Everyone seems to be talking about the UEFA Euro Championship or the Rio Olympics but I have hardly seen anyone discuss The Copa America, South America’s premier football tournament. The lack of people’s interest in the tournament was evident by the fact that many of my friends were surprised when they heard it was happening this year.
I bet even some of you would be surprised to know it is happening this year.
So why is it taking place this year?
The previous Copa America was organized last year itself. So why were the organizers in such a hurry to have it again? Because this year, it is special. Named the Copa America Centenaire, the event is celebrating the centenary of the tournament established in 1916.
Who is the host this time?
This year, the tournament is being hosted by USA. For the first time, a country outside the CONMEBOL (the South American Football Federation) is going to host the event. Matches will be played at 10 venues across the country. The final will be held at the Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, which has the ability to seat 82,566 people at a time.
Which are the teams getting a chance to play?
This time, instead of the usual 12 teams, there are going to be 16. Excluding the 10 countries from South America, the other 6 participating countries are USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti, and Panama.
But there is a twist to the story…
The Brazilian selection committee faced a dilemma. Because the tournament clashes with the Olympics, they had to decide the strongest teams to send for both the events. We already know that Neymar will be playing in the Olympics, decreasing the Brazilian team’s strength going for the Copa America. Even Mexico and Argentina face a similar situation.
Still, Argentina will come into the tournament with a strong side, with the likes of Messi and Higuain at the front. I have lost my faith on Brazil ever since the 7-1 World Cup drubbing against Germany. Instead, I feel that Chile still has a chance to reach further in the tournament and continue their good show after winning last year’s Copa America.
The Copa America Centenaire starts on June 3 and will go on until June 26. This summer vacation feels like an ultimate football fest! I am excited simply because of the fact that there is so much to look forward to – The Euros, The Olympics and The Copa America Centenaire. Now I just need some popcorn and chips to go with it!
Here are our views on the Euros: