2021 Copa America: Can anyone stop Brazil? Who will win the Golden Boot?

Following two weeks of action, the oldest international soccer tournament in the world is about to enter its quarter-final stage.

The two favourites - Brazil and Argentina - have both looked strong after topping their respected groups with ease.

But before you dismiss the other six contenders in the outright market, don't forget that the two South American giants have only won one of the last four Copa America tournaments between them. 

As Euro 2020 has proven, anything is possible in the knockout stages of a major tournament. With that in mind, here's special look at the final week of the competition.

Quarter-Final draw

Argentina vs Ecuador

Uruguay vs Colombia

Brazil vs Chile

Peru vs Paraguay

Outright market

Three wins from four games. Ten goals scored and just two conceded. It's no surprise that Brazil are priced as short as 8/11 to defend their Copa America title.

But while those numbers do look impressive, it's fair to say that Tite's men have taken their foot off the gas during the last two games.

Brazil before their game with Venezuela
Brazil before their game with Venezuela

Brazil kicked off the tournament in style winning 3-0 against Venezuela and 4-0 against Peru.

But a controversial 2-1 win over Colombia and a mere 1-1 draw against Ecuador has cast a slim shadow of doubt regarding their title winning credentials.

With the hosts offering little value in the outright market, it may be best to look elsewhere.

Can Argentina end 28-year wait for the Copa America title?
Can Argentina end 28-year wait for the Copa America title?

Argentina, for instance, are currently second favourites at 2/1 to win their first Copa America crown since 1993.

Lionel Messi, who has recently turned 34-years-old, is running out of time to claim his first major international honour with the national team.

Considering Argentina are in good form and Messi is desperate to solidify his legacy, La Albiceleste may be worth a go at their current price.

Uruguay manager, Oscar Tabarez
Uruguay manager, Oscar Tabarez

The third favourites, according to the bookmakers, are Uruguay.

At 10/1, Oscar Tabarez's side would appear like a golden betting opportunity. But beware.

The team may have finished second in their group but they're not firing on all cylinders. Uruguay picked up two wins from their four group games however, their low amount of created chances is concerning. 

What's more, their quarter-final clash against Colombia doesn't exactly represent an easy draw.

Colombia are 18/1 to win the tournament
Colombia are 18/1 to win the tournament

Despite finishing third in their group, Colombia certainly impressed in their latest outing; a 2-1 defeat to Brazil which was rather controversial considering the ball hit the referee in the build-up to Brazil's first goal. 

Colombia are themselves priced at 20/1 to claim what would be only their second Copa America title.

Should they have a full team to their disposal, Reinaldo Rueda's side cannot be easily underestimated.

Chile's Arturo Vidal
Chile's Arturo Vidal

One final mention has to go to Chile. Away from the off-field controversies about haircuts - yes that happened - the 2016 Copa America winners are priced at 33/1 to lift the trophy again.

The reason for such long odds is simple - their quarter-final is against Brazil. However, should La Roja prevail in Rio de Janeiro, they will undoubtedly become one of the favourites to go all the way.

There is of course one major obstacle. History.

Even though the Copa America has been contested for the last 105 years, Brazil have only ever lost two games when playing on home turf - last such defeat took place in 1975 against Peru.

With that in mind, that 25/1 price suddenly doesn't look so long.

Planet Sport tips

Tip: Argentina 2/1

Rank outsiders: Chile 33/1

Top Goalscorers

3 - Lionel Messi (ARG)

2 - Alejandro Gomez (ARG)

2 - Neymar (BRA)

2 - Edinson Cavani (URU)

2 - Eduardo Vargas (CHI)

2 - Ayrton Preciado (ECU)

2 - Angel Romero (PAR)

2 - Andre Carrillo (PER)

Race for Golden Boot wide open

As things stand, it's Lionel Messi who narrowly leads the way in the race to become the tournament's top scorer.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored three goals as his national side topped Group A.

Lionel Messi in action against Chile
Lionel Messi in action against Chile

With Argentina expected to progress far in the competition, Messi is likely to have many more opportunities to extend his total.

The current free agent is the bookmaker's favourite at the price of 7/4 to win the golden boot - not a bad offer for one of the world's greatest goal scorers.

Neymar Jr celebrates scoring a goal in Brazil's 2021 Copa America opener with Venezuela
Neymar Jr celebrates scoring a goal in Brazil's 2021 Copa America opener with Venezuela

Not far behind, at 4/1, is Brazil's Neymar Jr. The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored against Venezuela and Peru - two games dominated by the hosts.

However, once Brazil were eventually tested - in their third group game against Colombia - the player was quiet for large periods of that match.

The player is under pressure to deliver the goods in high-pressure games and help his nation to another Copa America title.

Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez
Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez

Uruguay's striking due of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are also two names to watch out for. 

The pair have been priced at 15/2 and 25/1 respectively. Those odds seem about right considering Uruguay's recent troubles in-front of goal. On top of that, they have a tricky quarter-final tie with Colombia.

Chile's Eduardo Vargas vies with Bolivia's Jairo Quinteros
Chile's Eduardo Vargas vies with Bolivia's Jairo Quinteros

Arguably the most interesting player in the market is Chile's Eduardo Vargas.

The 31-year-old is joint-fifth on the all-time Copa America goal scorers list with 14 tournament efforts to his name.

Should the former Napoli, QPR and Valencia man bag three more Copa America goals, he will tie the joint-leaders, Norberto Mendez (Argentina) and Zizinho (Brazil).

With two goals already to his name in this year's competition, Vargas is certainly a tempting betting option.

Planet Sport tips

Tip: Lionel Messi 7/4

Rank Outsider: Eduardo Vargas 15/1

READ MORE: Against All Odds: How Greece won the 2004 European Championship as 150/1 outsiders