Argentina was supposed to host this year’s edition, but with the increase in cases of corona, the tournament was moved to Brazil to organize it for the second time in a row, and kicks off on Sunday.
The series of events that rocked the Copa America this year, dealt many blows to the tournament
Argentina won their 14th and last title in 1993, when Diego Simeone was leading the midfield, and Gabriel Batistuta was the team’s top scorer. Since then, Argentina have reached the final 4 times, all since 2004, but failed to lift the championship trophy, which is painful and unusual for a country that is prominent in football, and has many great players including Lionel Messi.
Last week, Messi said winning the Copa America was “always our dream. Whatever the competition, we always want to win something with the national team.” “The truth is that the players are very excited, and maybe the older ones are more excited,” he stressed.
Messi will celebrate his 34th birthday, on June 24, so this may be his last chance to win any title with the national team, after winning many titles with Barcelona. Moving the tournament to Brazil will make things more difficult for Argentina, but it can also give them more incentive.
Argentina lost 0-2 to Brazil in the Copa America semi-final in 2019, in a controversial match at the refereeing level. The decisions were against her, and she will be looking to grab an opportunity to write a successful chapter in her history, and perhaps revenge, even though she may deny it. Argentina fell into the most difficult group, as it plays alongside Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, but 4 teams will qualify for the quarter-finals.
“Football is very competitive and difficult, to the point where one ball and one refereeing error can knock you out of the tournament and we know that,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said. And he noted, “Even with the video assistant referee technology, which is supposed to achieve justice, you can lose the championship even if you are completely superior to your opponent.” He added, “In the end, eligibility does not mean anything, only the winner is recognized. Yes, we will be among the candidates and we will fight to the end.”
Scaloni has built a strong team, and players such as Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain, Juan Foyth of Villarreal, and Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan, are participating in the tournament after a great season with their clubs.
Scaloni injected new blood that shone with Argentina, which maintained its unbeaten record in the first 6 matches of the World Cup qualifiers, and seems close to qualifying for Qatar 2022. Despite everything, attention will once again turn to Messi, and the only question mark hanging in his unsung career Unquestionable.
Over the years, sporting events have been canceled or postponed due to a myriad of complications, including wars, economic woes and political boycotts, but the chain of events that has rocked this year’s Copa America soccer tournament dealt several blows to the tournament. The oldest international soccer tournament in the world means a lot to South American players such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
The tournament’s difficulties began with the Corona virus pandemic, and the 2020 edition was postponed to the current year. The one-year postponement forced Australia and Qatar, the two participants with a wild card, to withdraw due to conflicting dates, so that the tournament would consist of two groups, each of 5 instead of 6 teams.
Messi will celebrate his 34th birthday, on June 24, so this may be his last chance to win any title with the national team, after winning many titles with Barcelona
Instead of returning to the old system, CONMEBOL insisted that the top four teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, which means that only two of the ten teams will be eliminated after the first round. The Confederation decided to follow the European model in organizing in recent years, and this year’s tournament was supposed to be the first jointly organized between Colombia and Argentina.
In May, less than a month before the start of the competitions, Colombia was excluded from the organization due to the local unrest in the country, and a little later Argentina withdrew from the organization due to the increase in the number of people infected with Corona. CONMEBOL resorted to Brazil to save the situation. This year’s edition of the tournament will be completely different from what it should have been.