May 24, 2013
Copa América kicks off
Argentina will be hosting the 43rd edition of the Copa América. This is the continental football tournament in South America, which along with the European Championships and the World Cup, is considered one of the major international football tournaments in the world.
So what makes Copa America the biggest sporting event in this part of the world? Well for starters, the whopping television audience of 530 million people in Latin America tuning in for the last tournament in 2007!
The first international competition to be held between South American teams took place in 1910. However, there are also rumours that the competition was born in 1916 and named the South American Championship Selections. This tournament was contested by Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay who claimed the championship.
After sixty years of intermittent changes, additions and absences, the 1975 tournament finally took on the title of Copa América. Representatives in the tournament came from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru (champions) and Venezuela. During the next twenty years, the tournament took on further modifications, and it was not until the 1993 edition played in Ecuador, that the America’s Cup took its current format in which ten teams from CONMEBOL participate in the tournament and two teams from other continents are invited. The 12 teams are divided into three groups of four. The top two in each group and two best third placed teams progress to the second round. These eight teams then compete in a play-off system to determine the winner.
Copa América 2011
The two sides invited for this edition will be Mexico and Costa Rica. The Mexican team will attend the tournament with their Olympic Under-23 side plus five reinforcements, while Costa Rica will replace the Japanese. Unfortunately the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March cast doubt on their ability to attend and sure enough, they withdrew their team on 16 May citing difficulties with European clubs in releasing Japanese players.
The 25 games will be held in the cities of La Plata, Córdoba, Santa Fe, San Juan, Mendoza, San Salvador de Jujuy and Salta, while the final will be played on 24 July at River Plate’s stadium in Buenos Aires. The champions of the tournament will earn the optional right to compete in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Brazil.
The opening ceremony will be held on 1 July at the Estadio Unico in La Plata, followed by the first match in which Argentina will face Bolivia for the Group A.