Copa América: what you need to know
This weekend we see the kick-off of the Copa América, the oldest oldest football competition of national teams in the world. Since its first official edition of 1916, this tournament is played to decide which nations gets the bragging rights of the best football nation of South America. Even more than it ever does, the whole continent will breathe football from June 14 until July 7, 2019. We have everything you need to know right here, complete with some clever betting propositions!
The Copa América 2019 is the 46th edition of the oldest national tournament in the world. This event has the rather odd tradition of not being played on a regular basis: from 2001 until 2007, it was held every 3 years, and from then on, every 4 years, with a celebratory centennial edition in 2016. Another tradition is the inclusion of invitee nations from other football federations: Qatar participates for a first time, and Japan returns after a first taste in 1999. For the first time in 30 years, Brazil hosts the tournament to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first edition on Brazilian soil in 1919. In the Copa América Centenario of 2016 played in the USA, Chile beat Argentina in a penalty shootout after neither regular time nor extra time had yielded any goals for either side.
After the centennial that was played with 16 nations, the Copa América returns to its format of 12 nations – 10 from South America and an additional 2 invitee nations from Asia – divided over 3 groups A, B and C. In the group stage, all teams play each other once, and the first placed and second placed of each group enter the knockout stage by default. The remaining slots go to the best performers among those nations who finished in a third place. The tournament will conclude in the final on July 7. Read on to find out what your best options on this epic celebration of football are!
In Group A, we find dead ringer for at least the final, Brazil. Its competition in this group will have to decide amongst itself who takes the second place that allows certain participation in the knockout stage. Peru seems most fit to take the second place, but surprising performances from either Venezuela or Bolivia can throw this group into unexpected directions.
Qatar may have won the AFC Asian Cup, but here in football-crazy Brazil, it will have a whole new challenge on its hand. Lionel Messi’s Argentina is set to win this group, though fierce competition is to be expected from James Rodriguez’s Colombia. Outsider Paraguay, too, is more than an also-ran, and has legitimate aims to a second place finish, if it rises to the occasion.
Group C includes title defender Chile, who meets tough-as-nails Uruguay as a challenger to its fresh title hopes. As both nations are considered far outsiders, Ecuador and Japan seem condemned to fight among themselves for a big third place that sees them sneak into the knockout stage. Their head to head result could very well have consequences that resonate throughout the tournament…
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