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South America, Copa America

CONMEBOL Copa America (CONMEBOL America Cup)

The CONMEBOL Copa America (CONMEBOL America Cup), known until 1975 as the South American Football Championship, is one of the most important football tournaments of the CONMEBOL national teams. It is the oldest major international football competition. The competition determines the most important friendly champion of South America. Since the 1990s, teams from North America and Asia have been invited to participate.

Since 1993, the tournament has usually consisted of 12 teams - all 10 CONMEBOL teams and two other teams from other confederations. Mexico participated in each tournament between 1993 and 2016, with another team pulled by CONCACAF, with the exception of 1999, when the AFC team Japan filled the list with 12 teams, and in 2019, where Japan and Qatar were represented , The 2016 version of the event, Copa América Centenario, consisted of 16 teams, six of which were occupied by CONCACAF and ten by CONMEBOL. The two runners-up Mexico are the highest for a non-CONMEBOL team.

Eight of the ten CONMEBOL national teams have won the tournament at least once in 46 stages since the opening of the tournament in 1916. Only Ecuador and Venezuela could still win. Uruguay have the most championships in tournament history with 15 cups, while current champions Brazil have nine cups. Argentina, where the opening match took place in 1916, played the tournament most often (nine). The United States is the only non-CONMEBOL country where the 2016 event took place. Four times (1975, 1979, 1983 and 2020) the tournament was or will be held in several South American countries.

The first football team in South America, the Lima Cricket and Football Club, was founded in Peru in 1859, and the Argentine Football Association was founded in 1893. At the beginning of the 20th century, football gained in popularity and the first international competition was held among the players National teams of the continent appeared in 1910, when Argentina organized an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the May Revolution. Chile and Uruguay have participated, but this event is not considered official by CONMEBOL. Similarly, Argentina held a tournament between July 2 and 17, 1916, to celebrate its centenary of independence, with Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil the first participants in the tournament. This so-called Campeonato Sudamericano de Football would be the first edition of today's Copa América. Uruguay would triumph in this first edition following their draw with host Argentina in their decisive final match at the Estadio Racing Club in Avellaneda.

In view of the success of the tournament, a board member of the Uruguayan Football Association, Héctor Rivadavia, proposed the creation of a Confederation of Associations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. CONMEBOL was founded on July 9, Independence Day in Argentina. The following year, the competition was held again, this time in Uruguay. Uruguay would win the title again to win their Bicampeonato after defeating Argentina 1-0 in the final game of the tournament. The success of the tournament on the Charrúan soil would help consolidate the tournament. After a flu outbreak in Rio de Janeiro had canceled the tournament in 1918, Brazil hosted the tournament in 1919 and for the first time became champions after defeating the defending champions 1-0 in a playoff match to win the title, while Chilean City In Viña del Mar in 1920, the event won by Uruguay took place.

At the event of 1921 Paraguay participated for the first time, after his football association had previously joined the same year the CONMEBOL. Argentina won the competition for the first time thanks to the goals of Julio Libonatti. In the following years, Uruguay would dominate the tournament, which at the time was the biggest football tournament in the world. Argentina, however, would not lag far behind and take over the supremacy of the Charruas. After the defeat of the 1928 final at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Argentina was to take revenge on the 1929 South American Championship by defeating the Uruguayans in the final decisive match. During this time, Bolivia and Peru debuted in 1926 and 1927 at the tournament.

Format and rules

The tournament was previously known as Campeonato Sudamericano de Futbol (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 phases: 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 is 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 are 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 Organizing 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 90 minutes in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and after extra time in the final. It begins with the quarter-finals, then semi-finals, the third-place match (contested by the losing semi-finalists), and the final.


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