Clint Dempsey, Jesus Corona lead way in Copa America group stage Best XI

The Copa America group stage is in the books, with many standout performances of note. However, there were 11 players in particular who were excellent in their teams' first three matches. With that, we give you the Copa America group stage best XI.

GK Dani Hernandez, Venezuela -- Hernandez was 10 minutes away from pulling off the remarkable feat of recording clean sheets in all three games, only for a golazo from Mexico's Jesus Corona to spoil things. Nevertheless, Hernandez was superb in the group stage in leading the Vinotinto to the quarterfinals. His double-save in the second half against Mexico on Monday night was the highlight.

DF Miguel Trauco, Peru -- Peru surprised everyone by taking top honors in Group B and left back Trauco was a big part of that. He helped stem many a Brazilian foray forward in Sunday's critical win over the five-time World Cup champions and was a thorn in the side of opponents when pushing forward. A very composed Copa thus far for Trauco.

DF John Brooks, United States -- It wasn't even a year ago when somehow Jamaica's 5-foot- 10-inch Darren Mattocks outjumped the 6-foot, 4-inch Brooks to head home a goal in a Gold Cup semifinal win over the U.S. The criticism of Brooks was fierce, but this summer the Hertha Berlin man has responded with aplomb and is one of the main reasons why the U.S. is in the quarterfinals. Arguably, his performance for the 10-man U.S. against Paraguay was the best for a U.S. center back since Oguchi Onyewu versus Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup semifinals.

DF Arturo Mina, Ecuador -- Mina has proven to be an anchor in midfield for the Ecuadorians, who went unbeaten in the group stage and next face the U.S. Mina, who has also helped club side Independiente del Valle reach the Copa Libertadores semifinals, has the complete confidence of Ecuador head coach Gustavo Quinteros. The U.S. will have to be at its best to get past Mina in Seattle on Thursday.

DF Gabriel Mercado, Argentina -- Even though he only played in Argentina's first two matches, Mercado helped bring tranquility to a position that has routinely troubled La Albiceleste. The River Plate man has been a lucky charm for Gerardo Martino, as Argentina have won every official match in which Mercado has featured during the Martino era. His presence on the right side of the Argentine back line does not get much attention, but he has been quite good both in defending and pushing forward.

MF Hector Herrera, Mexico -- Like CONCACAF rival Brooks, Herrera suffered through a dismal 2015 Gold Cup, but a renaissance during the 2015-16 club season at Porto has carried into the Copa America. Herrera has been vital for Mexico in midfield, helping link the defense with the attack and providing leadership when Andres Guardado was red-carded in the first match against Uruguay.

MF Arturo Vidal, Chile -- A win in their second match against Bolivia was imperative for the reigning Copa America champions, so leave it to King Arturo to come through in the clutch. The Bayern man scored both Chile goals, including a nervy last-second penalty to lead his team to victory. Also helped set the table for the Chilean attack in Tuesday's triumph over Panama.

MF James Rodriguez, Colombia -- It looked as if a shoulder injury sustained against the U.S. was going to prevent James from making an impact in Group A, but instead he went out in the following match against Paraguay and scored the winning goal for Los Cafeteros, who clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with the win. Initially rested for the finale against Costa Rica, James was summoned off the bench and nearly brought Colombia back from a 3-1 deficit against the Ticos.

FW Clint Dempsey, United States -- With the U.S. reeling following their opening 2-0 defeat to Colombia, they needed a leader like Dempsey to step forward, and he did just that in the 4-0 win versus Costa Rica. The Texan converted the game's first goal via penalty and then provided two assists in the rout. Dempsey then followed that up with a well-taken strike against Paraguay to send the Yanks to the quarterfinals.

FW Eduardo Vargas, Chile -- Like Vidal before him, Vargas came up big for his country in a decisive match, scoring Chile's first two goals against Panama after the South Americans had fallen behind early. While he remains an enigma at club level with inconsistent form, Vargas always shows up when wearing La Roja and the Copa has been no different.

FW Jesus Corona, Mexico -- Chicharito Hernandez might still draw the biggest cheers from Mexico fans, but it is Corona who is providing the fireworks. His sensational goal against Venezuela ensured El Tri won Group C, and his importance for Mexico grows with every game. Brimming with confidence and swagger when charging down the left flank, Corona is an absolute nightmare to defend. He's fast becoming a player who is capable of the spectacular any time he touches the ball.