’s work in Brazil was impressive. He raised a team that was very bad and made it one of the best in the world. He ordered the figures and empowered them from a collective idea. Ultimately, that is what would be necessary in this imaginary team. The choice of the European was also difficult, but the Spanish is in a very interesting stage of rebuilding the Red and has the tools to drive this boat.
Europe: Manuel Neuer, Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Antonio Rüdiger, Robin Gosens; Luka Modric, Mason Mount, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin De Bruyne; Phil Foden, Karim Benzema, Romelu Lukaku.
South America: Alisson Becker; Danilo, Cristian Romero, Davinson Sánchez, Pervis Estupiñán; Renato Tapia, Federico Valverde, Fabinho, Ángel Di María; Luis Muriel, Duván Zapata, Lautaro Martínez.