What’s special about this Copa America?

Kathmandu – The 48th edition of the South American continental football tournament, Copa America, will be kicking off Friday morning in America.

This time, the competition is being organized jointly with North American nations alongside South American countries. In the opening match, former champions Argentina will face Canada at 5:45 AM Nepali time Friday morning.

Previously, the Copa America, marking a century of South American football, was hosted in America in 2016. Following that, this edition is the first time the competition extends beyond South America, with regular rules applying. Sixteen teams will participate, including 10 members from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and six from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

A New Format in the World’s Oldest Football Competition

The Copa America, with a football history of 118 years, is featuring 16 teams for the first time. The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) contributes 10 member nations, while the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) adds 6, totaling the 16 teams in the Copa America.

Previously, 12 teams participated in this competition. The decision to expand to 16 teams for the 2024 Copa America, including women’s football and club competitions, was reached through an agreement between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF. This edition sees an increase in participating teams, with 10 South American nations qualifying automatically and 6 from the CONCACAF Nations League.

Host Responsibilities for America

For the first time since 2016, Copa America is being hosted in 2024. The opening match will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Similarly, the final match is scheduled for July 14 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Matches under the tournament will be played at various 14 stadiums across 10 states in America. Texas will host three, while Florida and California will host two each. Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, and Kansas will host one stadium each.

Significance for Vinicius Junior and Lionel Messi

This edition holds special importance for Brazilian star Vinicius Junior and Argentine star Lionel Messi. Vinicius Junior aims to prove himself after claiming the Ballon d’Or, aspiring to secure his Ballon d’Or title. He previously brought the Champions League and La Liga titles to Real, marking his most successful year.

Likewise, former champion Lionel Messi eyes his third consecutive title. His participation in this special continental competition further highlights its significance.

Group Composition

Group A: Argentina, Peru, Chile, Canada

Group B: Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Jamaica

Group C: USA, Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia

Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica