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Copa América 2024: South America’s Biggest Football Competition Comes to the USA

As America gears up for the 2026 World Cup, Copa América 2024 serves as the perfect warm-up. Join us as we analyze and examine all the ins and outs of this year’s edition of the oldest continental competition in football.
CesarQuintt%2C+CC0%2C+via+Wikimedia+Commons
CesarQuintt, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

From June 20 through July 14, the world will turn its eyes to America as our country hosts the Copa América. 

This year’s edition of the oldest continental football competition promises to be special. As part of a strategic collaboration between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, this year’s Copa América will feature 16 teams, including 10 South American nations and six guest teams from North America.

The Copa América is the biggest international football tournament in all of the Americas.

 First held in 1916, it is also the oldest continental football competition in the world. 

This unique tournament showcases the best of Latin American football, bringing immense top-tier talent, intense rivalries, and unforgettable moments.

 The Copa América 2024 will kick off on June 20 with the opening match between current FIFA World Cup winners Argentina taking on Canada at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

The group stage will run until July 2, featuring matches across various cities, including New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

 The sixteen teams will compete in four groups, each aiming to secure a spot in the knockout stages, which begin on July 4.

The groups are as follows:

Group A: Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Canada. 

This group sees Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, as strong favorites for the top spot. 

Peru, with players such as André Carrillo, is sure to offer strong competition. 

Chile comes with experienced stars like Alexis Sánchez and will be fun to watch.

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

 Canada, who had to qualify through wildcard preliminaries, sees themselves as the big underdogs in Group A. However, with stars such as Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, they are sure to cause trouble and will add a dynamic element to this very exciting group.

Group B: Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Jamaica.

 The second group of the Copa América is sure to be extremely unpredictable. Mexico’s squad includes household names such as Edson Álvarez and Julián Quiñones. 

Ecuador also comes strong, led by Moisés Caicedo and Enner Valencia; the South American team is a formidable opponent and a favorite to qualify for the next round. 

Venezuela might not have as big of a footballing repertoire as Mexico or Ecuador, but with good players such as Jefferson Savarino, Josef Martínez, and Salomón Rondón, they are definitely capable of causing surprises. 

Jamaica comes to the Copa América as the underdogs for Group B, but led by coach Heimir Hallgrímsson and their best player Leon Bailey, they are sure to be competitive and fight for the possibility of a historic run.

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Group C: United States, Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia.

 The USMNT comes into Group C with high hopes. Led by Christian Pulisic and under the coaching of Gregg Berhalter, the American national team will try to capitalize on home advantage and possibly qualify in first place. 

However, qualifying in first place won’t be easy, considering the group also boasts Uruguay. Uruguay, the team with the most Copa América titles (15, tied with Argentina), comes in as favorites in Group C, with stars like Darwin Núñez and Federico Valverde sure to give the USMNT a run for their money.

 Panama and Bolivia are unlikely to cause too much trouble for the two big dogs in the group, but their aggressive style of play will add layers of interesting dynamics, making for exciting games.

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons (Erik Drost)

Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. Group D is one of this tournament’s most interesting groups.

 Brazil comes in as favorites, as they always are. Despite not being able to count on Neymar due to injury, the five-time world champions still have a star-filled lineup with players like Champions League winners Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo. 

Colombia also comes strong to the Copa América. Led by veteran James Rodríguez and up-and-coming Liverpool sensation Luis Díaz, they are a strong contender for the top spot in the group. 

Paraguay might not be the favorites to qualify, but they will put up a fight. With strong players like Gustavo Gómez and Miguel Almirón, the Paraguayan team is sure to catch one of the big dogs off guard if they aren’t paying attention. 

Costa Rica, led by former Real Madrid legend Keylor Navas in goal, comes in as a strong contender to cause trouble to the more established teams within Group D.

jmmuguerza, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The curtain closer for the historic cup will be on July 14 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and it will undoubtedly be one of the biggest showdowns of the year. 

Who will make it to the final? That’s a question that only time will tell, especially with the great unpredictability of the sport. 

elisfkc2, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

This year’s Copa América brings us four favorites: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States.

Brazil, who are favorites in Group D, is always a tournament favorite.

 With their new coach Dorival Júnior, the team has shown exceptional resilience on the field, and with players such as Lucas Paquetá, Endrick, and Vinícius Júnior, they are sure to live up to the high expectations that come with representing Brazil.

 Argentina comes to America as the reigning champions. 

With Lionel Messi as captain, the current Copa América and World Cup winners aim to defend their title with everything they have. 

Beyond just the legendary forward from Rosario, Argentina also has a very talented squad, with Emiliano Martínez in goal, Alejandro Garnacho leading the defense, and Rodrigo De Paul in the midfield. 

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Mexico is another team that can’t be forgotten. 

A dominant force in CONCACAF, Mexico’s participation in the Copa adds a different flavor to the competition.

Casa Escasany de Buenos Aires (trophy) Hazaña17 (photo), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 The United States, another favorite from CONCACAF, will look to leverage home advantage in their favor and hopefully make a historic run in their own backyard.

 Key players include Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, and Weston McKennie. Hosting the tournament is a unique opportunity for the USMNT and serves as great preparation for the 2026 World Cup.

Hayden Schiff from Cincinnati, USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons (Hayden Schiff)

The significance of hosting the Copa América for the USA cannot be overstated.

 It represents a cultural celebration, bringing diverse fan bases from all over the Latin world together in a festive atmosphere that will resonate across the country. 

This tournament is an opportunity for American fans to watch top international teams compete in their backyard. Moreover, it serves as a perfect warm-up for the 2026 World Cup, showcasing the USA’s capacity to host major international tournaments.

Copa América 2024 will be more than just another continental football tournament; it will be a celebration of South America’s rich football history meeting the rising passion of a sport that continues to grow at unprecedented levels in North America. 

Conmebol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As the world tunes in, fans are sure to witness thrilling matches, intense rivalries, and unforgettable moments. 

So from June 20 to July 14, be ready to experience the essence of the beautiful game firsthand, right here, in our backyard.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
Nathan Azevedo Espindula, Editor and Chief
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