The CONMEBOL Copa América which was previously referred to as the South American Championships of Nations is a quadrennial football tournament held in South America. The CONMEBOL Copa América is considered to be one of the world’s oldest football tournaments. The first CONMEBOL Copa América was held back in 1916 in celebrating the 100th Argentina independence anniversary. Uruguay won the inaugural tournament.
The tournament was being held after every one to four years until 2007 where it adopted its current quadrennial structure. The governing body of the CONMEBOL Copa América is the Confederation Sudamericana de Futbol which is popularly referred to as the CONMEBOL. 10 CONMEBOL member nations make up the teams that take part in the tournament.
Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Uruguay are the 10 CONMEBOL nations. However, two guest teams are usually invited to take part in the event.
History & Facts about CONMEBOL Copa América
Copa Centenario Revolución de Mayo was the title of the first ever CONMEBOL Copa América tournament which was organized by Argentina to celebrate the May Revolution which started Spain’s independence war.
Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay were invited although Brazil pulls out before the games started. Argentina won the tournament after seeing off Uruguay 4-1. Although CONMEBOL Copa América did not recognize this tournament as an official CONMEBOL Copa América tournament, it was the first ever football tournament where more than two teams contested for a trophy.
The First CONMEBOL Copa América Official Tournament was Held 6 Years Later
It was hosted by Argentina although there was no final game since it was played on a league format where Uruguay topped the table. However, the final match between Uruguay and the hosts was abandoned after the fans started rioting setting fire on the stands. The 1917 edition was also won by Uruguay. Up to date, Uruguay holds the most wins at 15 followed by Argentina 15 while Brazil comes in third at eight wins. Brazil’s record at the CONMEBOL Copa América is rather strange considering their excellent performance at World Cup events.
Argentina which first hosted the event in its infant stage failed to win their first CONMEBOL Copa América until 1921 although they are the second most successful nation after Uruguay.
The CONMEBOL Copa América era lasted until 1967 before taking an 8-year break. It proceeded in 1975 under new name Copa America.
Who is the Tournament all-time leading goal scorer?
Norberto Mendez managed to do his thing long before our time. He managed to score a massive 17 goals in the CONMEBOL Copa América tournaments he took part in the 40’s for Argentina. He was considered to be a tremendous tournament player since he only scored 20 in his international career.
Controversy surrounded CONMEBOL Copa América 100 Years Celebration
The 100 Years Celebration of CONMEBOL Copa América tournament will be hosted outside South America for the first ever time. Nicolás Leoz, who was among the driving forces behind the formation of the competition resigned after a cloud of controversy in the form of taking bribes for television rights for the World Cup events. Another outrageous claim against Nicolás Leoz was the refusal of the English bidding team for the 2018 World to buy his request of renaming the FA Cup after him and organize for him to be awarded the knighthood to make him sway his vote for England in the 2018/2022 World Cup.
However, Nicolás Leoz was never alone in the dirty dealings which saw a more substantial corruption allegation against CONCACAF and CONMEBOL concerning the media rights that almost caused cancellation of the preceding CONMEBOL Copa América. There have been lots of skepticism concerning the tournament which is being considered to be more of a marketing tool for the MLS in America rather than being a legit CONMEBOL Copa América edition.
What was in for the 2015 Winner?
The CONMEBOL Copa América is granted automatic qualification for the FIFA Confederations Cup. However, since the Copa America Centenario tournament is just a ceremonial tournament, the winners were not be given an invitation to take part in the 2017 Confederation cup edition. Chile, the 2015 Copa America winners, took part in the 2017 Confederation Cup tournament which was hosted by Russia.
Previously, there used to be more police offers than spectators in the stadium during the CONMEBOL Copa América games. However, the matches involving the host nation would sell out while others attracted very little interest.
However, this has all changed. The South American continent has become more affluent, more and more people can travel. For example, during the 2014 World Cup which was held in Brazil, Colombians traveled to Brazil in large numbers while the Chileans and Argentina fans took advantage of being next to Brazil. Although Copa America does not have the same pulling power, its influence has gone up, and it is now capable of pulling larger crowds. Almost all the matches were sold out, and the atmosphere inside the stadiums during the games is nowadays electrifying.
Qatar and Japan will take part in the forthcoming Copa America which will be held in 2019 in Brazil. No team from North America will be taking part. The CONMEBOL Copa América has been having guest sides taking part in the tournament since 1993. The 2019 edition will have Qatar and Japan takes part to make up for the 12 nation tournament due to the close work relationship between the Asian Football Confederation and the CONMEBOL.
Japan has previously taken part in the 1999 CONMEBOL Copa América while Qatar who will be making their debut will be hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Initially, CONMEBOL had considered making it a 16 team tournament which could have Portugal and Spain take part. The frequent invitees USA and Mexico will not be taking part this time around since they will be playing in the Copa Oro. Brazil which was supposed to host the 2015 CONMEBOL Copa América edition swapped the rights with Chile.
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