After a period of controversy over its fate, the 47th edition of the Copa America will kick off on Sunday, taking place in Brazil for the second time in a row.
The South America tournament will last until 10 July, and was supposed to be held last year. As with so many other major sporting tournaments worldwide, the Copa America was instead postponed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It was also set to be hosted by Colombia and Argentina, but the former withdrew due to internal conflicts and revolutions, so that the South American Confederation decided to transfer the tournament to Argentina. A few days after the announcement, Argentina also withdrew from hosting the tournament, and it was officially transferred to Brazil.
The 10 teams have been divided into two groups, with the top four teams from each group competing to reach the quarter-final matches. The first group includes Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, whilst the second group includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
The matches will be held in Brasilia, Goiania, Cuiaba, and Rio de Janeiro, while the final will be played at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium.
Tournament hosts and defending champions Brazil will launch the tournament at 11 pm on Sunday in a confrontation that may be easy for the team, given the difference in capabilities.
The past few hours, however, have witnessed a major crisis after the Brazilian players refused to participate in the tournament. They eventually gave in and agreed to play, due to the insistence of the Brazilian authorities who said the tournament was going ahead, and the team has now decided to participate in the Copa America.
Brazilian fans are greatly reliant on captain and star player Neymar da Silva, in addition to a battalion of other brilliant stars playing in Europe, such as Casemiro, Alisson Becker, Firmino, and Jesus.
Fans hope that such a star array of players will lead the team to the podium for the second consecutive time. Should the team win, it will be their tenth victory in the Copa America tournament.
On the other hand, Argentina and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is looking for glory at the championship, and is hoping to lead his team to the championship title. Should Argentina win, they will do so for the 14th time.
The Argentine team has not won the championship since 1993, and is set to begin its war path on the way to the final against nemesis, Chile, in a very strong match on Monday.
On the other hand, Uruguay, the record holder with 15 Copa America title wins, and led by veteran coach Oscar Tabarez, plans to regain a title it has not won since 2011. The team comes armed with a battalion of stars, most notably Luis Suarez, who won the Spanish La Liga title with Atletico Madrid, and Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani.