The South American equivalent of the European Championships, it was first held in Argentina back
in 1916, under the guise of the Campeonato Sudamericano de Seleciones (the South American
Championship). The world's oldest international football competition, it took it's present name
of the Copa America back in 1975.
The tournament is organised by the South American Football Confederation (aka CONMEBOL) and all 10 of it's member countries take part (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela). Since 1993 two other non-CONMEBOL nations have been invited to take part (for example Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Japan).
In 1984 CONMEMBOL came up with a fair hosting system - starting with Argentina in 1987 it decided to take the tournament on the road so that each member country would take it in turns to host the event. The 2007 championship in Venezuela meant that all 10 members had hosted the tournament once since 1987. Previous to this, between 1975 and 1983 the tournament suffered from a decline in interest and was played out using home and away legs.
The tournament used to be held every other year, but the confederation decided that as from 2007 it will take place every 4 years to try and align it with the format of the other 2 great national team championships, the World Cup and the European Championships. One of the main problems that the Copa America suffers from is that many now consider the South American World Cup qualification league as the de facto competition for the continent, and the tournament has been blighted in recent years by withdrawals of key players and criticism that it's not taken as seriously as the European nations take their championships. A great recent example is Ronaldinho and Kaka's withdrawal from the 2007 Brazilian squad, citing tiredness. Can anyone really imagine the likes of Gattuso, Klose, Henry, Rooney or Ronaldo doing that, or their national federations letting them ? Obviously, the big European teams and their managers are also to blame, often requesting or suggesting such withdrawals.
|2004||Brazil||Argentina||2:2 (4:2 pens)||Peru|
|1995||Uruguay||Brazil||1:1 (5:3 pens)||Uruguay|
|1983||Uruguay||Brazil||3:1 (2:0 1:1)||n/a|
|1979||Paraguay||Chile||3:1 (3:0 0:1 0:0)||n/a|
|1975||Peru||Colombia||3:1 (0:1 2:0 1:0)||n/a|
Most Successful Nations
Argentina and Uruguay are the tournament's kings, way ahead, surprisingly, of Brazil, even though they have won 3 of the last 4 tournaments.
|14||Argentina||1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1991, 1993|
|14||Uruguay||1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995|
|8||Brazil||1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007|
Always the Bridesmaid...
The list of countries who've finished runners up the most times...
|12||Argentina||1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1959, 1967, 2004, 2007|
|11||Brazil||1921, 1925, 1937, 1945, 1946, 1953, 1957, 1959, 1983, 1991, 1995|
|6||Uruguay||1919, 1927, 1939, 1941, 1989, 1999|
|5||Paraguay||1922, 1929, 1947, 1949, 1963|
|4||Chile||1955, 1956, 1979, 1987|
Who's banged the most goals in over the years since the South American Championship became the Copa America in 1975...
|Year||Top Scorer||Country||Num of Goals|