Copa América 2024: Messi’s Last Dance, the U.S. as Host, and Key Storylines to Watch

Copa América is the oldest international soccer tournament in the world, featuring teams from South America’s CONMEBOL region and occasionally from CONCACAF. Held every few years, it showcases top football talent and fierce regional rivalries.

The prestigious Copa América, the oldest international soccer tournament, kicks off this Thursday night, with Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosting the opening match. This edition promises to be memorable, featuring some of the best talents in world soccer and held across 14 cities in the United States.

Lionel Messi, alongside reigning champions Argentina, will commence their title defense against Canada in what might be the legendary forward’s final international competition.

This 48th Copa América includes teams from both the South American CONMEBOL and the North and Central American CONCACAF regions, bringing together a diverse array of soccer cultures. The tournament’s expanded format poses a fascinating question: can CONCACAF teams like Mexico and the U.S. compete with the giants of South American soccer, or will Messi and Argentina continue their dominance and add another major trophy to their collection?

Messi’s Potential Farewell to International Play

As Lionel Messi, the Argentina and Inter Miami FC star, approaches the twilight of his illustrious career, this tournament could mark his last on the international stage. Despite his age in soccer terms, Messi remains one of the top players globally, leading his team as favorites to win.

“Even though Messi is aging in a soccer sense, he’s still among the world’s elite. He demonstrated this in 2022 with Argentina’s World Cup victory and previously by winning the Copa América,” says Jon Arnold, a soccer journalist who writes the newsletter “Getting CONCACAFed” and will be covering this year’s event.

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s High Stakes

The U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) faces significant pressure, particularly on Coach Gregg Berhalter, as they gear up for the 2026 World Cup, which the U.S. will co-host with Mexico and Canada.

“This tournament is a critical test for the USMNT and Coach Berhalter. If the team underperforms, it could lead to calls for a change in leadership,” Arnold notes. “While I don’t see the U.S. winning the Copa América, their ability to challenge teams like Argentina would be a significant step forward.”

Teams to Watch Beyond the Favorites

While Argentina leads the pack, several other teams are worth keeping an eye on. Arnold points to Uruguay, a small nation with a remarkable track record in international soccer. “Uruguay may be a small country, but they’ve consistently outperformed expectations on the global stage. They’ll face the U.S. in the group stage, and their likely matchups against Brazil or Colombia in the next round should be exciting,” he adds.

Invited CONCACAF teams like the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama are also expected to add a competitive edge to the tournament. “These teams have shown they can compete with South American powerhouses in recent matches, making for a more challenging and thrilling competition,” Arnold says.

Tournament Structure

The tournament features 16 teams divided into four groups, each playing three games in the group stage. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout rounds, leading to the final on July 14 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

  • Group A: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Peru
  • Group B: Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela
  • Group C: Bolivia, Panama, United States, Uruguay
  • Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay

How to Watch Copa América

Matches will be broadcast on FOX, FS1, and FS2, with Spanish-language coverage available on Univision, TUDN, and UniMas. Games will also be streamed on the Fox Sports app and in Spanish on Vix+, Univision’s streaming platform.

The Importance of Fitness and Sports

Incorporating fitness and sports into daily life is crucial for overall health and well-being. Engaging in physical activities like soccer not only boosts cardiovascular health and muscle strength but also enhances mental clarity and reduces stress. Moreover, sports foster community and teamwork, offering valuable life lessons and social connections.

As we celebrate events like Copa América, it’s a reminder of the unifying power of sports and their significant role in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. Emulating the dedication and discipline of athletes like Lionel Messi can inspire individuals of all ages to pursue their fitness goals and maintain a balanced, healthy life.

FAQs Copa América :

What is Copa América?

Copa América is a prestigious soccer tournament contested by national teams from South America’s CONMEBOL region. It dates back to 1916, making it the oldest international football competition.

How often is Copa América held?

Copa América is typically held every four years. However, the schedule can vary due to factors such as hosting arrangements and global football events.

Which countries participate in Copa América?

The tournament primarily features national teams from South American countries affiliated with CONMEBOL. Occasionally, teams from other regions, such as CONCACAF nations like Mexico and the United States, participate as invited guests.

Who has won the most Copa América titles?

Uruguay and Argentina are the most successful nations in Copa América history, each winning the tournament multiple times. Uruguay has won it 15 times, while Argentina has won 15 times as of the latest count.

Where will Copa América 2024 be held?

Copa América 2024 will be hosted across various cities in the United States. This edition is notable for its inclusion of teams not only from South America but also from the CONCACAF region, reflecting a broader competitive field.

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