Copa Libertadores knockout field set

NeymarSantos (Reuters Pictures)

The Copa Libertadores field has been cut to 16.

Defending champion Santos took care of business on Thursday against Bolivian side The Strongest with a 2-0 victory that included Neymar's fifth goal of the tournament. As a result, Santos finished as the third-seeded team among those that qualified for the knockout round, behind Brazilian sides Fluminense and Corinthians.

Santos did not have to face a single team from Brazil in its run to the 2011 Copa Libertadores title, but Neymar & Co. could face Corinthians and Flu in the semifinals and finals, respectively, should the seeds hold. 

Half of the remaining field is comprised of teams from Brazil and Argentina. Mexico's Cruz Azul was the only non-South American club to make it to the knockout phase, and it will face Paraguayan side Libertad in the Round of 16.

Here are all of the Copa Libertadores knockout pairings:

COPA LIBERTADORES KNOCKOUT ROUND (Set to begin April 30)

Fluminense (Brazil) vs. Internacional (Brazil)

Union Espanola (Chile) vs. Boca Juniors (Argentina)

Universidad de Chile (Chile) vs. Deportivo Quito (Ecuador)

Libertad (Paraguay) vs. Cruz Azul (Mexico)

Corinthians (Brazil) vs. Emelec (Ecuador)

Lanus (Argentina) vs. Vasco de Gama (Brazil)

Santos (Brazil) vs. Bolivar (Bolivia)

Velez Sarsfield (Argentina) vs. Atletico Nacional (Colombia)

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

Neymar, Santos

Javier Orozco, Cruz Azul

Dorlan Pabon, Atletico Nacional

Leandro Damiao, Internacional

Junior Fernandes, Universidad de Chile

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Who do you think will win the tournament? Which team do you think can surprise and make a deep run? Do you see anyone knocking off Santos?

Share your thoughts below.

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11 Responses to Copa Libertadores knockout field set

  1. BSU SC says:

    I know it’s a moot point to make at the present time, but I’m still holding out hope that some day CONCACAF and CONEMBOL will merge their club tournaments into a “Tournament of the Americas”. How cool would it be to watch a championship game between Seattle and Santos?

    Back to reality…as for this year, I’m sticking with the Brazilian and Argentine teams as favorites. Boca Juniors are always amongst the favorites and will be again this year. Santos and Corinthians are looking like solid bets as well. I’ll pick Cruz Azul as my dark horse.

  2. supergrandefilms says:

    GO BOLIVAR…!!!!

  3. Roberto says:

    U de Chile, Santos, Atletico NacionalMedellin best teams so far, very fun to watch!!

  4. Hincha Tim says:

    I agree with everything (except it wouldn’t be cool to see Seattle). Maybe, realistically, they could at least have a “Supercopa America” where the winners of the Concacaf CL and the Libertadores do a home and away Americas Championship.

  5. john says:

    they used to do the copa interamericana (winner of libertadores vs the winner of the concacaf champions cup) up unitl 1998, where dc beat vasco de gama. link to en.wikipedia.org

  6. Michael Vann says:

    Ganso, Neymar’s running mate at Santos, has to be considered a top player in this tournament. Right now he is probably the best #10 in South America. His close control of the ball and vision are reminiscent of Zidane, according to some. He’s more of a Kaka to me but nonetheless the kid is special talent. A big transfer will come this summer. Shame he wasn’t included in the list above when he is probably the most important to his club.

    On a side note, the Libertadores is such an amazing, exciting tournament. I wish there was more access in the US ecause it would be easy for folks to fall in love with the tournament much like the UEFA Champions League.

  7. El-DudeManDrag says:

    maybe at the group stage, there could be a North and South division. The 4 invites from FMF (2) & MLS (2) could be paired w/8 teams from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, so there wouldnt be any Seattle to Buenos Aires setups unless they met at knockout stage. Then it wouldnt matter. Hell, CCL is pretty geographically big in itself. I think seattle played some team from El Salvador, but it couldve been from Suriname if that team had beaten the ES team.

  8. GorillaNDrag says:

    I used to watch this tournament alot, but I think Idropped off after seeing Santos get creamed by Barca at last year’s world club cup. So I’m cheering for Santos to go back and put a better showing against Bayern M

  9. Steve says:

    Ives, I know you put up a must see goal by Pabon a couple of weeks back against Penarol. You should put up Pabon’s goal yesterday in a 2-1 defeat against U. De Chile!!! What a shot this man has!!! Loses ball at around the 20 yard line, knocked down, gets up and steals the ball back. Plays a give and go with Macnellyl Torres, and drills it into the top left hand corner!! Sad to say (from an Atletico Nacional fan’s point of view) but he’s done after this season. He has to be going to Europe.

  10. Rob says:

    “Mexico’s Cruz Azul was the only non-South American club to make it to the knockout phase”

    This kind of makes it sound like there were a lot of non-South American clubs this year :)

    Oh well, maybe Cruz Azul will take the final this year to make up for their 2001 loss to Boca Juniors in the penalty kick shoot out of the final. Although if they make it to the Liguilla…hmmm….wonder how they will split up the squad to compete in both tournaments simultaneously.

  11. brunomarmos7 says:

    “Mexico’s Cruz Azul was the only non-South American club to make it to the knockout phase”

    This kind of makes it sound like there were a lot of non-South American clubs this year :)”

    Well, only 1 out of 3 Mexican teams advanced to the knockout round of the tournament.

    I’m brazilian and I’d love to MLS teams playing Libertadores. Nice Stadiums, some good teams… I think it would make soccer in the US much better, with better competition over the years…