Copa America

Copa America Tournament Review

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The Copa America, also titled the South American Championship of Nations, is a quadrennial South American football tournament. It is the oldest international football tournament and the continent’s premier football competition. This competition was first held in 1916 during Argentina’s 100th anniversary of their independence. Uruguay emerged the winners of the inaugural title, and the nation has gone on to win the most titles in this tournament.

The tournament consists of ten teams, plus two guest teams that are invited to participate in the competition. The tournament is governed by the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) and is therefore responsible for choosing the guest nations of the tournament. The ten members of CONMEBOL include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Most Successful Teams in Copa America

Every tournament has that dominant team that boasts titles above the rest. In the Copa America, it would be safe to say that the Uruguayan football team has been the most dominant since the beginning of the competition. Boasting 15 titles over the 103 years of the tournament’s existence, only Argentina and Brazil come close. Argentina has won the cups 14 times while the Brazil team has lifted it nine times. Other winners of this tournament include Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, having won a pair of titles each.

History of the Copa America Tournament

Despite being the oldest international tournament in the world of football, the Copa America has earlier lacked continuity, which was marked by a couple of irregularities and some large gaps between tournaments. The years between 1929 and 1935 were marred with the antagonism between the top football nations of South America.

The feud between Argentina and Uruguay emerged after the 1930 World Cup, which resulted in an impromptu postponement of the tournament. The founding of the Copa Libertadores in 1960 also led to another hiatus between 1967 and 1975. This 8-year break saw a change of name for the tournament, from Campeonato Sudamericano to Copa America. During this break, the home-and-away format of the competition was also introduced.

Key Players in the Copa America Tournament

The Copa America tournament hasn’t been short of star players over the years. Lately, the tournament has been coloured by the careers of players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, and Edinson Cavani. However, these players don’t feature among the greatest of this tournament. Take a look at some of the greatest players in this tournament:

Norberto Mendez

The Argentinean striker is the joint all-time top scorer of the tournament. Throughout his playing time, he scored 17 goals and helped his country to three Copa America titles.

Zizinho

Another joint top scorer of the tournament, the Brazilian attacking midfielder also scored 17 goals in this tournament and helped his nation to the 1949 Copa America tournament.

Lolo Fernandez

Nicknamed Lolo, Teodoro Fernandez is regarded as the best player to play for Peru. He scored 15 goals, and most notably in 1939 final where they beat Uruguay 2-1 to lift the title. During that year, Lolo emerged the tournament’s top scorer with seven goals.

Other notable players in this tournament include Uruguay’s Severino Valera, Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta, Brazil’s Ademir de Menezes, Argentina’s Jose Manuel Moreno, Brazil’s Jair da Rosa Pinto, and Uruguay’s Hector Scarone.