A beginner’s guide to Copa America 2024: Groups, format, location and dates

Uruguay's Luis Suarez takes a free-kick during the Conmebol Copa America 2021 football tournament group phase. AFP
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Updated 11 June 2024
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A beginner’s guide to Copa America 2024: Groups, format, location and dates

  • While Luis Suarez, Messis Miami's team-mate, was not named in the squad for Uruguay's 4-0 pre-tournament thrashing of Mexico
  • Despite being without Neymar, Brazil is Argentina's most obvious competitor

Grab your burgers, hot dogs, and root beers because, for the second time in its history, Copa America is being held in the United States.
But what is this Copa America, I hear you ask?
It's only the longest-running continental football competition, one that has played host to some of the greatest legends of the game including Lionel Messi, Pele, Diego Maradona, and Neymar.
This summer, across 12 American cities and 14 stadiums, South America's finest — including Brazil, Uruguay, and a Messi-led Argentina — will compete again to take the title of Champions of South America (and Others).
To round out the numbers, the United States, Mexico, and a few other North and Central American countries have been invited to join the fun, too.
Here, The Athletic has broken down everything you need to know about the tournament, from the favorites and the format to its 108-year history filled with brilliance and drama.
The last time it was held Stateside was in 2016 for Copa America Centenario, the tournament's 100th anniversary.
Though that tournament ended badly for Messi, losing out on a first senior international trophy in a penalty shootout to Chile, it provided the iconic moment where he endeared himself to the people of Argentina by breaking down in tears on the pitch.
He's since added a World Cup and a Copa America to his trophy cabinet, so don't bet on those theatrics again.
This year, the final will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, home of the Miami Dolphins. It will be one of 14 stadiums used for the tournament across 12 cities: East Rutherford, Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta, Kansas City, Arlington, Houston, Austin, Glendale, Las Vegas, Inglewood and Santa Clara.
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Other than 2016 and this year, Copa America has only ever been held in South America.
In 1984, CONMEBOL, the football governing body in South America, began rotating the right to host the tournament among its members, with the first rotation culminating in 2007 in Venezuela.
The second rotation began in 2011, but hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics proved too much for Brazil, which was scheduled to host Copa America in 2015. Chile eventually hosted that tournament, and Brazil took the responsibility in 2019 and 2021.
Argentina has hosted more editions than any other country (nine times), most recently in 2011. Paraguay, Colombia, and Venezuela are the only CONMEBOL nations that have not hosted it more than once.
This summer, the 16-team tournament will begin with four groups of four teams. After each team has played their group opposition once, the top two will advance.
During the group phase, teams earn three points for a win, one for a draw, and zero if they lose. If you're anti-draw, we advise you to wait until the knockout stage, where there must be a winner. If the scores are tied after 90 minutes, extra time is used, and if the scores are still level after two 15-minute halves, the match will be decided using penalty kicks.
The knockout stage consists of three rounds: the quarter-finals, semifinal, and final, one fewer round than the European Championship. In the quarter-final stage, teams that finished top of their group will play against a team that finished second. If a team progresses past that stage, they will play the semifinal. If they're successful there, the July 14 final awaits.
If this is your first Copa America, count yourself lucky. It is not usually this way.
In 2021, there were only 10 participants, meaning two five-team groups, each playing four group games. The top four from each group made it to the knockout stage, thus eliminating only two teams in the group phase. This year is only the second time there have been 16 competing nations, with 12 being the most common since guest nations were introduced in 1993.
More on those later.
Group A: Argentina, Peru, Chile, Canada
Group B: Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Jamaica
Group C: USMNT, Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia
Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica
Uruguay are international football, perennial overachiever, consistently performing well in tournaments despite a population of only around 3.5 million.
They won the tournament's first edition on their way to collecting six of the first nine and 15 in total, a record they share with Argentina.
Like Uruguay, Argentina had most of its success before the tournament changed its name from the South American Football Championship in 1975, winning 12 of their 15 trophies before 1960. In 2021, however, they got their hands on the trophy again, inspired by Messi, who was seven when Argentina previously won the competition in 1993.
Over the past three decades, Brazil has been the dominant team in South America, collecting five of their nine trophies since ending a 40-year drought in 1989. They were back-to-back winners in 1997, 1999, 2004, and 2007, off the back of a golden generation of Brazilian talent, including Ballon d'Or winners Ronaldo (not the superstar from Portugal), Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, and Kaka.
Chile had a golden spell in the mid-2010s, winning back-to-back trophies in 2015 and 2016, the only two wins in their history. Paraguay and Peru have also won it a couple of times, and Bolivia and Colombia have one each, both winning as host nations.
Ecuador and Venezuela are the only CONMEBOL nations that have never won the trophy. They have come relatively close, finishing fourth in the 1993 and 2011 editions but have never reached the final.
However, Venezuela has written history in a less desirable way. They hold the dishonor of not winning a single match in 12 consecutive participations from 1975 to 2004 and are the only South American team to rank outside the top 10 of the tournament's all-time rankings, surpassed by Mexico, a frequent guest nation.
Unlike UEFA, Europe's governing body, which has 55 member nations and holds qualifiers for their 32-team equivalent, CONMEBOL is FIFAs smallest confederation with 10 teams. As a result, all South American teams automatically qualify for the tournament, and guest nations are usually called from around the world to make up the numbers.
For the 1993 tournament, CONMEBOL decided to add a rotating cast of guest nations to the core of 10 teams. This allowed for an added knockout round, two extra games, higher viewing figures, and more money.
While it has yet to happen, the inclusion of guest nations opens the possibility that a team outside of South America could win the continent's premier sports tournament. Historically, the most likely to upset the apple cart has been Mexico, who have reached the final twice. The USMNT have done pretty well themselves, reaching the semifinals in 1995 and 2016.
Yes, Messi will be in action. Despite completing his football bucket list in 2022 by winning the World Cup in Qatar a year after winning Copa America, the Inter Miami star has committed to playing in his seventh this year.
Not that he needs any more accolades, but when Messi steps foot in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for Argentina's first group game on June 20, he will break the record for the leading number of appearances in the tournament. The match will be his 35th, surpassing the total set by Chile goalkeeper Sergio Livingstone. If he scores five while he is there, he'll also break the goalscoring record of 17, jointly held by his compatriots Norberto Mendez and Brazils Zizinho. Both records have stood since 1953.
Brazil is without Neymar, so Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr will take the mantle as the team's attacking leader. But do not fear: Alisson, Gabriel Martinelli, and Bruno Guimaraes will be among those to represent the Premier League for the five-time World Cup winners.
Liverpool duo Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez should star for Colombia and Uruguay and Moises Caicedo will headline for Ecuador.
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Messi is among several stars based in the United States who will feature at Copa America this summer, though some squads are yet to be announced at the time of writing.
Orlando City stalwart Pedro Gallese is expected to star for Peru in goal, and 2023 MLS All-Star midfielder Jose Martinez will likely perform his role in the midfield engine room for Venezuela as he does for the Philadelphia Union.
While Luis Suarez, Messis Miami's team-mate, was not named in the squad for Uruguay's 4-0 pre-tournament thrashing of Mexico, Cristian Olivera (LAFC) and Orlando City pair Cesar Araujo and Facundo Torres are expected to fly the MLS flag for Uruguay at the tournament.
With all those MLS players being called up for international duty this summer, surely MLS Commissioner Don Garber will pause league play, right?
Right?
We can't afford (to shut the league down for Copa America), Garber stated in his league address on the eve of the 2023 MLS Cup final. If we have to shut the league down (and) lose games, it impacts our players, it impacts our partners, it impacts our fans, it impacts everything that MLS has to deliver for all of our stakeholders. That being said, we've got to manage through that process, be clever and creative, and figure out how to reconfigure the schedule with all these different events to make it work.
Nothing says serving your fans like forcing teams to field sides without their best players. For example, Miami will play the Columbus Crew, the MLS Cup holders, on July 20, one day before Copa America kicks off. For that game, Miami will be without Messi.
Almost every South American superstar has won Copa America, except for two of the greatest ever: Maradona and Pele.
Maradona appeared in three Copa Americas (1979, 1987, and 1989) but never got over the line. His best performance came in 1987 on home soil, where he scored three goals in four matches, including a brace in the second group game against Ecuador. That was only enough to get to the semifinal stage, losing 1-0 against eventual winners Uruguay.
Pele gave himself even less chance, appearing in just one Copa America in 1958. As a 19-year-old, he finished as top scorer with eight goals and won the best player award, but Brazil finished second to Argentina in a seven-team round-robin. Imagine if he'd have played as many as Messi.
Let's not go there.
Fox Sports holds the English-language rights in the United States and will broadcast every game from the tournament on its Fox, FS1 and FS2 channels.
The USMNTs opening group games against Bolivia and Panama will be broadcast on Fox at 6 pm ET, while their third group fixture against Uruguay will be on FS1. Every Brazil and Argentina game is on FS1, while Mexicos group ties will be split between Fox and FS1.
The UK broadcaster is yet to be confirmed, but BBC held the rights in 2021.
Argentina are on an international tournament winning streak and they are favorites to win again this summer in the United States. Despite being without Neymar, Brazil is Argentina's most obvious competitor, and there will be little surprise if they add to their nine Copa America trophies this year.
Uruguay is slightly behind the elite duo but has the talent to go all the way. Outside of those three, Colombia is the pick of the dark horses. The United States has quality and could reach the semifinals if a favorable knockout route presents itself, but the final might be a game too far for Gregg Berhalters young squad.
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This summer on The Athletic: Tournaments, transfers and tours
This article originally appeared in The Athletic.
US Men’s national team, Mexico Men’s national team, Canada, Brazil, Jamaica, Argentina, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Soccer, Copa America


Spain and England to meet in European Championship final in front of Prince William and King Felipe

Updated 14 July 2024
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Spain and England to meet in European Championship final in front of Prince William and King Felipe

  • Spain is bidding to win the Euros for a record fourth time and for the first time since 2012
  • England lays claim to be the birthplace of soccer and hasn’t won a major title since the 1966 World Cup

BERLIN: Spain and England will meet in the European Championship final on Sunday, with much of the focus on a teenage wonderkid and whether one of the world’s most underachieving teams can end its decades-long wait for a title.
The match is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) in Berlin and is expected to be attended by Prince William, Spain’s King Felipe, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Keir Starmer, Britain’s new prime minister.
Spain is bidding to win the Euros for a record fourth time, breaking a tie with Germany/West Germany, and for the first time since 2012. The team’s new superstar is winger Lamine Yamal, a prodigy who turned 17 on Saturday.
England, who lays claim to be the birthplace of soccer, hasn’t won a major title since the 1966 World Cup and that was on home soil. This is the team’s second straight European Championship final, having lost in a penalty shootout in the final to Italy three years ago.
The teams have taken different paths to the final, which will take place at Berlin’s Olympiastadion — the 71,000-seat venue built for the 1936 Olympic Games and which hosted the 2006 World Cup final that featured Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt.
Spain has won all six of its matches and is widely regarded as the best team at Euro 2024, having seen off Germany and France in the knockout stage. England was unimpressive in the group stage and has shown resilience in coming from behind in all three of its knockout-stage games.


Olympics-Egyptian cyclist disqualified from Paris Games after collision uproar

Updated 14 July 2024
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Olympics-Egyptian cyclist disqualified from Paris Games after collision uproar

CAIRO: An Egyptian cyclist was disqualified from the Paris Olympics on Sunday by the local Olympic committee after her selection caused a social media backlash stemming from a video that appeared to show her knocking a competitor off her bicycle months ago.
The largest Arab country is building its credentials for a possible bid for the 2036 Games, which if successful would bring the Olympics to Africa for the first time, spending billions on facilities and sending its biggest delegation to Paris.
During the national championship in April, a video showed Shahd Saied colliding with one of her challengers, Ganna Eliwa, pushing her to the ground before racing ahead.
Eliwa accused Saied of a deliberate attack and said she suffered concussion, a broken collarbone, bruises and temporary loss of memory. Saied insisted the incident was an accident but was handed a one-year ban from local competition.
The Egyptian Cycling Federation raised eyebrows on Tuesday when it named her for the Paris Games, saying she had qualified prior to the incident.
Saied started her career in her hometown in Fayoum, south of Cairo, about four years ago. She won two gold medals in individual contests at an African championship earlier this year.
Many Egyptians expressed anger and embarrassment, accusing the federation of disregarding sportsmanship.
“What is she doing there, didn’t she crash into her competitor on purpose?” asked one Facebook user under the announcement of Shahd’s participation in the games.
“This is beyond shameless and I hope you fail.”
After the country’s sports ministry asked for a review of the decision, the Olympic Committee ruled on Sunday that the local ban made her ineligible for international competitions.
Saied had, however, already told a local TV host she was retiring. “I’m not going to bike anymore. If they don’t want me to represent Egypt, fine, I won’t go to the Olympiad,” she said on Saturday.


Euro 2024 final: Spain goes for record 4th title, England looks to end 58-year wait for major trophy

Updated 14 July 2024
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Euro 2024 final: Spain goes for record 4th title, England looks to end 58-year wait for major trophy

BERLIN: Spain and England meet in the final of the European Championship on Sunday. Spain is seeking a record fourth title at the Euros to break a tie with Germany/West Germany, while England is bidding for a first major trophy in men’s soccer since the 1966 World Cup. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local (1900 GMT) in Berlin. Here’s what to know about the match:
Match facts
— Spain will start as the favorite after winning all six of its matches at Euro 2024 and being widely regarded as the best team at the tournament. Winning the title would continue a strong period of success for Spanish national teams, with the men having captured the UEFA Nations League in June last year and the women following that up by winning the World Cup two months later.
— Lamine Yamal is Spain’s new star having set up three goals before the semifinals, where he scored a spectacular long-range strike in the victory over France — all at the age of 16. He turned 17 on Saturday, the day before the final. It is a breakthrough major tournament for Yamal, much like it was for a 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé at the 2018 World Cup and a 17-year-old Pelé at the 1958 World Cup.
— Spain last appeared in a final at a major tournament in 2012, when the team won the third of its European Championship titles by beating Italy 4-0. England played in the final of Euro 2020, which was played in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and lost in a penalty shootout to Italy.
— England has shown resilience by coming from behind in all three of its knockout-stage matches at Euro 2024. Jude Bellingham scored an equalizer from an overhead kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the extra-time win over Slovakia in the last 16, Bukayo Saka equalized in the 80th minute against Switzerland in the quarterfinals before England won a penalty shootout, and substitute Ollie Watkins scored a winner almost exactly on 90 minutes against the Netherlands in the semifinals.
— England coach Gareth Southgate is often criticized for his in-game management but he has changed the culture inside the squad and is regularly getting the team deep at major tournaments. In Southgate’s tenure that started in 2016, England has reached the World Cup semifinals in 2018 and now back-to-back European Championship finals.
Team news
— Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said on Saturday that the injured Pedri and Ayoze Pérez are the only players unavailable, meaning captain Alvaro Morata can play. Morata was limping after the semifinal win over France when he was knocked to the ground in the post-match celebrations by a steward trying to stop a pitch invader. Right back Dani Carvajal returns from suspension, leaving de la Fuente’s only selection dilemma at center back, with Nacho or Robin Le Normand vying to partner Aymeric Laporte. Dani Olmo will likely fill in again for Pedri as Spain’s attacking central midfielder.
— Southgate has to decide who to play at left back — or left wing back — out of Kieran Trippier or Luke Shaw. Shaw is a natural on that side but has only made two appearances as a second-half substitute at Euro 2024 after recovering from an injury that had sidelined him since February. Otherwise, Southgate will choose the same players, with the 19-year-old Kobbie Mainoo having nailed down the problematic spot in central midfield alongside Declan Rice.
By the numbers
— Spain’s previous European Championship titles came in 1964, 2008 and 2012.
— There are six players on a tournament-high three goals at Euro 2024 and two are playing in the final: England captain Harry Kane and Spain playmaker Dani Olmo. The others are Georges Mikautadze of Georgia, Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands, Ivan Schranz of Slovakia and Jamal Musiala or Germany.
— It has been six years since Spain and England met in a senior men’s international. In 2018, they played a Nations League double-header, with Spain winning 2-1 at Wembley Stadium and England winning 3-2 in Sevilla a month later.
What they’re saying
— “I don’t say it becomes run of the mill but it’s a little bit more normal for us. That statement in itself is probably ridiculous given our history.” — England coach Gareth Southgate on reaching a second straight final at the Euros.
— “I would like him to work with the same humility, keep his feet on the ground in order to keep improving, learning with the same kind of attitude and that professionalism, that maturity that he shows on the pitch. He looks like a much more experienced player, to be honest.” — Spain coach Luis de la Fuente on Lamine Yamal.
 

 


Siniakova and Townsend win women’s doubles title at Wimbledon

Updated 14 July 2024
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Siniakova and Townsend win women’s doubles title at Wimbledon

LONDON: After seeing longtime doubles partner Barbora Krejcikova win the Wimbledon singles title, Katerina Siniakova went out on Center Court and added another Grand Slam trophy to her own collection.
Siniakova won her third women’s doubles title at Wimbledon after teaming up with Taylor Townsend to beat Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1) on Saturday in a match that finished after 10:20 p.m. local time under floodlights.
“Amazing. I’m so proud of Barbora,” Siniakova said of her Czech countrywoman. “I’m just so happy that we could do it as well.”
Siniakova has won seven major doubles titles with Krejcikova and one with Coco Gauff at this year’s French Open. This was her first with Townsend, an American whose previous best Grand Slam result in doubles was two runner-up finishes at the 2022 US Open — in a loss to Siniakova and Krejcikova — and 2023 French Open.
Townsend said it was Siniakova’s idea for the two of them to play together at Wimbledon.
“I’m so glad Katerina slid into my DMs,” Townsend said.
A bit more than six hours after Krejcikova beat Jasmine Paolini in the women’s singles final, the fourth-seeded Siniakova and Townsend converted their first match point when Routliffe double-faulted.
Siniakova and Townsend failed to convert any of their seven break points in the second set but raced to 5-0 in the tiebreaker.
It was the third match of the day on Center Court after the men’s doubles final.
Siniakova and Krejcikova won the Wimbledon doubles in 2022 and 2018.
 

 


De la Fuente calls on Spain players to make history in Euros final

Updated 14 July 2024
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De la Fuente calls on Spain players to make history in Euros final

  • “It’s a brilliant generation, many of them have come through successful youth levels and that usually bodes well for success,” De la Fuente told reporters Saturday

BERLIN: Spain coach Luis de la Fuente called on a “brilliant” generation of players to make history for their country in the Euro 2024 final against England on Sunday.
La Roja are aiming to win a record fourth European Championship 12 years after they last lifted the trophy.
With Rodri Hernandez pulling the strings in midfield and explosive young wingers Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams in attack, Spain have been the tournament’s great entertainers on the road to Berlin.
“It’s a brilliant generation, many of them have come through successful youth levels and that usually bodes well for success,” De la Fuente told reporters Saturday.
“We want to start to make history — and we have made history already in the run to (the final)... I trust in a great future, there’s both present and future.”
Spain won the 2008 and 2012 Euros and the 2010 World Cup with many star players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, including Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Ramos and David Villa.
The current side has fewer stars but consider that one of their strong points, with the squad on an even footing and “unity” has been a key word among Spain players at the tournament.
Despite Spain shining en route to the final while England have scraped through, De la Fuente said the clash at the Olympiastadion will be “extremely balanced.”
“Whichever team manages to impose their strengths, whoever makes less errors (will win),” said the coach.
“But you can win a one-off game, even playing far worse (than your opponent).
“We need to have maximum concentration, not make any mistakes and take advantage of the chances we have — put them away.”
The coach thanked injured duo Pedri and Ayoze Perez, who will not be available to face England, and said Barcelona midfielder Gavi will travel to join the team for the final.
The 19-year-old missed most of the season with a knee injury but was an important player for Spain before sustaining it in November.
De la Fuente said it was no challenge to keep Barcelona’s Yamal, who turned 17 on Saturday, and Athletic Bilbao’s Williams, 22, calm ahead of the biggest game of their careers.
“It’s not at all hard, they have such joy, and incredible maturity for such young players, they understand the sport very well and they are well accompanied by more experienced players,” explained the coach.
“We’re a team, it’s not about hailing individuals, and this makes us stronger.”
At the other end of the age spectrum is 38-year-old Sevilla defender Jesus Navas, who started the semifinal win over France in direct confrontation with Kylian Mbappe.
Navas won the 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euros and the 2023 Nations League with Spain and said he would love to lift another trophy with his country.
“To still be enjoying myself with my national team at 38 is incredible,” said the right-back.
“In (Spain’s golden years) we were such a close-knit group, and you could feel it. Now it’s the same, there’s an incredible group. I’m delighted by everything that’s happening to us.
“We know the excitement and hope that we all have and I hope we can win it.”