Copa America Centenario 2016

Copa America Centenario 2016

The Copa America tournament is traditionally held every 4 years, with the last one taking place in 2015, but will be held again this year to mark its 100th anniversary, or Centennial, and will have an expanded field of 16 teams instead of the usual 12.  Typically, the winner of the tournament would receive an invitation to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, but in 2015, Chile already qualified by winning the Copa America.

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Chile celebrates its victory over Argentina in the 2015 Copa America. The game ended a shootout after a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation/OT. Image source: skysports.com

This year, for the first time in its 100 year history, the Copa America Centenario will be hosted in the United States instead of South America.  10 venues with a minimum capacity of 50,000 were selected to host the games in this year’s tournament, CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Gillette Stadium near Boston, MetLife Stadium in the NY/NJ area, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Levi’s Stadium near San Francisco, Camping World Stadium in Orlando, NRG Stadium in Houston, Rose Bowl Stadium near Los Angeles, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ and Soldier Field.

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Map of the venues hosting the tournament games from June 3-26. Image source: mundonets.com

16 teams were chosen to participate in the tournament, all 10 teams in the CONMEBOL region will be represented: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay & Venezuela.  The remaining 6 teams will be from the CONCACAF region:  United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti & Panama.  United States & Mexico automatically qualified, Costa Rica qualified by winning the 2014 Copa Centroamericana, Jamaica won the 2014 Caribbean Cup, while Haiti & Panama each won in the Copa America Centenario qualifying play-off.  Out of the 16 teams participating, Uruguay has the most wins in the tournament’s history with 15, followed closely by Argentina with 14 & Brazil with 8.

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The trophy awaits the winner of the Copa America Centenario 2016 on it’s 100 year anniversary. Image source: si.com

This tournament should be an exciting one to watch, especially when you see the star power on each team & countries they represent.  Several of the players are on teams in the UEFA Champions League, Barclay’s Premier League or other elite soccer clubs across the world.  In the group stage, Soldier Field will host matches featuring Jamaica vs Venezuela on June 5, USA vs Costa Rica on June 7, and Argentina vs Panama on June 10.  Then on June 22, a semifinal match (Match 30) between the winner of Match 26 & Match 28.  The winning team moves on to face off at MetLife Stadium against the victor of Match 29 on June 26.  Great seats for all matches can be purchased here.

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Here’s the breakdown of schedule & groups for the 2016 Copa America Centenario beginning June 3. Image source: soccer365.com

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