If you are a fan of South American football, in general, you are probably eagerly awaiting this year’s edition of the tournament. And you might be part of a crowd that decreases each year, at least this is what last year’s attendance numbers suggest.
Despite being one of the most popular sports in South America, the number of fans who were attracted by last year’s tournament was at a historic low. This, some say, denotes the fans’ decreasing interest in football, in general, or perhaps the decreasing excitement about the sport as a whole.
Despite the disappointing turnout last year, though, there will be another edition of Copa América held this year – and it has a certain number of “firsts” attached to it as well.
Copa América has a history of over a century that had its share of turmoil, in the form of enmities, hiatuses, and drama. The frequency of the event has changed several times over the years – they were periods in which it was an annual event, then it transitioned to being held every two years, then, every three years. In 2016, when the tournament turned 100, a special edition was held – the Copa América Centenario was hosted by the United States that year. Last year’s edition was hosted by Brazil.
This year’s Copa América edition comes with a major change: the tournament transitions from being held every three years to every four years, just like its European equivalent, the UEFA European Football Championship, in even-numbered years, two years after the FIFA World Cup. This means that we’ll have to wait for the next edition until 2024.
Argentina has hosted the Copa América the most times in its history: since the inaugural edition in 1916, the country was home to the competition 9 times. This year, Argentina will once again host the tournament but with a twist: for the first time since the competition relinquished the “home-away” format in the 1980s, there will be two hosts.
Argentina will share the honour of hosting the 2020 Copa América with Colombia. This division was introduced with the goal of bringing the matches closer to all the fans across the continent. The matches will take place in five Argentinian cities, and four in Colombia. Argentina will host the opening match of the competition this year, and Colombia will host the final. Each team will play at least five matches in the nearest host country.
Australia invited for the first time
There are only 10 teams in CONMEBOL, so the federation invites two teams from other confederations for each edition of the tournament. This year, it invited the two last champions of the Asian Cup – Qatar, the team that participated in last year’s edition of the tournament, and Australia, for the first time in Copa América.
The two teams will be assigned to random groups in the North Zone and South Zone. Last year, the team of Qatar was eliminated in the Group Stage after no wins, one draw, and two losses suffered against Colombia, Argentina, and Paraguay