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As the South American tournament comes to a close, Goal.com predicts how the continent's strongest teams will change three years from now in the Brazil World Cup

FEATURE
By Daniel Edwards

The last ball has barely been kicked in anger in the 2011 Copa America, but it is already time for South America's biggest teams to look to the future. The tortuous Conmebol World Cup qualifying tournament kicks off in less than three months' time, the start of a three-year process which, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and the rest of the continent's contingent hope, will culminate in lifting the trophy in Brazil.

The Verdeamarelho, of course, will not have to qualify, but the rest of South America's big-guns know that they will face a mighty struggle to join their neighbours in 2014. The Copa America proved that the gap between nations has closed immensely, and every point will be valuable despite the fact that five of the nine remaining Conmebol countries could qualify and join the hosts.

Goal.com looks ahead to 2014, and tries to imagine what the starting line-ups of the biggest hitters could look like three years from now; that is, of course, if the countries mentioned have what it takes to make it there.

ARGENTINA

GOALKEEPER

Sergio Romero


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Pablo Zabaleta

Nicolas Otamendi

Federico Fazio

Marcos Rojo


DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD

Javier Mascherano

Ever Banega/ Fernando Gago


RIGHT WING
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WING

Angel Di Maria

Lionel Messi

Sergio Aguero/ Erik Lamela


CENTRE FORWARD

Gonzalo Higuain/ Facundo Ferreyra

It is devilishly tricky to predict how Argentina will line up in three years' time, especially since the identity of their new coach remains unknown following Sergio Batista's sacking on Monday. If favourite Alejandro Sabella takes over, however, a variation of the 4-2-3-1 he favoured at Estudiantes could well be on the cards.

The most pressing concern is in defence, and young blood such as Otamendi and Rojo deserve to start the new cycle ahead of those who have tried and failed at the back. Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso look unlikely to make it to Brazil with the years rapidly passing by, while in attack the biggest question is how to accommodate the riches Argentina possess up front and still maintaining a balance elsewhere on the pitch. Watch out for young Banfield striker Facundo 'Chuky' Ferreyra, who if he continues on his current trajectory will soon be putting pressure on Higuain for possession of the No. 9 jersey.

BRAZIL

GOALKEEPER

Rafael


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Dani Alves/ Rafael

David Luiz

Thiago Silva

Marcelo


DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD

Lucas Leiva

Elias


ATTACKING MIDFIELD
ATTACKING MIDFIELD

Lucas Moura

Ganso


CENTRE FORWARD
CENTRE FORWARD

Alexandre Pato

Neymar

Preparations for 2014 have already begun in earnest for Brazil, but with the Confederations Cup representing their only taste of competitive football for the next three years it will be difficult to ascertain who can cut it and who cannot when it really counts.

A youthful Selecao disappointed in Argentina, but coach Mano Menezes should keep faith with the likes of Neymar and Pato who will only become more accomplished as the years go by. Lucas Moura is a sparkling talent and could well partner Ganso in a frightening creative partnership, while elsewhere Santos goalkeeper Rafael, Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva and Madrid's Marcelo have more than enough talent to push themselves into the reckoning.

CHILE

GOALKEEPER

Claudio Bravo


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Gonzalo Jara

Waldo Ponce

Carlos Labrin

Marco Estrada


CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD

Mauricio Isla

Gary Medel

Arturo Vidal


ATTACKING MIDFIELD

Matias Fernandez/ Luis Jimenez


CENTRE FORWARD
CENTRE FORWARD

Alexis Sanchez

Diego Rubio

Chile were one of the teams who promised so much before falling in Argentina, as a youthful team took the group stage by storm with fluid, attacking football before unexpectedly going down to Venezuela. There is talent to spare in this line-up, and with Claudio Borghi at the helm a commitment to creativity and high-risk play is almost a given.

Injury-prone target man Humberto Suazo will be 33 in three years time and unlikely to continue holding the line for the Roja, which will open the door for one of Chile's other scintillating talents to make a name for themselves. New Sporting recruit Diego Rubio just failed to make the cut for the Copa but at 18-years-old is a huge prospect, while Carlos Munoz and Eduardo Vargas are further options to partner Alexis Sanchez in attack. The rest of the team could take on a familiar look, with few players ready to step aside in time for Brazil and the World Cup.

COLOMBIA

GOALKEEPER

David Ospina


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Juan Zuniga

Cristian Zapata

Carlos Valdes

Pablo Armero


DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD

Fredy Guarin

Carlos Sanchez


RIGHT WING
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WING

Adrian Ramos

Gio Moreno

James Rodriguez


CENTRE FORWARD

Radamel Falcao

Despite their quarter-final exit, the Cafeteros demonstrated that they boast an exciting young team, strong across the pitch, and one which will only improve through the qualifying campaign and beyond. Some important first-team players will have to be replaced, but overall Hernan Gomez's outfit should be considered real contenders if they can make it to Brazil 2014 intact.

Formidable centre-back pairing Yepes and Perea will most likely be out of the equation by 2014, at 38 and 35-years-old respectively. Cristian Zapata will have the chance to make his case to become a regular starter, while behind them David Ospina can regain his place after missing the Copa through injury. Gio Moreno will come back to give his side much-needed creativity in the final third, and he should be aided by the excellent James Rodriguez, who is one of the biggest talents in world football. 'Bam Bam' will be just 23 in Brazil, and ready to take on the world playing out wide in a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 hybrid formation.

PARAGUAY

GOALKEEPER

Joel Silva


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Ivan Piris

Antolin Alcaraz

Ronald Huth

Miguel Samudio


CENTRE MIDFIELD
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD

Rodrigo Alborno

Victor Caceres

Cristian Riveros


RIGHT WING
CENTRE FORWARD
LEFT WING

Hernan Perez

Lucas Barrios

Marcelo Estigarribia

At 34-years-old, Justo Villar is unlikely to make the 2014 World Cup so Joel Silva, a star at U-20 level, is one of many young keepers lining up to fill Villar’s very large gloves. Apart from Ivan Piris, Paraguay’s defence is relatively old and while Wigan’s Antolin Alcaraz should still be at the top of his game, both Paulo Da Silva and Dario Veron are the wrong side of 30, so ex-Liverpool defender Ronald Huth could step in. He is joined by Libertad’s left back Miguel Samudio, cut from the 2011 Copa America preliminary squad.

The midfield is unlikely to change much but 19-year-old talent Rodrigo Alborno could well develop into a world class player; he is currently on Inter's books. The forward line is familiar, too, with Hernan Perez and Marcelo Estigarribia both impressing on the wings during the Copa America. With Lucas Barrios failing to make an impact at international level he will have to fight for a starting role with Toulouse’s Federico Santander,  unlucky to miss out on a Copa America place.

URUGUAY

GOALKEEPER

Fernando Muslera


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Maxi Pereira

Diego Lugano

Sebastian Coates

Jorge Fucile


RIGHT MID/ FWD
CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD
LEFT MIDFIELD

Edinson Cavani

Diego Perez

Nicolas Lodeiro

Alvaro Pereira


CENTRE FORWARD
CENTRE FORWARD

Diego Forlan

Luis Suarez

Out of all the South American big-guns, Copa America champions Uruguay are likely to change the least. Continuity and slow evolution has been the key for Oscar Tabarez's winners, confirmed by the fact that, out of the 11 players who took the field for Sunday's final against Paraguay, no less than eight took the pitch a year previously for the World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands.

The three Diegos who form the spine of the Celeste side, Lugano, Perez and Forlan, will be coming towards the end of their careers in Brazil but will be desperate to sign off from international football by bringing Uruguay a third World Cup triumph, and so can be expected to make it. Youngsters such as the excellent Sebastian Coates, meanwhile, should be well-installed in the team, and on the sidelines Santiago Garcia, Abel Hernandez and Matias Vecino are just three of the starlets who could be knocking hard on the door for a place three years from now.

Leading the line, Luis Suarez should be considered one of the best strikers in the world as, at 27, he reaches his peak at the head of the Charrua forwards.

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