Copa America 2015. Well, we will start by testing your football knowledge. Which is the oldest international football tournament in the world?
The FIFA football world cup?
No.That honour goes to Copa America, the continental football championship of South America and North America.
The tournament was started in 1916 – 14 years before the first Football world cup was held. The 44th edition of the tournament, the Copa America 2015, is scheduled in Chile from June 11 to July 4.
Twelve teams – two from North America and ten from South America – take part in this edition of the normally biennial tournament. We said ‘normally biennial’ because the frequency of the tournament has been changing frequently. The last edition was held in 2011 in Argentina. The next edition is supposed to be held next year – yes, in 2016 – in the United States.
This tournament was supposed to be held in Brazil last year. But the country was busy conducting World Cup football and preparing for Olympic Games in 2016. The country excused itself from conducting Copa America. In stepped Chile, with its beach-front stadiums and attractive attacking soccer, to host the 44th edition of Latin America’s prestigious tournament.
How to watch
Have you seen Chile on a map? Go ahead and check it. It must be the most exotic tourist location on a map. It appears like a long narrow strip of land between Argentina and the Pacific Ocean. It almost looks like a sea wall, in the shape of the mirror image of an elongated coma, that protects Argentina from the Pacific Ocean.
This could be a great chance to visit the country and watch some fascinating brand of soccer. You must have heard about the flair of Latin American soccer.
But it comes in many hues: the organized zamba of the Brazilians, the Europeanized ballet of the Argentines, pure Latin American attacking anarchy of the Chileans, unpredictable wild dance of the Uruguayans and the sophisticated ballroom performance of the Columbians – you could watch all those varieties in Chile during June-July in the Copa America 2015.
If you’re looking to purchase tickets, tickets are available in the in the official sources (www.ca2015.com and www.ticketproca2015.cl) as well as in other unofficial sources. You can watch the live streaming of all these matches too. We shall offer frequent updates of live streaming options as the tournament begins.
The current title holders Uruguay is the most decorated team in the Copa America. They have won the trophy 15 times. Argentina is a close second, having achieved 14 Copa America triumphs.
The last time they won was in 1993 though. This is the seventh time the tournament is going to be held in Chile. Uruguay won the first two tournaments held in Chile, while Argentine won the last four tournaments held in the country.
Brazil, for all its international glory, could win the tournament only eight times. A good thing for them is that four of these wins have come in the last 20 years. That means Brazil has won four of the last six Copa America titles.
Copa America 2015 Preview
The 12 teams in the tournament are divided into three groups, with each group comprising four teams. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarter finals. In addition, two of the best among the third-placed teams will also enter the quarter finals.
Brazil is grouped with Columbia in Group C. The winner of the Brazil vs Columbia match is likely to top that group. Argentina is grouped with Uruguay. The result between these traditional South American giants will determine the group winner. Chile has a comparatively weak group, where the team still has to confront Mexico, a team that habitually does well in international tournaments.
If everything goes according to the form book, Brazil will meet Uruguay in the quarter final and Argentina in the semi final. On the other hand, Chile is likely to meet Columbia in the quarter final. It is safe to say that an Argentina vs Brazil final is almost impossible in this draw.
Who is going to win?
Brazil has recovered well under Dunga from their World Cup debacle at home. The team has a better defence and a better attack. Dunga has not gone for a complete overhaul of the team.
Still, he has shored up the defence with less fancied players like Miranda and Danilo. In the attack, Firmino is teaming up well with Neymar and Oscar. They look the most formidable team in the fray.
Argentina can never be ruled out either. If you check the European club football scene at the moment, the Argentine players command the best market value. Not just Lionel Messi, but other established stars like Carlos Tevez, Sergio Agüero and Angel di Maria are highly sought after. Even the Argentine youngsters like Paulo Dybala attract considerable attention. If they can beat Brazil in the quarter final or semi final, the cup is theirs for the taking.
The other three contenders are Uruguay, Colombia and Chile, in that order. Uruguay consistently lifts their game in big tournaments. Luis Suarez is still in prime form. Uruguay has an experienced squad that can make Suarez bite on the Copa America trophy.
Columbia played a merry brand of soccer in Brazil last year that made the world look up and take notice. James Rodríguez is the poster boy of their rock band football.
Finally, nobody plays football these days with as much attacking vigour as Chile does. Perhaps, this is the last chance for their golden generation to claim long-eluded national glory.
On their day, Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal can eclipse even Messi and Neymar. They will hope the raucous home crowd will act as an invisible 12th man on the ground.
It is hard to predict who will win; still, Brazil and Argentina seem to be a on a notch above the rest.