The Copa América Centenario draws have been made with Argentina set to continue its rivalry with Chile, who defeated La Selección in the 2015 final.
The 16-team tournament, upgraded from the previous 12, has been set up to mark 100 years since the very first Copa América, which was hosted by Argentina and won by Uruguay.
What’s more is that the tournament is set to be hosted outside a South American football federation nation for the first time, with the United States showing how much it cares about fútbol by laying on matches in metropolises such as East Rutherford, Foxborough, Glendale and Pasadena. East Rutherford! Haven’t you always wanted to go!?
The US will host Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in Group A, while Brazil’s up against the likes of Ecuador, Haiti and Peru in a group it should, quite frankly, stroll through.
But all the attention has been focused on Group D where Argentina will battle it out against Chile’s Vidal, Sanchez & co. for the top spot — feel free to dig this article up, print out a 100 copies and beat me with them if I’m wrong — alongside relative minnows Bolivia and Panama.
The winners and runners up of the group will face two of Mexico, Uruguay, Jamaica and Venezuela. I’m not a betting man, but it’s hard to look past Mexico, led by goal grabbing Javier Hernández who’s currently blitzing the German first division, and Uruguay, led by [insert any number of adjectives, you’ll never describe him aptly] Luis Suárez who’s currently running Spain’s La Liga, topping that group.
Should Argentina progress, it’ll be hoping to avoid Uruguay, although it’s pretty hard to justify anyone’s case against a front line consisting of Agüero, Messi, Higuaín, Tévez, Dybala, et al. An attacking line so powerful NATO is trying to broker a peace deal with Argentina for disarmament.
As for the US’s chances, it’ll be interesting to see if hosting the tournament makes a significant difference for Team USA, we’re not sure it’ll be able to cope with the excitement of visiting Glendale. Its highest ever finish in Copa América was 4th place in 1995 and only a brave, brave fan would say this year will be any different with the likes of 91 cap (NINETY ONE CAP, yeah seriously) Jozy Altidore leading the line, compared to Messi, Neymar and Cavani.
The tournament’s dark horses are Costa Rica, who beat Uruguay, Italy and Greece at the 2014 World Cup as it progressed to the quarter finals only to be unluckily dumped out by the Netherlands on penalties, exceeding literally everyone’s expectations, even Sepp Blatter’s who probably organized for it to happen.
The tournament will take place from June 3rd to June 26th, and is the oldest international competition in world football. It involves teams which qualified from across the Americas; think of it as the World Cup but excluding ‘the world’ and including the countries sandwiched between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
There’s never been a Copa América where Uruguay, the competition’s most successful team, Argentina, the second most, and Brazil, the third most, haven’t finished in the top 4.