Copa America is back! South America’s most exciting international tournament is in action as the host country of Brazil is set to host the 46th edition. Now for those who do not know much of the tournament or have never heard of it before, we’ll explain the basics in how it works and how everything unfolds leading up from the tournament starting at the beginning with the draw for group pairings and the all the way to the end when the Final takes place at the Estadio de Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
First, the 3 groups consist of 4 teams with 10 teams being from South America and 2 invited teams from across the world chosen by CONMEBOL. This year Japan and Qatar were chosen to participate in this years tournament. Once all teams play each other for a total of 3 games played, the top 2 teams in the group advance directly into the quarterfinals for a one legged affair while the third place teams will be determined for advancement by who has the most points or better goal difference. Out of the three, two will advance to the quarterfinals and one will be eliminated from the competition and all last place teams in the group stages are automatically eliminated.
Matchday 1 will be played between June 14th-17th
Matchday 2 from June 18th-21st
Matchday 3 from June 22nd-24th
The Knockout Stage matches are scheduled to last from the 27th of June beginning with the quarterfinals and all the way up to the final on July 7th.
In the knockout stage, if a match is tied after 90 minutes:
Quarterfinals: Extra Time is not played and the match goes directly to a penalty shootout.
Semi-Finals, 3rd Place and Final: Extra Time is played, where a fourth substitute will be allowed for each team.
If still tied after extra time, the match is decided by a penalty shootout. In terms of history of Copa America here are some interesting facts of the tournament since its foundation way back in 1916 over a hundred years ago. Chile are the 2 time defending champions having won back in 2015 in their home country and 2016 in the United States where they defeated their neighboring rivals of Argentina twice in both finals. Eight of the ten CONMEBOL national teams have won the tournament at least once in its 45 stagings since the event’s inauguration in 1916, with only Ecuador and Venezuela yet to win. Uruguay has the most championships in the tournament’s history, with 15 cups, while the current champion, Chile, has two cups. Argentina, which hosted the inaugural edition in 1916, has hosted the tournament the most times (nine). The United States is the only non-CONMEBOL country to host, having hosted the event in 2016.
On three occasions (in 1975, 1979, and 1983), the tournament was held in multiple South American countries. Since the 1990’s, teams from North America and Asia have also been invited to participate. Mexico’s two runner-up finishes are the highest for a non-CONMEBOL side.
Qatar will be making their debut appearance in the Copa America becoming the first Arab nation to play in the tournament, while Japan will be making their second appearance, their first since 1999.
This will also be the first Copa America to not feature any team from CONCACAF since teams have been invited; in particular, Mexico, which have competed in all ten editions since 1993 as an invited team, will not participate in this tournament. United States have competed in four tournaments, including the 2016 event as host.
For this years Copa America 2019 in Brazil, the slogan of the 2019 Copa América is “Vibra el Continente/Vibra o Continente” in which Spanish/Portuguese translate to “Rocking the Continent”. The mascot of the tournament is Zizito, a capybara whose name pays homage to Zizinho, the Brazilian footballer who shares the all-time goal-scoring record in the Copa America (17 goals with Argentine Norberto Doroteo Méndez). For viewing and watching all 26 matches in the United States they will be available to watch on ESPN and ESPN+ for English and Portuguese Commentary and Telemundo for Spanish Commentary.