Alexis Sanchez in, Lionel Messi out: The team of the Copa America group stage

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Barcelona enjoy healthy representation in the best XI from this first round, with Luis Suarez also making the cut - but there is no room for Leo

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    #1 Wuilker Farinez | Venezuela

    It took 262 minutes for someone to finally put a goal past Wuilker Farinez at the Copa America, Leonel Justiniano firing home a late consolation for Bolivia in a game which nevertheless saw Venezuela qualify for the quarters. 

    Against both Peru and Brazil, the 21-year-old phenomenon was at the height of his game, pulling off a string of top-quality saves to secure two clean sheets and two valuable draws for his team. 

    Talk of a transfer to Barcelona has only intensified as a result and the Millonarios No. 1 will get a major chance to impress – and frustrate – Blaugrana skipper Lionel Messi in Friday's last-eight meeting with Argentina.

    The in-form Farinez will likely relish the challenge.

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    #2 Dani Alves | Brazil

    Age is just a number, as Dani Alves is gleefully proving in this home Copa America for Brazil

    At 36, the marauding right-back is relishing the chance to shine for his country again after missing out on last year's World Cup through injury. 

    The Selecao skipper rounded off Saturday's 5-0 mauling of Peru by finishing a terrific team move that he had started, just reward for the constant outlet he has offered his team-mates throughout this tournament so far.

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    #3 Jose Gimenez | Uruguay

    A towering presence alongside Diego Godin at the back for Atletico Madrid, Jose Gimenez is once again proving just as reliable a partner at international level and, so far, looks even sharper than his captain.

    The 24-year-old centre-half helped Uruguay back from the brink against Japan with a 66th-minute equaliser to secure a draw, which, thanks to results elsewhere, ensured the Celeste would make the knock-out stages.

    Gimenez then put in a similarly accomplished display to keep Chile out and send the Celeste into the quarters as Group C winners.

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    #4 Davinson Sanchez | Colombia

    Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez is clearly on a roll, having played a big role in helping Spurs to their first-ever Champions League final in 2018-19. 

    The 23-year-old has now taken his fine form into the Copa America, proving equally impressive for his country, helping Colombia win their first two games by nullifying the Argentina attack and restricting Qatar to barely a shot on goal.

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    #5 Filipe Luis | Brazil

    The omission of Marcelo from this Brazil squad gave Filipe Luis the chance to shine on the left, and the hard-working veteran has not spurned the opportunity to shine.

    He may not catch the eye as much as Alves on the other flank, but in his own understated way Filipe has been one of the Selecao's most consistent performers so far in the Copa. 

    His budding partnership with Everton down the wing is particularly encouraging for the hosts as they look for their first Copa title since 2007. 

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    #6 Wilmar Barrios | Colombia

    He is the unsung hero of the Cafetero line-up, but Wilmar Barrios has been scintillating so far as the side coached by Carlos Queiroz qualified with three wins out of three. 

    The Zenit midfielder kicked off the campaign by marking Messi out of the game in his side's 2-0 defeat of Argentina, and was in similarly effective form as they overcame Qatar to breeze into the last eight.

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    #7 Charles Aranguiz | Chile

    Charles Aranguiz was an essential member of the Chile team in their 2015 and 2016 Copa wins, and he is proving to be just as vital this time round in the Roja's bid for what would be an amazing third straight title. 

    He contributed no less than three assists as Chile took second spot in Group C behind Uruguay and his slick passing will pose problems for any side who face the holders later in the tournament.

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    #8 Philippe Coutinho | Brazil

    All eyes were on Philippe Coutinho at the start of this Copa, particularly after Neymar was ruled out by injury.

    There was one big question: could the playmaker put behind him the disappointment of last season with Barcelona and shine for his nation? The answer is an overwhelming yes.

    With two goals and an assist to date, Coutinho has been key to his team's efforts going forward, renewing his Barca partnership with Arthur to form a menacing creative axis for the Selecao.

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    #9 James Rodriguez | Colombia

    While reports of a move to Napoli continue to circulate, James Rodriguez has kept his head down in Brazil and focused on what he does best: tearing defences to pieces with a flick of his boot. 

    James helped Colombia pull ahead in both of their opening Group B games with delightful assists, freeing Roger Martinez with a 50-metre lofted pass against Argentina before setting up Duvan Zapata in style to help overcome Qatar and seal qualification.

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    #10 Luis Suarez | Uruguay

    Ahead of the Copa America there was no little doubt over Luis Suarez's presence, as the Barcelona destroyer battled injury and returned to fitness just days before the competition kicked off. 

    The striker, however, has not let that affect his performances, showing the same pride and aggression that he always has in international colours to seal a last-eight berth for Uruguay, who go on to meet Peru.

    Edinson Cavani may have outscored his strike partner three to two in this group stage, but Suarez's willingness to put his body on the line for his country in clash after clash underlined why he is such a Celeste favourite.

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    #11 Alexis Sanchez | Chile

    A forgotten man at Manchester United, Alexis has relished the opportunity to put his club woes behind him and spearhead Chile's bid for another Copa title. 

    The forward was on target in both the Roja's opening wins, over Japan and Ecuador, which sealed passage to the quarters with time to spare. 

    And while he could not make the difference to down Uruguay, it was not for want of trying, as he provided pass after pass to keep the Celeste sweating to the very end.