The 2011 Copa América is taking place in Argentina and so in this main report we take a look back at the history of this competition. You can listen to the report on the Copa America by clicking on the file below while there is also a transcript and explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
Listen here Copa América History.mp3
The history of this competition dates back to 1916 when four teams competed for the campeonato sudamericano de selecciones (The South American Championship) with Uruguay running out victors. Since then the competition has changed formats on numerous occasions; originally it was held every year but subsequently increased to two, then three and finally (since 2007) every four years.
Uruguay repeated their triumph in 1917 and have gone on to win the title 14 times in total – a record also held by near neighbours Argentina, however it should be noted that neither of these teams has won in recent times. The team with the most impressive recent record is Brazil who have won four of the past five competitions and eight in total. Four other countries have managed to win the tournament: Paraguay and Peru on two occasions while Colombia and Bolivia have one victory each. The three teams to have never won this continental championship are Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela who have never even reached the last four.
After a break of 8 years the competition resumed in 1975 complete with name change: the Copa América and since then it has grown in popularity. The number of teams taking part has also grown with invitations sent out to many countries from around the world. Not all of the invitees, however, have accepted (Spain turned down the chance of participating in the 2011 version), though representatives from the CONCACAF region have consistently taken part: Costa Rica, Honduras, the United States and Mexico have all done so while Japan have also participated – in the Paraguayan tournament of 1999.
running out victors: Winning the competition
changed formats : Changed in the way that the competition is run or organised
repeated their triumph: Won again
resumed : Started up again
representatives: Here this means the teams
CONCACAF region: The North and Central American football region