|Region|| South America |
|Current champions||Chile (1st title)|
|Number of teams||12|
|Most successful club||Uruguay (15 titles)|
The Campeonato Sudamericano Copa América, known as Copa América (Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese for "Americas Cup") is a South American international association football competition contested between the men's national teams of CONMEBOL, the sport's continental governing body. It is the oldest international continental football competition.
The current tournament format involves twelve teams competing at venues in a host nation over a period of about a month. The confederation has only ten members, so national teams from other FIFA confederations are invited to fill the other 2 places; Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States have been regular since being invited for the first time in 1993. In 43 tournaments, seven national teams have won the title. Uruguay is the current champion and the most successful team in the tournament, having won it fifteen times.
The Copa América is one of the world's most widely viewed sporting events. The highest finishing member of CONMEBOL has the right to participate in the next edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup, but is not obligated to do so.
The first recorded association football match in South America was played in Argentina in 1867 by British railway workers. The first association football team in South America, Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata was created in Argentina in 1887, and the Argentine Football Association was founded in 1893. By the early 20th century, football was growing in popularity, and the first international competition held between national teams of the continent occurred in 1910 when Argentina organized an event to commemorate the centenary of the May Revolution. Chile and Uruguay participated, but this event is not considered official by CONMEBOL. Similarly, for the centennial celebration of its independence, Argentina held a tournament between July 2 and July 17 of 1916 with Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil being the first participants of the tournament. This so-called Campeonato Sudamericano de Football would be the first edition of what is currently known as Copa América; Uruguay would triumph in this first edition after tying 0-0 with hosts Argentina in the deciding, last match held in Estadio Racing Club in Avellaneda.
Seeing the success of the tournament, a boardmember of the Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol or Uruguayan Football Association, Héctor Rivadavia, proposed the establishment of a confederation of the associations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, and on July 9, independence day in Argentina, CONMEBOL was founded. The following year, the competition was played again, this time in Uruguay. Uruguay would win the title again to win their bicampeonato after defeating Argentina 1-0 in the last match of the tournament. The success of the tournament on Charrúan soil would help consolidate the tournament. After a flu outbreak in Rio de Janeiro canceled the tournament in 1918, Brazil hosted the tournament in 1919 and was crowned champion for the first time after defeating the defending champions 1-0 in a playoff match to decide the title, while the Chilean city of Viña del Mar would host the 1920 event which was won by Uruguay.
For the 1921 event, Paraguay participated for the first time after its football association affiliated to CONMEBOL earlier that same year. Argentina won the competition for the first time thanks to the goals of Julio Libonatti. In subsequent years, Uruguay would dominate the tournament, which at that time was the largest football tournament in the world. Argentina, however, would not be far behind and disputed the supremacy with the Charruas. After losing the 1928 final at the 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, Argentina would gain revenge in the 1929 South American Championship by defeating the Uruguayans in the last, decisive match. During this period, both Bolivia and Peru debuted in the tournament in 1926 and 1927, respectively.
Disorganization and intermittency
After the first World Cup held in Uruguay in 1930, the enmity between the football federations of Uruguay and Argentina prevented the competition from being played for a number of years. Only in 1935 was it possible to dispute a special edition of the event to be officially reinstated in 1939. Peru became the host nation of the 1939 edition and won the competition for the first time ever after a 2-1 victory over Uruguay. Ecuador made their debut at that tournament.
In 1941, Chile hosted that year's edition in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Santiago for which the capacity of the newly built Estadio Nacional was expanded from 30,000 to 70,000 spectators. Despite the large investment and initial success of the team, the Chileans would be defeated in the last match by eventual champions Argentina. Uruguay hosted and won the 1942 edition. Chile would host again in 1945 only to come agonizingly close to disputing the title with Argentina only for Brazil to spoil the possibility; Argentina would win the tournament once again on Chilean soil.
The event entered a period of great disruption. The championship was not played on a regular basis and many editions would be deemed unofficial, only to be considered valid later on by CONMEBOL. For example, Argentina would be the first (and so far only) team to win three consecutive titles by winning the championships of 1945, 1946 and 1947. After those three annual tournaments, the competition returned to being held every two years, then three and later four. There were even two tournaments held in 1959, one in Argentina and a second in Ecuador. During this period, some of the national teams were indifferent to the tournament. Some did not participate every year, others sent lesser teams; in the 1959 edition held in Ecuador, Brazil entered a team from the state of Pernambuco. Bolivia won for the first time when it hosted in 1963, but was defeated in the first game of the 1967 tournament by debutant Venezuela. The founding of the Copa Libertadores in 1959 also affected the way the tournament was viewed by its participants.
After eight years of absence, the event resumed in 1975 and officially acquired the name Copa América. The tournament had no fixed venue, and all matches were played throughout the year in each country. Nine teams participated in the group stages with the defending champions receiving a bye into the semifinals. The tournament was contested every four years using this system until 1987.
In 1986, CONMEBOL decided to return to having one country host the tournament and to dispute it every other year. From 1987 until 2001, the event was hosted every two years in rotation by the ten members of the confederation. The format would remain constant with a first round of groups, but the final round stage ranged from being a new, final round-robin group or a single-elimination system to decide the winner. This renewal helped the tournament, which began television coverage in Europe and North America. The 1987 Copa América was held in Argentina; this was the first time the nation had hosted an edition in 28 years. Despite entering as heavy favorites for being the reigning world champions (having won the 1986 FIFA World Cup), playing at home and having a team largely composed of its World Cup winners led by the legendary Diego Maradona, Argentina would finish in a disappointing fourth place after being beaten by defending champions Uruguay 0-1 in the semifinals. Uruguay would defeat a surprisingly strong Chilean squad who made it to the final, disposing of the powerful Brazil 4-0 on the group stage.
Brazil lifted its first official international title since the 1970 FIFA World Cup after winning the 1989 Copa América held on home soil. Argentina, in turn, won the Copa América after 32 long years in 1991 in Chile, thanks to a refreshed squad led by the prolific goalscorer Gabriel Batistuta. The 1993 Copa América tournament in Ecuador would take its current form. Along with the usual ten teams, CONMEBOL invited two countries from CONCACAF to participate, Mexico and the United States.
Uruguay managed to win, as host, the competition in 1995 ending a period of decline for Uruguayan football. With the implementation of rotating hosts, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela hosted the tournament for the first time. Brazil entered a successful series of victories, winning four of the five continental titles between 1997 and 2007. The first, in 1997, was won after defeating host nation Bolivia 1-3 with goals from Leonardo, Denílson and Ronaldo becoming crucial in the Verde-Amarela's consagration on Bolivia's altitude. Brazil would successfully defend the title in 1999 after thumping Uruguay 3-0 in Asuncion, Paraguay. However, the 2001 Copa América saw one of the biggest surprises of the history of the sport as Honduras eliminated Brazil in the quarterfinals. Colombia, the host nation, would go on to win the competition for the first time ever.
Ruing from the embarrassing performance in 2001, Brazil reestablished itself in the South American pantheon after defeating Argentina, on penalties, in order to win the 2004 competition held in Peru. Three years later, the two teams met again in the final, this time in Venezuela. Once again, Brazil came out victorious after crushing Argentina 3-0.
Argentina hosted the 2011 competition and was ousted by Uruguay in the quarterfinals by penalty shootout. Uruguay would go on defeating Peru 2-0 in the semis to reach the finals and overpower Paraguay 3-0, thus winning the trophy on Argentinean soil for the third time and second in a row. This, the 43rd edition, was the first time that neither Argentina nor Brazil reached the semifinals stage in the tournament.
In 1984, CONMEBOL adopted the policy of rotating the right to host the Copa América amongst the ten member confederations. The first rotation has now been completed following the 2007 Copa América which took place in Venezuela. A second rotation has been agreed to begin in 2011, with host countries rotating in alphabetical order, starting with Argentina. Chile, México and the United States expressed interest in hosting the next tournament, but the CONMEBOL Executive Committee decided to continue the execution of the rotation, giving priority of the organization to each of its member associations; each association confirms whether they will host an edition or not, having no obligation to do so. Argentina confirmed on November 24, 2008, via representatives of the Argentine Football Association, that it would host the 2011 Copa América.
The 2015 Copa América was due to be held in Brazil following the order of rotation. However, the hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in that nation resulted in the decision being reconsidered. Although CONMEBOL President Nicolas Leoz proposed hosting the continental tournament in Mexico (a member of the CONCACAF federation) and board members Brazil and Chile discussed the possibility of exchanging the 2015 and 2019 tournaments, it was decided in the end, as the CBF confirmed in February 2011, that the 2015 Copa América is to be held in Brazil. However, in March 2012 it was officially announced that it was Chile who would be hosting the 2015 Copa América, after CBF president Ricardo Teixeira resigned from his position and the CBF agreed to swap the tournament's hosting with Chile. The swap was made official in May 2012. The centennial edition of the tournament, which will occur in 2016, will be held in the United States.
Each Copa América since 1987 has had its own mascot or logo. Gardelito, the mascot for the 1987 competition, was the first Copa América mascot.
|9||Argentina (1916, 1921, 1925, 1929, 1937, 1946, 1959, 1987, 2011)|
|7||Uruguay (1917, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1956, 1967, 1995)|
|6|| Chile (1920, 1926, 1941, 1945, 1955, 1991)|
Peru (1927, 1935, 1939, 1953, 1957, 2004)
|4||Brazil (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989)|
|3||Ecuador (1947, 1959, 1993)|
|2||Bolivia (1963, 1997)|
|1|| Paraguay (1999)|
|3||No fixed host [F] (1975, 1979, 1983)|
Format and rules
The tournament was previously known as sup Campeonato Sudamericano de Football (South American Championship of Football). South American Championship of Nations was the official English language name. The current name has been used since 1975. Between 1975 and 1983 it had no host nation, and was held in a home and away fashion. The current final tournament features 12 national teams competing over a month in the host nation. There are two stages: the group stage followed by the knockout stage. In the group stage, teams compete within three groups of four teams each. Three teams are seeded, including the hosts, with the other seeded teams selected using a formula based on the FIFA World Rankings. The other teams are assigned to different "pots", usually based also on the FIFA Rankings, and teams in each pot are drawn at random to the three groups.
Each group plays a round-robin tournament, in which each team is scheduled for three matches against other teams in the same group. The last round of matches of each group is not scheduled at the same time unlike many tournaments around the world. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage as well as the two best third-place teams. Points are used to rank the teams within a group. Beginning in 1995, three points have been awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss (before, winners received two points).
The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:
- a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
- b) goal difference in all group matches;
- c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined as follows:
- d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
- f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
- g) drawing of lots by the CONMEBOL Organising Committee (i.e. at random).
The knockout stage is a single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off matches, with penalty shootouts]used to decide the winner if a match is still tied after extra time. It begins with the quarter-finals, then semi-finals, the third-place match (contested by the losing semi-finalists), and the final.
Since 1993, two teams from other confederations, usually from CONCACAF whose members are geographically and culturally close, are also invited. In all, seven different nations have received invitations. Nations receiving invitations are Costa Rica (1997, 2001, 2004, 2011), Honduras (2001), Japan (1999, 2011, 2015), Mexico (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011), and the United States (1993, 1995, 2007). The United States had been invited every time from 1997 to 2007 but frequently turned down the invitation due to scheduling conflicts with Major League Soccer. However, on October 30, 2006, the US Soccer Federation accepted the invitation for participation in the 2007 tournament, ending a 12 year absence. At the 2001 Copa América, Canada was an invitee, but on July 6, 2001 withdrew because of security concerns. At the 2011 Copa América, Japan withdrew, citing difficulties with European clubs in releasing Japanese players. South American football's governing body CONMEBOL has stated that Japan would be invited to the 2015 Copa América. Spain was invited to the 2011 edition, but according to the Royal Spanish Football Federation, they declined because they did not want to interrupt the Spanish players' holidays.
Invitees nations record
Two trophies are awarded at the end of the competition: the Copa América is given to the winner, while the Copa Bolivia is awarded to the runner-up. The Copa América trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Copa América tournament, was donated to CONMEBOL by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina in 1916. The prestigious laurel was obtained from a jewelry shop in Buenos Aires at the cost of 3,000 Swiss francs. The trophy is a silver ornament with wooden base which contains several plaques. The plaques are engraved with every winner of the competition, as well as the edition won.
South American Championship era
Copa América era
- Invited teams in italics
- pens – after penalty shootout
Given the size of the confederation (it is the smallest with only ten members), every nation has been represented in the tournament. Recently, invitees from outside CONMEBOL have taken part in the competition in order to provide a more viable format to the competition. Seven nations have won the Copa América, only five have won it more than once and only three more than twice. With 15 titles Uruguay is the most successful Copa América team, while Argentina is second with 14 titles. 12 of Argentina's titles and 10 of Uruguay's were won before 1960. Brazil have won it eight times with half of those titles being won after 1989. Argentina has made the most appearances in the final, with 26, and on the podium, with 30, while Uruguay have made the most appearances in the top four, with 35.
Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay are the only teams able to win the Copa América outside their countries. Argentina won it eight times outside its country, Uruguay seven times, Brazil four times and Paraguay just once. Colombia and Bolivia have only won the Copa América as hosts (this does not take into account the Copa América tournaments held under a home and away format from 1975 to 1983). Uruguay and Brazil are the most successful teams as hosts winning all editions held in their country (Uruguay 7 times and Brazil 4). Uruguay is the only foreign team to have won the title in Argentina and did so 3 times out of the 9 held there. Chile is the most unsuccessful host nation being unable to win in any of the 6 tournaments held there, the last 4 of which were won by Argentina. Only Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil have won consecutive Copa Américas while Argentina is the only team to win it three times in a row. Mexico, who is from the CONCACAF, has had some success, being runner-up twice and third place on several occasions.
Teams reaching the top four
1993 is the only edition when neither Brazil nor Uruguay has finished in the top four. There have been only 3 editions where neither Argentina nor Brazil has finished in the top four (1939, 2001, 2011). Likewise, only 3 editions have seen neither Argentina nor Uruguay finish in the top four (1949, 1979, 1997). There has never been an edition in which none of the three countries Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil made it to the top four. All Copa America tournaments held in Brazil and Uruguay have been won by the host nation, while Argentina have won 6 South American Championships as hosts and Uruguay have won 3 of their 15 Copa Americas in Argentina (1916, 1987, 2011).
Team Po Pl W D L GF GA GD 1 Argentina 364 173 111 31 31 422 166 +256 2 Uruguay 339 184 103 30 51 384 208 +176 3 Brazil 315 167 95 30 42 387 190 +197 4 Paraguay 213 153 61 30 62 241 270 -29 5 Chile 188 161 54 26 81 247 291 -44 6 Peru 169 132 46 31 55 193 220 -27 7 Colombia 128 99 36 20 43 120 175 -55 8 Bolivia 81 102 19 24 59 97 257 -160 9 Mexico 61 38 17 10 14 56 48 +8 10 Ecuador 61 108 14 19 75 114 296 -182 11 Venezuela 21 51 4 9 38 36 155 -120 12 Costa Rica 11 11 3 2 6 12 21 -9 13 Honduras 10 6 3 1 2 7 5 +2 14 United States 8 12 2 2 8 11 21 -10 15 Japan 1 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5
Copa América player of the tournament
Copa América winning managers
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