2015 Copa America
The 2015 Copa America kicked off at the weekend when hosts Chile defeated Ecuador 2-0 in the opening game of the 44th version of the tournament. The first competition took place 99 years ago in 1916 in Argentina when four teams Chile, Brazil, Uruguay as well as the hosts battled for the inaugural crown. Uruguay won that one and then retained their title the following year. Indeed, they hold the record of most wins in this competition – 15 – after they won the Copa last time out in 2011. Argentina, who have won 14 titles, are favourites to lift the crown this year though they have not won this competition for 22 years. Since then, their fierce rivals Brazil have won four Copa America titles though they still only hold 8 in total. Paraguay and Peru have won the competition twice, while Bolivia and Colombia have one victory apiece. Surprisingly, despite having played in more games than any side apart from the ‘big three‘, Chile have never won the tournament and will be hoping to break their duck this time around.
Of course, there are only ten countries in the CONMEBOL section of South America so in recent times two extra countries from outside the region have usually been invited to take part. This year Jamaica, from the CONCACAF region, make their debut in the tournament and they’ll be joined by Mexico. Other guest sides that have played in recent years are the USA, Honduras, Costa Rica and Japan who played way back in 1999.
Now Argentina, along with Brazil, are joint favourites for the crown but home advantage could prove to be vital for Chile. Dark horses? Well, you can never write off Uruguay even though they will be without star striker Luis Suarez, while Colombia will be there or thereabouts. However, I am going for a Brazil-Argentina final on July 4th with Argentina’s stronger firepower to see them through.
inaugural crown: The first ever tournament
retained their title: Won the competition again the next time
last time out: The last time
to lift the crown: To win the tournament
big three: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay
to break their duck: To win for the first time
CONMEBOL: The South American football organisation
make their debut: Play for the first time
write off: To suggest that the team cannot win
will be there or thereabouts: Have a chance
to see them through: They should win