Eletiofe2024 Copa América: Dates, cities, stadiums, teams, odds, draw...

2024 Copa América: Dates, cities, stadiums, teams, odds, draw details and more

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Copa América is coming. Coming to the United States in 2024. And coming into focus.

Organizers on Monday announced the 14 U.S. stadiums that will host the tournament next summer. On Thursday, at a glitzy draw in Miami (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1), participating teams will learn their groups and opponents. And finally, after years of uncertainty and months of anticipation, the 2026 World Cup’s warm-up act will be upon us.

It will officially begin June 20, 2024, in Atlanta. And it should be quite a show. All of South American soccer will descend on 14 U.S. cities. Latin American diasporas will explode in all their vibrancy. And yes, Lionel Messi will participate. So will Mexico and the U.S. men’s national team, popularly dubbed the USMNT.

It will be a massive spectacle and a crucial test, a celebration and a 2026 prelude. Here’s what you need to know about the 2024 Copa América, beginning with the basics: Who’s in it? And, uh, what is it?

What is Copa América?

Copa América is the South American men’s soccer championship, a century-old competition among the continent’s 10 national teams (and often others).

Its cadence, size and format have varied over the years. Now, supposedly, it’s a quadrennial tournament much like the Euros, played in even-year summers in between men’s World Cups — though the last four editions were in 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2021.

And it typically features 12 teams, with two invited from other continents. But in 2024, it will temporarily expand to 16.

Which countries are in the 2024 Copa América?

The 10 members of CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela — will be joined by six teams from CONCACAF, the confederation comprising North America, Central America and the Caribbean (plus Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana).

The U.S., Mexico, Jamaica and Panama have already nabbed four of those six spots. The last two will be filled in March by the winners of two qualifying playoffs: Canada versus Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica versus Honduras.

Soccer Football - Copa América  2021 - Final - Brazil v Argentina - Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - July 10, 2021 Argentina's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa America with the trophy REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

Argentina’s Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the 2021 Copa América with the trophy. (Reuters/Amanda Perobelli)

When is the draw? And how will it work?

The draw is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami.

And it’s seeded in a way that benefits the host country’s most popular team, Mexico. The 16 squads (14 known, two TBD) have been divided into four pots, mostly based on the FIFA rankings. But organizers reserved one spot in Pot A for the reigning CONCACAF Gold Cup champion (Mexico), along with the reigning Copa América champ (Argentina).

So Mexico, not the higher-ranked Uruguay, will join Argentina, Brazil and the U.S. as top seeds. The full pots are:

Pot 1: Argentina, Mexico, U.S., Brazil
Pot 2: Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Pot 3: Chile, Panama, Venezuela, Paraguay
Pot 4: Jamaica, Bolivia, Canada/Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica/Honduras

Argentina has already been placed in Group A; Mexico in B; the U.S. in C; and Brazil in D.

Each group then gets one team from each pot, to ensure balance. The first name drawn from Pot 2 goes in Group A with Argentina. The second goes in Group B with Mexico, and so on. The only caveat is that each group must have at least one CONCACAF team, but no more than two.

And there’s one interesting wrinkle that deviates from World Cup draws: The Pot 2 team gets Position 2, the Pot 3 team Position 3, and the Pot 4 team Position 4 in each group. That’s relevant because positions dictate the order of matches. The top seed plays the bottom seed in its opener; the Pot 3 team in its second match; and the Pot 2 team in its group finale. (The full draw procedure is laid out by CONMEBOL here, in Spanish.)

When is the 2024 Copa América?

The games begin June 20, with Argentina versus a minnow at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The USMNT’s first game is June 23 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The group stage runs through July 2. The quarterfinals are July 4-6. The semifinals are July 9 and 10. The final is July 14.

Kickoff times haven’t yet been announced, but all dates and locations have been, though they are subject to change.

Where are the key Copa América games?

The final will be at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The semifinals will be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The quarterfinals are in Arlington; NRG Stadium in Houston; State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; and Allegiant Stadium in greater Las Vegas.

Where will the USMNT, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil play?

Organizers designed the schedule to bring big names to big stadiums.

The USMNT’s three group stage matches are at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, aka JerryWorld, Atlanta’s 71,000-seat multi-purpose stadium, and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Mexico opens in Houston, then visits SoFi Stadium in greater Los Angeles, before a group decider in Arizona.

Argentina will go from Atlanta to MetLife to Miami. Brazil goes SoFi to Vegas to Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area.

The other three venues not yet mentioned are MLS stadiums: Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, and Exploria Stadium in Orlando. They’ll be used mostly for matchups between less marketable teams from Pots 3 and 4.

Why are there so many host cities?

The spread of 32 matches across 14 venues raised some eyebrows. The 2026 World Cup, by comparison, will use 16 venues for 104 games, with some U.S. cities expecting 7-8 apiece. No single Copa América city, on the other hand, will get more than three matches. The most expensive stadium in the world, SoFi in Southern California, will get only two.

There are two main reasons for all of that: 1) Organizers wanted to share the love as widely as possible; and 2) they were constrained by scheduling conflicts. Take SoFi, for example: It will host concerts June 14 and 15, July 6, July 10 and July 13. Or take AT&T Stadium in Arlington: It had to work around the MLB All-Star Game, which will be held across the street July 16, two days after the Copa América final.

Why is the 2024 Copa América in the U.S. in the first place?

Copa América has been played 47 times since 1916, and naturally, 46 of the 47 editions have been staged in South America. Hosting rights are shared on a rotating basis, with each of the 10 CONMEBOL members hosting once from 1989-2011, for example.

It was Ecuador’s turn in 2024. But Ecuador declined a nomination. Brazil offered to deputize; but Brazil had also hosted the last two editions, once in a pinch during COVID. So CONMEBOL entered 2023 without an agreed-upon host.

CONCACAF and its two most powerful members, meanwhile, the U.S. and Mexico, were searching for meaningful games in 2024 and 2025 as they prepare to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada. So the U.S. offered up its lucrative market, its state-of-the-art NFL stadiums, and its ever-growing population of fútbol-mad Latinos. CONCACAF offered to provide operational support. CONMEBOL, in return, agreed to give CONCACAF six berths in an expanded 16-team field, and bring its top property back to the States.

How is this different from the 2016 Copa América Centenario?

The only other Copa América outside South America was the 2016 centenary tournament, also held in the U.S. That, however, was a one-off fiesta organized and monetized by the U.S. Soccer Federation, to the tune of some $80 million in profit.

This 2024 tournament, on the contrary, is a regularly scheduled Copa América that will be run by CONMEBOL and hosted, technically, by CONCACAF. So U.S. Soccer won’t make nearly as much money; it will simply participate. CONMEBOL will get most or all broadcast and sponsorship revenue. CONCACAF will likely glean some ticketing revenue. And local entities will get small shares or adjacent revenue-generation opportunities to make hosting worth their while.

Can the USMNT win the 2024 Copa América?

It can, sure. On home soil, the USMNT could, potentially, enter as the third-favorite. But to actually lift the trophy, it would probably have to beat Brazil in a quarterfinal or semifinal, then Argentina in the final.

Related: The U.S. A-team still hasn’t beaten an Elo top-25 opponent outside CONCACAF since head coach Gregg Berhalter took charge in late 2018. (In 10 tries, its record is 0-6-4. Against truly elite competition, it has drawn England and lost to the Netherlands and Germany.)

HOUSTON, USA - JUNE 21: Christian Pulisic (R) of USA struggle for the ball against Lionel Messi (L) of Argentina during the 2016 Copa America Centenario Semi-final match between USA vs Argentina at the NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, USA.  (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Christian Pulisic of USA struggles for the ball against Lionel Messi of Argentina during the 2016 Copa América Centenario semi-final match at NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston. (Getty Images)

How have the U.S. and Mexico done at past Copa Américas?

The U.S. has played at four Copa Américas. It has twice finished fourth — in 1995 and 2016 — and twice failed to win a game.

Mexico appeared at every Copa América from 1993-2016, and twice reached the final. In fact, from 1993-2007, it made five of seven semifinals.

But no invitee from outside South America has ever won the tournament. And since 2011, only two of 12 have even reached the knockout rounds. (The two were Mexico and the U.S. at the 2016 Centenario.)

Who won the last Copa América?

Argentina did, by beating Brazil 1-0 in the 2021 final at an empty Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. At the final whistle, Messi fell to his knees, overcome by emotion, as teammates rushed toward him and embraced him.

It was Messi’s first major international trophy. And in many ways, it liberated him. It relieved some (though not all) of the pressure, doubt and hate that had hounded him for over a decade with the national team. Messi was a changed person in Qatar, where he became the undisputed GOAT, and his 2021 Copa América title was a big reason for that.

Who are the betting favorites in 2024?

Argentina and Brazil, the last two Copa América champions, are joint-favorites in 2024, +175 at BetMGM.

The other contenders, per BetMGM odds, are:

3. Uruguay (+600)
4. Colombia (+1000)
T-5. U.S. (+1400)
T-5. Mexico (+1400)
7. Chile (+1600)
8. Ecuador (+2500)

Will teams bring their best players?

Yes. Definitely. No exceptions. For all involved, from Argentina to North America, this is the most significant competition between now and the 2026 World Cup. It dwarfs the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup. And it’s especially significant for the U.S., Canada and Mexico, because they’ve already qualified automatically for 2026 as the co-hosts.

So Messi will play as long as he’s healthy. Christian Pulisic and the USMNT A-team will be there. The only question marks will revolve around injuries — such as Neymar’s. The Brazilian star had ACL surgery in early November, and will be racing against the clock to recover.

Could there be more joint CONMEBOL-CONCACAF Copa Américas in the future?

In arranging this 2024 Copa América, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF also announced a “strategic collaboration agreement.” CONCACAF invited South American teams to its inaugural women’s Gold Cup in February. And the two confederations launched a new competition between the two best clubs from each continent.

None of that means that Copa América will come back to North America anytime soon after 2024. And it definitely doesn’t mean that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF will someday merge. But could there be more 16-team Copas? Could the USMNT become a more frequent participant? Certainly.

And could the U.S. enter the hosting rotation?

Probably not officially. But Copa América is constantly evolving. CONMEBOL is always looking to boost its revenues. And the U.S., with an economy several times the size of all of South America combined, is almost always ready and waiting — as long as all involved benefit in some form or fashion — should CONMEBOL ever find itself scrambling for another deputy host.

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