The Copa América is around the corner. Here’s everything you need to know

A look at the biggest stars and teams looking to be crowned as the best in the Americas top tournament

The 2024 Copa América is around the corner as national teams from across the continent prepare for the biggest challenge of the year. From defending champion Argentina to debutant Canada, all 16 teams want to lift the trophy, but who’s who in the race to conquer the oldest national team competition in the world?

Here’s everything you need to know to follow the Copa América.

The favorites


With Lionel Messi still leading the defending champions, the Albiceleste is a big candidate to repeat its 2021 success. However, questions of how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank have started to appear as he’s struggled with injuries since September 2023.

The Copa América could also be a generational turning point for the current world champs. Forward Ángel Di María will bid his farewell after the tournament, while other stalwarts like Nicolás Otamendi, Marcos Acuña or Rodrigo de Paul are already over 30. The question of who will take the baton going forward is an issue to follow.  


Joint record-winners with 15 titles, the Celeste is a powerhouse in Conmebol’s continental tournament.  Head coach Marcelo Bielsa has carried on a deep renovation process, leaving out legends such as Edinson Cavani or Fernando Muslera in favor of younger players, and the results are clear to see. 

Historic wins against Brazil (first after 22 years) and Argentina (first away success in 36 years) have them second in the South American Qualifiers, placing them on course for a potential 16th title in the U.S.


The Verdeamarelha isn’t enjoying its best moment. Coach Dorival Júnior’s team is struggling in the South American Qualifiers, winning only two of six played, including losses to Argentina and Uruguay.

Brazil’s individual talents, however, make it impossible to rule them out of any competition. Transitioning away from the Neymar era, Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr looks to be the centerpiece of the team and few will be able to stop him if he sparks into life in the US.

The underdogs

United States

The home team is always a favorite in international tournaments and this Copa América won’t be an exception. The U.S. surprised many when it finished fourth in 1995, but not as much when it repeated the feat in 2016 as hosts.

Coming into its fifth appearance at the Copa América, the U.S. is one of the Group C favorites. However, a tough first knockout against the team that comes out of a strong Group D — potentially Brazil or Colombia — will show how far they can go as the Stars and Stripes will try to pull off a major upset in the tournament. 


For a long time now, Ecuador has been the up and coming force of South American football, as Ecuadorian clubs have shone in continental competitions with ever more talented players. However, a return to the World Cup in 2022 proved perhaps a tad too early for this generation to leave its mark and got bounced in the first round.

Two years removed from Qatar, the likes of Moisés Caicedo, Piero Hincapie, or Ángelo Preciado have more experience in European top leagues and will look to pose an even bigger challenge.


International football’s perpetual dark horse, the Cafeteros have never been far from contention since the 1990s. After winning it all in 2001 at home and placing third in 2016 and 2019, ignore Colombia at your own peril.

Part of the tricky Group D with Brazil, Paraguay and Costa Rica, the team coached by Néstor Lorenzo is transitioning away from the generation that surprised the world in Brazil 2014. However, the likes of Luis Díaz, Yáser Asprilla, or Luis Sinisterra are extremely talented and will be one of the tournament’s most entertaining teams. 

The ones to watch


The Vino Tinto has been making waves in the South American qualifiers. Results like a hard-fought tie away in Brazil or a 3-0 battering of Chile have turned them into one of the most entertaining teams in the continent. Under Argentine coach Fernando Batista, the likes of Yeferson Soteldo and Salomón Rondón have flourished into top performers and could surprise top-tier squads.


The only debutants of the 2024 tournament, this generation of Les Rouges has come a long way in world football. They will look to bounce back after an underwhelming Qatar 2022, their return to football’s biggest stage after 36 years.

Canada remains a very young team with a core of players that shine in the biggest leagues in Europe. Among them are Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, and Tajon Buchanan, who will look to improve their showing by playing closer to home.


Fresh off its best CONCACAF Gold Cup in 10 years, this Canaleros team is going from strength to strength. The draw placed them  in Group C with Bolivia, setting up a rematch of the game they played in the 2016 Copa América, a Panamá win that turned them into the first non-Conmebol team to debut with a win in the competition. 

With the experience of Nashville SC’s midfielder Aníbal Godoy and goalkeeper Luís Mejía, who shines with Uruguay’s Nacional in the Copa Libertadores, it could provide a few surprises.

Who are the biggest stars to follow?

The Copa América will be a star studded tournament. Messi’s form with Inter Miami this year has been scintillating, with the Argentine scoring 12 goals and giving 13 assists in 12 games so far as the Herons lead the MLS’ Eastern Conference.

For Brazil, Flamengo prodigy Vinicius Jr. is one of the Ballon d’Or frontrunners, having wrapped up the season with 24 goals and 11 assists in 39 games on route to the Spanish league and the UEFA Champions League.

The home team will have the likes of AC Milan’s Christian Pulisic and Juventus’ Weston McKennie to cheer on.

If you’re out to catch the stars of tomorrow, there are two 17-year-olds on the list, Ecuador’s Kendry Páez and Brazil’s Endrick. The Ecuadorian is the national team’s prodigy and is set to move shortly to Premier League giant Chelsea, while the Brazilian, an U-17 star at just 15, will debut for Real Madrid the upcoming season.

Where and when is the 2024 Copa América going to be played?

The 2024 Copa America will be played in 14 stadiums across 13 cities in the United States.

Defending champions Argentina will kick off the tournament on June 20 against Canada at the 71,000 capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The final will be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, on July 14.


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