The Copa América is just as rare as the AFC Asian Cup, the Euro Cup, the OFC Cup and the World Cup. It takes 4 years before the next edition is played. The Copa América is the oldest continental tournament and is organized by the CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation). This biggest South American continental tournament is organized in the summer of 2015 after the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The 44th edition of the Copa América in Chile will kick-off on July 11 2015 and ends on July 4 2015.
There are no qualification rounds. All the 10 members of the CONMEBOL will participate in the event: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The oldest continental football tournament kicked off for the first time way back in 1916 in Argentina. Back then it was simply called the South American Championship. Only 4 teams entered the tournament: Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. There was no knock-out stage yet so the team with the most points won. The champions ended up being Uruguay, which would also win the very first World Cup 14 years later in 1930.
In the 10s and 20s of the previous century a South American Championship was organized on an annual basis. This changed in the 30s. After the 1929 edition it took 6 years to organize the next South American Championship. A big reason was the World Cup Final in 1930. The football relationships between Uruguay and Argentina declined after Uruguay defeated the Argentinians with 4-2. Fortunately it was decided to continue with the South American tournament in 1935. From then it was mostly organized after various years. Sometimes after 2 years, 3 years and 4 years. One time there were 2 South American Championships in 1 year, in 1959!
The first South American tournament as Copa América was played in 1975. Since then the tournament is mostly played every 4 years. Although a Copa América will be played in 2015, one year later another one will be organised in the USA to celebrate CONMEBOL’s centenary. It will be the first Copa América to be hosted outside of South America.
In the beginning of the South American Championship there were only 4 teams. This amount would vary till the end of the South American Championship era. Sometimes there were 5,6, 7 or 8 participants. In the 1925 edition there was a record low amount of only 3 teams since 2 teams withdrew. In the first Copa América in 1975, 10 teams participated for the first time. This changed to 12 in 1993. This year was the first time teams outside CONMEBOL were invited to participate. Mexico and the USA were the first 2 teams that were invited. Since then with every Copa América, there would be 2 invites, resulting in a total of 12 participating teams.
Uruguay won the latest Copa América in 2011 by defeating Paraguay with 3-0. They are currently also the most successful CONMEBOL team with 15 Copa América wins: 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995 and 2011! The current all-time top scorers in the history of the South American Championship and Copa América are former Argentian player Norberto Méndez and former Brazilian player Zizinho with 17 goals.
The 2015 Copa América will be hosted in Chile for the 7th time (including the South American Championship era). It was originally Brazil’s turn to host a Copa América, but since they organised the 2014 World Cup and will organise the 2016 Olympics, Chile agreed to a swap. This swap officially occurred in May 2012. This means Chile will host the 2015 edition and Brazil the 2019 edition. The winner of the 2015 Copa América (or highest ranking CONMEBOL team if one of the 2 invitees wins) will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The participating teams are as usual:
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
Jamaica and Mexico accepted their invitation to join as CONCACAF members. The 12 teams will be divided in 3 groups. 2 teams of each group will advance to the quarter-finals, where the knock-out stage begins.
Uruguayan star Luis Suárez is suspended for the whole tournament, since he serves a 9 international match ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s final group stage match against Italy in the 2014 World Cup.
In 2016 the Copa America will celebrate the centenary of the CONMEBOL and the Copa America. This means there will be a special Copa America hosted in that year. For the very first time, the tournament will not be held in South America, but in the USA. The tournament was announced by CONMEBOL on October 24 2012 and confirmed by CONCACAF on May 1 2014. All 10 CONMEBOL members will participate including 6 CONCACAF members. 4 members are already known: USA (hosts and automatically qualified), Mexico (automatically qualified), Costa Rica (Winners of 2014 Copa Centroamericana) and Jamaica (Winners of 2014 Caribbean Cup).
It’s already announced that the 2019 Copa America will be hosted in Brazil and the 2023 Copa America in Ecuador.
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