Reasons why you should cheer for Venezuela:
Venezuela is starving for the attention of lesser footy fans who do not have any blood ties to any country participating in the Copa América. Their team nickname, La Vino Tinto (Red wine), is literally encouraging you to drink alcohol while watching them play!
Their red wine coloUred kits are also unique and a thing of beauty.
Another reason you should cheer for Venezuela is because four members from the MLS are on the Venezuelan squad. Reigning MLS Golden Boot and MVP winner Josef Martinez of Atlanta United will be joined by Real Salt Lake winger Jefferson Savarino, D.C. United regular Junior Moreno and LA Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher. Hurrah chauvinism for one’s domestic lesser footy league!
Aside from getting to cheer on a country full of beautiful women, you get to support a country that is a non-traditional lesser footy power who is currently on the rise.
So much so, this could be the tournament that is Venezuela’s coming out party. So it’s time to jump on the bandwagon before it becomes obnoxiously full, people!
Nickname: La Vino Tinto
Formation: 4-2-3-1, sometimes a 4-3-3 with the wingers playing conservatively.
FIFA Rank: 29
Notable Results: 3 wins (against Argentina, UAE & Panama) and 3 draws (Ecuador, Japan and Iran) and 1 loss (against Mexico) in their last 7 matches.
La Historia: Lesser footy has never had a big following in Venezuela and as a result, the game has been slow to develop both domestically and internationally. A lot of this has to do with their country’s international sphere of influence. During colonial times, if a Latin country was more influenced by England, they became lesser footy fans (see: Mexico, Uruguay, etc). Those who were more influenced by Murrica became lovers of baseball, like Venezuela, Panama and Cuba. As a result, Venezuela is the only South American nation to have never made it to the World Cup tournament.
The increase in popularity of Lesser Footy in Venezuela began when Venezuela hosted the 2007 Copa America. Not only did The Red Wines register their first win at the Copa America since 1967, they were able to make it to the quarterfinals. Consequently, more money was invested in lesser footy, resulting in their domestic league expanding from 10 teams to 18 teams and having nicer stadiums built.
Four years later in the 2011 Copa America, Venezuela made it to the semis and ultimately lost to Paraguay in penalty kicks. It was a heart breaking loss as Venezuela was snake bitten that afternoon and deserved a better fate. Despite this, lesser footy had risen in popularity in Venezuela and the national team’s rank reflects part of that rise. By 2013, Venezuela rose as high as the mid-thirties. Perhaps most promising, is the surplus of talent developing in the youth academy. For example, Venezuela finished runner ups to England in the 2017 U 20 World Cup.
Here’s a breakdown of each component of the team by naming a Venezuelan beauty queen that best fits their description .
Beauty Queen that best describes The Head Coach: Dayana Mendoza
Like Dayana Mendoza got the Miss Venezuela/Miss Universe dynasty run going for Venezuela in the early aughts, Head coach Rafael Dudamel got Venezuela’s lesser footy golden generation established. Dudamel first helped Venezuela develop respect in the lesser footy world by being their goalkeeper. Most notably, he scored a goal against Argentina on a direct free kick in a World Cup Qualifier.
After he retired in 2007,Dudamel got his first chance to coach Venezuela at the 2016 Copa América. After beating Jamaica, Uruguay and drawing Mexico, Venezuela lost to Argentina in the quarterfinals, which saw him getting fired due to bureaucratic politics. Upon getting hired to manage the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup team, Dudamel lead the team to the Finals where they lost to England. Combine this with a disappointing World Cup campaign, and the players and fans were nearing a full blown mutiny to get Dudamel rehired as the coach.
Just like Mendoza’s celebrity, Dudamel has transcended into something more in Venezuela. Remember when Juan Guaidó was on the verge of becoming Venezuela’s next president? Recently, Dudamel decided to meet up with Guaidó’s ambassador to discuss his contract. Guaidó’s camp treated the meeting as a propaganda tool, which pissed Dudamel off. As a result, he threatened to resign. As for Guaidó, have you ever been to a coup where no one shows up?
That’s Dudamel’s power.
The Venezuelan beauty queen that best resembles the goaltending: Denisse Gomez
Denisse Gomez is a hot, barely legal Venezuelan model that has a promising career and is already being pushed to the top. Likewise, Venezuela’s hopes is on Wuilker Faríñez, a recently turned 21 year old goalkeeper who has a career so bright, he likely won’t be playing for the Colombian club, Millonarios in a year’s time, but will be playing somewhere in Europe. With that kind of money, Faríñez might be able to buy a chocolate bar in Venezuela on one credit card. Faríñez was the goalie of the U 20 team that lost in the finals to England and already has 12 caps for the men’s team. This tournament could be his announcement that he is going to be the future of goaltending.
The Venezuelan beauty queen that best resembles the defense: Veronica Rodriguez and Rose Monroe
Your defense has to be one of the all-time GOATs if you can withstand 2 coups in 17 years and crippling sanctions that has killed over 40,000 people– and these attacks against you is lead by the most powerful and dominant militaristic country in the history of mankind.
Just like Veronica Rodriguez and Rose Monroe, this defensive corps is old reliable and pretty solid. The question is, does the Venezuelan defense, led by Espanyol’s Roberto Rosales, have any tread left in their tires? In all honesty, the answer is yes. While the defense is mature, it is still young enough to not have to worry about their age for another couple of years.
The Venezuelan beauty queen that best resembles the midfield: Irene Esser
Irene Esser is popular in Venezuela, even though she was only the Miss Universe runner-up. To be fair, placing second when your answer is this, is something kind of special. Similarly, the second most popular player on the team is their captain and Torino midfielder, Tomas Rincon. Like Esser, who is a double threat (model and actress), the midfield of Venezuela are on double duty, as they tend to drop back and help out/play defense.
The Venezuelan beauty queen that best resembles the forwards: Michelle Lewin
Venezuela’s best known player is New Castle United’s 2019 MVP, Salomon Rondon. Much like Michelle Lewin is strong and fit, Rondon will depend on his ability to fight through the defenders to score for the club– despite the fact his international record of 21 goals in 70 appearances is hardly prolific. Personally, I’d like to see Rondon and Josef Martinez playing at the same time (Martinez usually comes from the bench). I think Martinez has a chip on his shoulder and could do some damage if given a chance to work with Rondon.
Game 1: VS Peru on June 15th: After becoming victims of the curse of the three mummies in the 2018 World Cup, the Peruvian side has decided to say farewell to most of their squad because they don’t want that mummy stank. To be fair, the fact most of the squad was older than Machu Picchu also played a role in the players not getting called up for this Copa America. As a result, this Peruvian squad is very inexperienced with only five players in double digits as far as caps are concerned.
Predicción: 2-1 Red wines. Venezuela’s core players are in their prime and the youth that will be filling in starting spots are very talented and have had some success at a big tournament. Nerves shouldn’t be an issue for them.
Game 2: VS Brazil on June 18th: In addition to being the favorites to win the tournament, Brazil will likely be coming off a 2 or 3 nothing win against Bolivia. They’ll be in fine form.
Predicción: I want to say Brazil wins 1-0 in a slow, boring game, but, there’s something about this Brazilian side that seem mentally weak. I think Venezuela might shock the world and draw Brazil 1-1.
Game 3: VS Bolivia on June 22nd: Bolivia hasn`t won the Copa since 1963 and their best showing since was a quarter finals elimination in 2015. More recently, after beating Myanmar 3-0 in October of last year, Bolivia lost 2-1 to Iran, before a couple of goalless draws. This game isn’t being played in Bolivia—where they have the 11,932 feet of altitude advantage– and they will already be eliminated by this match.
Predicción:3-1 Red Wines
This places Venezuela 2nd in their group.
Predicción for the rest of the tournament:
Venezuela may enter through the back door, but they will beat Argentina 2-1 in the quarters.
Drunk off their win against Argentina, Venezuela loses 3-2 to Brazil in penalty kicks and finishes 3rd after they stun. . . lets say Uruguay.
Sit back, grab a bottle of wine. . .
And watch the Vino Tintos shock the world.