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Copa America: 10 reasons to get excited as Brazil target home success


This summer’s Copa America has been gripped by turmoil and was even left without a home, but now there is finally football to look forward to.

Argentina and Colombia were initially meant to be joint hosts for the showpiece, but both eventually saw it taken away from them, with social unrest and concerns over coronavirus having sparked sheer chaos. Now though, Brazil have stepped in to stage the tournament instead – despite the worsening state of the pandemic there, too.

Despite the off-field worries there could be a fantastic tournament ahead, and Sportsmail has taken a closer look at 10 reasons to be excited before it gets underway.

This summer's Copa America will now take place in Brazil, but it has been gripped in turmoil

This summer’s Copa America will now take place in Brazil, but it has been gripped in turmoil

Messi’s last chance of glory with Argentina?

It has been a testing season at club level for Lionel Messi, and the eyes of the world will remain firmly fixated on him as he now tries to win silverware with his country. 

He will turn 34 during the Copa America, and this year’s event may very well prove to be his final shot at ruling South America.

A major gong with his country is the one accolade that has evaded him throughout his career, and Messi will hope to put those demons to rest. 

Despite reaching four finals with Argentina, at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016 and the 2014 World Cup, Messi’s trophy cabinet away from Barcelona is bare.   

By the time the next edition of this tournament comes around, Messi will be 37 and time will truly not be his friend then.

This tournament, plus the World Cup in Qatar next year, look like his final chances of securing his legacy.

Lionel Messi will finally hope to win his first ever trophy with Argentina at this year's showpiece

Lionel Messi will finally hope to win his first ever trophy with Argentina at this year’s showpiece

Brazil looking to defend their crown

For a while Brazil’s players looked set to abandon this year’s Copa America entirely in protest against the decision to move it to their country. 

It is now believed they will take part as normal, however, and therefore their quest to retain their title will begin against Venezuela on Sunday.

They clinched the trophy in 2019 after beating Peru in the final in front of almost 70,000 spectators at the Maracana.

This year, the empty backdrop will be a stark contrast if they make it that far again – and the absence of fans has the ability to blow the tournament wide open. 

Brazil are the favourites, though, and will hope to add some much needed colour and sparkle to an event rightly dogged by a fierce backlash so far. 

Brazil are the Copa America holders and will look to keep the trophy on home soil this summer

Brazil are the Copa America holders and will look to keep the trophy on home soil this summer

It’s live and free on the BBC

There may be no supporters in the grounds this year, but there is still certain to be a watching audience of millions on TV. 

This is because the BBC are broadcasting every single fixture from the tournament, across iPlayer, and the BBC Sport website and app.

Selected matches will also be shown via the red button. 

Recent editions of the Copa America have been shown on Premier Sports, but the BBC will instead show the 28 games completely free of charge.  

This year's memorable Copa America clashes will be broadcast free of charge via the BBC

This year’s memorable Copa America clashes will be broadcast free of charge via the BBC

Aguero can turn tears into trophies

His club career may be laden with many glistening trophies, but Aguero’s haul for Argentina is just as bare as Messi’s. 

He has lost the World Cup final and two Copa America finals, to add to the pain of coming off second best in Manchester City’s Champions League defeat by Chelsea. 

Both the last-gasp slip-ups in this tournament came against Chile, but now he has the chance to turn his gloom into a success story.

Despite being hit by injuries last season, Aguero was named in Argentina’s squad, and he will look to hit the ground running before joining up with Barcelona.

And having come so close to the top prize in Porto, he will also want to avoid another huge setback under the spotlight.

Sergio Aguero has also never won a trophy with Argentina and will want to end that hoodoo

Sergio Aguero has also never won a trophy with Argentina and will want to end that hoodoo

International football returning to Rio

Rio de Janeiro memorably hosted several World Cup fixtures in 2014, and is home to the iconic and sprawling Maracana.

It was also the venue for many vibrant parties during that tournament – with everyone who travelled from around the world made to feel right at home.

The deep-rooted passion for football in the city has been well-publicised, and this affection will not lessen in the absence of typically boisterous crowds.  

On July 10, the Maracana will host the final, depending on the tournament playing out safely and to schedule.

The ground will also stage the opening match, which will see Brazil face Venezuela, to kick off this year’s edition.      

Rio de Janeiro (pictured) and its passion for football will play host to some Copa America ties

Rio de Janeiro (pictured) and its passion for football will play host to some Copa America ties

Colombia on the hunt for second ever win

They are no longer hosting this year’s Copa America, but Colombia will hope to push through the chaos and become unlikely winners.  

A bizarre storm has engulfed James Rodriguez – who was left out of the squad despite seemingly being fit enough to play a part.

The preparation has been far from ideal, then, and their recent history shows that their last trophy lift came back in 2001, when they beat Mexico in the final. 

The sole win since 1916 points towards a team underachieving, and they will be determined to end his barren run.

Having finished third in 2016, the first time the tournament was held outside of South America, Colombia have shown they can go far if everything comes together. 

Colombia will hope to push through the chaos and become unlikely winners of the tournament

Colombia will hope to push through the chaos and become unlikely winners of the tournament

Guerrero targets all-time record at 37

Former Bayern Munich ace Paolo Guerrero is fully aware that this may be his last Copa America adventure, and he has a lofty goal in his sights.

He has not played for Peru since 2019, but remains their all-time top scorer with 38 goals in 102 appearances.

Guerrero managed to return to action for his club, Internacional, last month and will hope to be handed an opportunity to increase his tally on the international stage.

This is because his 14 goals in the Copa America leave him three behind matching the record feats of Norberto Mendez and Zizinho, and four away from usurping them. 

Those two players netted their efforts during the 1940s and 50s, and Guerrero is the only name currently in action who can finally, after all these years, better them. 

Peru veteran Paolo Guerrero will hope to become the Copa America's all-time record scorer

Peru veteran Paolo Guerrero will hope to become the Copa America’s all-time record scorer

Uruguay gunning to end decade of hurt

They may be the most successful team in Copa America history, having won it 15 times, but Uruguay are not tipped by many to lift the trophy again this year.  

It’s a very strong squad on paper – with Edinson Cavani, Jose Gimenez, Federico Valverde and Luis Suarez the standout names – and they look as though they could go all the way. 

It would be fair to say that they haven’t performed as expected since 2011, however, with two quarter-final exits and one group stage knockout arriving after.   

Cavani will miss out on Uruguay’s clash with Venezuela, but he will hope to extend his fine scoring form at Manchester United into the tournament. 

As for the rest of the group, there is plenty of depth to choose from, and they will surely believe they can bring an end to their decade of dismay.

Luis Suarez will be hoping to inspire Uruguay to their first Copa America triumph since 2011

Luis Suarez will be hoping to inspire Uruguay to their first Copa America triumph since 2011

Hotly contested groups

This year’s Copa America is an increasingly difficult one to predict. There are two groups, both of which are made up of five teams.

Group A contains reigning champions and favourites Brazil, as well as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Group B features Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The two sets are filled to the brim with talent, and as a result there will be several nations harbouring hope of reaching the knockouts.

Four teams from both groups will progress to the next round, with the fifth-placed country eliminated at the very first hurdle. 

This year's trophy winner is incredibly difficult to predict with both groups filled with talent

This year’s trophy winner is incredibly difficult to predict with both groups filled with talent

Stubborn Paraguay look to spring a shock 

Paraguay were knocked out by Brazil at the quarter-final stage in 2019 but come into this tournament in a strong form.

They have enjoyed a fine start to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, and find themselves unbeaten in their last eight games.

A triumph for them at the Copa America is well overdue, shock or not, with their first title coming all the way back in 1979.

Bolivia await them first, and Paraguay will expect to make it out of Group B at the very least, despite the quality of the nations they’ve been pitted against.

Football behind closed doors has thrown up plenty of surprises before, of course, and Paraguay lifting that coveted trophy may very well be up there with the best. 

Paraguay will hope to pull off a shock and come into the tournament in the midst of a good run

Paraguay will hope to pull off a shock and come into the tournament in the midst of a good run



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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