After years as a CONMEBOL doormat, the Vinotinto have made steady strides of improvement over the last decade. However, they have recently slumped, leading to great turmoil that has pitted the players against the manager and federation. The issues of contention are being ironed out, but it remains to be seen how smooth things will be by summer.
- Tomas Rincon (Genoa/Italy) – The veteran is a true midfield cop who loves the hard challenge – sometimes a bit too much. Rincon is also a quite capable dribbler and a strong passer.
- Jose Salomon Rondon (West Brom/England) – The striker has good size and strength, but is not a true target forward. Rondon is a cold-blooded finisher with good pace. Despite growing club success, he has hit just twice in his last 12 international starts.
- Roberto Rosales (Malaga/Spain) – The right back is an excellent all-around athlete and plays his flank from endline to endline. He can tackle, push the ball forward and contribute to the attack. Rosales, who has a wealth of UEFA tourney experience, seems to improve every year.
Noel Sanvicente – After winning seven league titles managing at the club level back home, the former Venezuela striker took the national team reins 18 months ago. After getting the team to heat up over the first half of 2015, they then dropped seven of eight as a rift formed between Sanvicente and the squad.
Copa America Group C Schedule
June 5 vs. Jamaica (5 pm ET, Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.)
June 9 vs. Uruguay (7:30 pm ET, Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.)
June 11 vs. Mexico (10 pm ET, Levi's Stadium – Santa Clara, Ca.)
Copa America Squad
Goalkeepers (3): Dani Hernandez, Jose Contreras, Wuilker Farinez
Defenders (7): Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, Roberto Rosales, Alexander Gonzalez, Jose Manuel Velazquez, Rolf Feltscher, Wilker Angel, Mikel Villanueva
Midfielders (9): Tomas Rincon, Luis Manuel Seijas, Alejandro Guerra, Romulo Otero, Arquimedes Figuera, Juan Pablo Anor, Adalberto Penaranda, Yangel Herrera, Carlos Suarez
Forwards (4): Salomon Rondon, Josef Martinez, Yonathan Del Valle, Christian Santos
Starting XI (4-4-2)
- GK: Jose Contreras (Deportivo Tachira)
- RB: Roberto Rosales (Malaga)
- CB: Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Nantes)
- CB: Wilker Angel (Deportivo Tachira)
- LB: Rolf Feltscher (Duisburg)
- DM: Tomas Rincon (Genoa)
- DM: Arquimedes Figuera (Deportivo La Guaira)
- RM: Juanpi Anor (Malaga)
- LM: Romulo Otero (Huachipato)
- FW: Jose Salomon Rondon (West Bromwich Albion)
- FW: Josef Martinez (Torino)
Style of play
Venezuela typically play tough, keep it close and look to counter with pace — otherwise known as the underdog's hat trick. They've only managed to score multiple goals five times in Sanvicente's 18 games in charge, so the margin for error is often thin.
How they qualified
Automatically qualified as one of 10 South American nations.
Copa America history
Like Ecuador, Venezuela have never won this tournament. They reached the quarterfinals for the first time only nine years ago, then followed up in 2011 by making it to their first semifinal.
The two recent deep runs in Copa America are about as good as it gets for Venezuelan soccer. They've never made it to a World Cup and are off to a miserable start in qualifying for Russia 2018. They did top Argentina 1-0 early in CONMEBOL qualifying for the last World Cup, the first (and thus far only) time they defeated either the Albiceleste or Brazil in competitive play.
United States vs Venezuela
Sporting KC wide man Bernardo Anor (currently on loan to NASL side Minnesota United) is the only Venezuelan employed by an MLS club at this time. Six others have appeared in the league through the years, including Alejandro Moreno, who won MLS Cup with three different clubs.