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It’s been four years since the last one, which means it’s time for the next installment of the Copa América! The 2015 edition will be the 44th time the champion of South America is crowned, and will take place in Chile. The first match will take place this Thursday, at Estadio Nacional in Santiago at 7:30PM ET and will feature the hosts, Chile, taking on Ecuador. Here’s some more fun stuff you should know about the Copa América tournament, and it’s participants.

 

Who’s Playing?

 

Diego Forlan
No Forlan this time around, but the champs are definitely here. (CA2015.com)

This tournament will feature the top 10 teams from CONMEBOL (the South American conference of nations), as well as two teams from outside the conference that are traditionally invited. Mexico, who has participated in every Copa since 1993, got one invite and Jamaica got the other. Both nations are from CONCACAF. The top two nations from each group, and the best two third place teams, all move on to the knockout stages. Here’s a quick breakdown of the groups and teams involved:

 

  • Group A: Chile, Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia
  • Group B: Argentina (a thousand boos!), Uruguay (brush your shoulders off, defending champs), Paraguay (the other guays) and Jamaica
  • Group C: Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela

 

Fun Facts

 

Alexis Sanchez Chile
Can Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez lead Chile to it’s first Copa win? (David Hughes/The Guardian)

In no particular order, here’s all the stuff you need to know heading into the tournament:

 

  • This is Chile’s seventh time hosting, but first since 1991. They have never won.
  • Japan was initially invited to enter the tournament, but they turned it down. China was offered the spot next and initially accepted, but had to back out due to the fact that their 2018 World Cup qualifying period begins around the same time. Finally, Jamaica stepped up and took the final invite.
  • The winner of the tournament, or if Mexico or Jamaica win, the CONMEBOL representative with the best place, will go on to represent the conference at the Confederations Cup, which will take place in 2017 and be basically the dry run for Russia 2018, to see just what kind of a shit show we’ll get when the big tourney takes place in Putin’s homeland.
  • The Cup will be played from June 11 until July 4th
  • Games will be played in nine different venues across eight cities: Estadio Regional de Antofagasta in Antofagasta, Estadio Sausalito (like the delicious spicy turkey at the deli) in Viña del Mar, Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Estadio Monumental David Arellano in Santiago, Estadio Municipal de Concepción in Concepción, Estadio La Portada in La Serena, Estadio Elías Figueroa in Valparaíso, Estadio El Teniente in Rancagua and, finally, Estadio Municipal Germán Becker in Temuco.
  • You can watch all the action on beIN Sports, with the radio broadcast on Fútbol de Primera

 

Tournament History

 

Uruguay 1995 Copa América
I don’t know what the hell they’re wearing, but meet your 1995 Copa América champions, Uruguay! (CA2015.com)

As I mentioned earlier, this is the 44th installment of the Copa América, although it hasn’t always been called that. One thing you will notice is that the years will look a little wacky, because the tournament hasn’t always been held every four years. Don’t be alarmed, I didn’t go crazy. At different times, this tourney has been held every year, every two years, and even every three years. They finally settled on every four years starting in 2007, and that will probably never change… Until 2016, when the United States hosts a special 100th anniversary Copa that will feature an expanded field of CONCACAFers and CONMEBOLers. However, I’m pretty sure that’s only happening because Chuck Blazer corrupted his way into it, so who knows if that will get canceled or not. Anyway, here are some facts. Note which nation has the most wins, and which other nation is juuuuust behind them, looking up at the champs.

 

  • From 1916 to 1967, it was known as the South American Championship. The tournament disbanded, and started again in 1975 under its current name.
  • Uruguay – 15 championships (1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995, 2011)
  • Argentina – 14 championships (1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, 1993)
  • Brazil – 8 championships (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007)
  • Paraguay – 2 championships (1953, 1979)
  • Peru – 2 championships (1939, 1975)
  • Colombia – 1 championship (2001)
  • Bolivia – 1 championship (1963)
  • Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela have never won from CONMEBOL.
  • 20 hosts have won the tournament (three tourneys had no set host) since 1916, but only three since the Copa América rebrand (Brazil in 1989, Uruguay in 1995 and Colombia in 2001).
  • Six outside nations have been invited to participate since 1993: Costa Rica (1997, 2001, 2004, 2011, 2016), Honduras (2001), Japan (1999, 2011, 2015), Mexico (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2015), Jamaica (2015, 2016) and the United States (1993, 1995, 2007)
  • The best finish by a non-CONMEBOL nation is by Mexico, who finished second in 1993 and 2001)
  • The United States has participated three times, finishing last in 1993, fourth in 1995 and last in 2007. They’ll host in 2016.
  • In case you thought I’d forgotten this key info, the mascot is named “Zincha,” and he’s a culpeo fox.
  • The official song is “Al Sur del Mundo” by La Noche de Brujas.

 

Stat Head Stuff

 

Who's got the most goals in Copa history? Pssst... it's probably this guy. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)
Who’s got the most goals in modern Copa history? Pssst… it’s probably this guy. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s some fun stats from the Cup’s vaunted history:

 

  • Argentina’s Norberto Méndez (active from 1945-1956) and Brazil’s Zizinho (active from 1942-1957), have the most Copa goals with 17. The highest scoring Uruguayan is Severino Varela (active from 1935-1942), with 15.
  • Most goals scored in a single tournament: Brazil’s Jair da Rosa (active from 1940-1956), Argentina’s Humberto Maschio (active with Argentina from 1956-1957) and Uruguayan Javier Ambrois (active in the 1950s) – 9 goals
  • Three players have scored five goals in a single game: Uruguay’s Hector Scarone (vs. Bolivia, 1926), Argentina’s Juan Marvezzi (1941) and Brazil’s Evaristo (1957).
  • In the modern invite era (since 1993), the leading scorer is Ronaldo, with 10 goals between the 1997 and 1999 Copas.
  • In the modern invite era, the leading Uruguayan Scorer is Diego Forlán, with 7 goals across three tournaments (2004, 2007, 2011).

 

Featured image courtesy of: DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

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