Copa Libertadores: Round of 16 is set

Rodrigo Palacio (AP) 

By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN

The Copa Libertadores group stages ended last night with little surprise as Boca Juniors and Cuenca completed their schedules and advanced as the last two teams to complete the Round of 16 matchups, which will involve all of Brazil's five representatives, leaving little doubt on how strong of a league that country boasts.

Now that the knockout stages are set, CONMEBOL is still trying to figure out what to do with Mexico's two teams, Chivas and San Luis, in the midst of the rising swine flu epidemic that has swept that country as well as other parts around the world.

The South American federation attempted to enlist the city of Bogota, Colombia as the Mexican teams' "home" base but Colombian authorities wasted no time in shooting that notion down, leaving CONMEBOL scrambling to figure out its next move in anticipation of the Round of 16 games slated to start next week.

Although this is pure speculation, there have been murmurs that the Mexican teams could host their South American counterparts in Los Angeles. That in itself would be historic since Copa Libertadores has never been played outside of South America and Mexico.

Nacional of Uruguay and Brazil's Sao Paulo, both of whom are to travel to Mexican to face San Luis and Chivas, respectively, for the first legs, have already let their concerns be known to CONMEBOL, who are now soliciting input from all federations whose teams are involved in the knockout phase.

The dilemma will leave fans curious as to what will happen next but the rest of the matchups should leave them yearning for the matches to begin as Boca Juniors meets up with Uruguay's Defensor Sporting in what is always a classic rivalry when Argentine and Uruguayan teams clash, especially in two-legged affairs. Paraguay's Libertad takes on Argentina's Estudiantes de la Plata while two group-stage foes, Sport Recife and Palmeiras, both of Brazil, meet again in the knockout round.

Here is the full slate of Round of 16 matchups:

  • Gremio v. San Martin
  • Boca Juniors v. Defensor Sporting
  • Nacional v. San Luis
  • Sao Paulo v. Chivas
  • Brazil's Cruzeiro v. Universidad de Chile
  • Sport Recife v. Palmeiras
  • Libertad v. Estudiantes de la Plata
  • Caracas v. Deportivo Cuenca

What do you think about the matchups? Which do you think is the best Round of 16 match-up? Do you think CONMEBOL is overreacting to the Swine Flu epidemic? Could the Mexican teams be able to host their matches?

Share your thoughts below.

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13 Responses to Copa Libertadores: Round of 16 is set

  1. MagicWong says:

    Just have both legs in Brazil and Uruguay that simple. Althought the travel would be a problem for Mexican teams.

  2. arkjayback says:

    Sounds like it would be a no-brainer to hold the matches in LA and/or Houston. Those two places have the facilities and the interest, with (hopefully) the lack of a pandemic.

    Michael Orozco is included in this marathon highlight video of Americans with their various clubs in many different countries: link to youtube.com

  3. Cam says:

    Brazil is as dominant in CONMEBOL as England is in UEFA. These are great matchups for the knockout round. Sao Paulo v. Chivas should be amazing!

    Playing the games in the southwest United States seems to be the most logical alternative to having them in Mexico.

    Damn, I hate it when deadly plagues interrupt football.

  4. Chicken Little says:

    Or people could just start basing their decisions on the facts and play the games as usual since it appears that this flu is more mild than the standard strains that sweep the US every winter.

    Nah, that would be to practical and reasonable in this day and age. Let’s continue to panic.

    Ahhhhhhhhh!!! The sky is falling the sky is falling!

    No, its influenza infected flying pigs fallign form the sky!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!

  5. Colin says:

    Hell yes there is overreaction. Thus far swine flu has killed a total of 10 people. In the entire world. In comparison something like 60 Americans die per year because of lightning strikes.

  6. Michoacano says:

    I think CONMEBOL is overeacting as well. They just need to allow Chivas and San Luis to play in Los Angeles and Houston. Chivas will be right at home!!!

    Or they can just give them an automatic elimination, which is what they really want to do.

  7. DC Josh says:

    It’s very sad that anyone from Mexico has become the fat chick at a middle school dance, nobody wants her.

    The teams need to man-up and just play them in Mexico. If they get sick, they take meds, no death, silly. They MAY miss a game. People who walk around through life freaking out about every disease need to realize how many parasites are out there and that their immune system kills off parasites daily. What a bunch of babies.

    Are most if not all games going to be televised on US national TV? (FSC or GolTV) I really want to get into the competition, but can’t without watching the games.

  8. fenel says:

    CONMEBOL should have the mexican teams play their homes games in the U.S. It’s a no brainer.

  9. luis says:

    where can i read that there have bee only 10 deaths? all the newspaper i read is that over 150 have died? where are you getting your facts?

  10. yankiboy says:

    It’s very sad that anyone from Mexico has become the fat chick at a middle school dance, nobody wants her.

    Posted by: DC Josh | May 01, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    Clearly we didn’t attend the same middle school.

    That’s ok. More Big Girls for the rest of us…

    Anyways, avoid “confined areas” like football stadia…

  11. artie says:

    Copa Games had been played before outside south america and Mexico Club america played a game in LA against a colombian team i believe it was. They had been banned from playing in azteca. I think it was a qualifying game to enter the group stage.

  12. Chase says:

    Luis,

    While the Mexican government has claimed that over 150 deaths can be attributed to the outbreak of H1N1 flu, the World Health Organization has rejected this claim and has only officially recognized 13 deaths as caused by the flu (12 in Mexico, 1 in the US).

  13. josh says:

    This is easy, play them in El Ley, only problem is the south american teams will have to travel even more.