Copa America 2019: All you need to know ahead of the big kick-off
The 46th Copa America begins on Friday as hosts Brazil entertain Bolivia. Find out everything you need to know including fixtures, Golden Boot, how to watch, odds, squads and groups.
And with Qatar and Japan the invited guests, there is a different feel to this year's tournament, which promises to be an intriguing spectacle.
The Maracana Stadium will host the final of the 2019 Copa AmericaPA Sport
Where and when is it taking place?
The tournament runs from June 14 to July 7 with 26 matches played across three four-team groups and a knockout stage.
Brazil have won all the four previous occasions they have hosted the Copa America (in 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989) so they are understandably favourites to lift an eighth title.
The Maracana Stadium will host the final on July 7 - and fixtures will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Port Alegre and Salvador:
- Rio de Janeiro - Maracana
- Sao Paulo - Estadio do Murumbi
- Sao Paulo - Arena Corinthians
- Belo Horizonte - Estadio Mineirao
- Porto Alegre - Arena do Gremio
- Salvador - Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova
Chile were crowned Copa America champions in 2016Getty Images
The Groups - and how it works
The Selecao open the tournament on home soil against Bolivia - Peru and Venezuela are their other opponents in Group A, with the hosts aiming to plot a safe passage all the way through to the final at the Maracana in Rio.
In Group B, the two top seeds - Argentina and Colombia - face-off in the opening round, which is likely to determine who finishes top, with Paraguay and Qatar looking to cause an upset.
Luis Suarez's Uruguay are the most successful team in Copa America history with 15 titles - and Group C is comprised of Oscar Tabarez's team alongside Ecuador, Japan and Chile.
The top two from each group advance to the quarter-finals, alongside the two best third-placed teams based on: 1) Points 2) Goal difference 3) Goals scored 4) Drawing of lots
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
Group Fixtures (BST kick-off times)
Saturday 15 June
Brazil v Bolivia (Group A, 01:30), Venezuela v Peru (A, 20:00), Argentina v Colombia (B, 23:00)
Sunday 16 June
Paraguay v Qatar (B, 20:00), Uruguay v Ecuador (C, 23:00)
Tuesday 18 June
Bolivia v Peru (A, 22:30), Japan v Chile (C, 00:00)
Wednesday 19 June
Brazil v Venezuela (A, 01:30), Colombia v Qatar (B, 22:30)
Thursday 20 June
Argentina v Paraguay (B, 01:30)
Friday 21 June
Uruguay v Japan (C, 00:00)
Saturday 22 June
Bolivia v Venezuela (A, 20:00), Peru v Brazil (A, 20:00), Ecuador v Chile (C, 00:00)
Sunday 23 June
Colombia v Paraguay (B, 20:00), Qatar v Argentina (B, 20:00)
Tuesday 25 June
Chile v Uruguay (C, 00:00), Ecuador v Japan (C, 00:00)
Who is most likely to challenge Brazil?
An ankle injury means Neymar misses out on taking partEurosport
An expectant host nation is targeting victory in the South American showpiece event for the first time since 2007.
But while Brazil have been victorious in every tournament they have hosted, they have only won the Copa America eight times in their history.
Compare that to the 14 won by their great rivals Argentina and it proves their pedigree is not quite what many would expect. They have struggled in recent years and have not lifted the trophy since 1993.
For this group of Uruguay players, this has been viewed by some as a last chance saloon. The winners of Group C will face one of the third-placed teams before a potential semi-final date with Argentina in Porto Alegre.
Meanwhile, Chile have been the team to beat in recent years, following up their maiden Copa America title in 2015 by defending the crown in its centenary year.
Who else is competing?
Shinji Okazaki is part of Japan's Copa America squadGetty Images
Since 1993, CONMEBOL – the governing body of South American football – has invited two teams from different associations to boost numbers in the finals.
Japan return for a second time having been knocked out of the group stage in 1999, while Qatar will make their debut this year.
Mexico have been invited to all previous editions since 1993 but are not participating this time around, while Australia are scheduled to enter for the first time at the 2020 event.
Japan will hope to mark their maiden Copa appearance by upsetting Uruguay, Ecuador and holders Chile in Group C, while Qatar will take on Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay in Group B.
Can Messi finally lead Argentina to glory?
Argentina’s Lionel Messi will be aiming to lift the Copa America trophy for the first timePA Sport
With Neymar absent for Brazil after suffering an ankle injury in a friendly against Qatar, the tournament has been denied his highly-anticipated showdown with Messi.
The PSG forward would no doubt have courted plenty of attention considering his status in his homeland and the fact he is facing serious rape allegations off the pitch.
Argentina captain Messi has famously never been able to replicate his sensational club form with Barcelona on the international scene.
The 31-year-old has more than 20 major honours in Spain but only holds an Olympic gold medal and an Under-20 World Cup win when it comes to his Argentina trophy collection.
Messi meanders past the Copa América trophy after picking up his loser's medalImago
Winning the world's oldest continental football competition is of course a big achievement in itself, but the champions will view coming out on top at the Maracana as a springboard ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
For Messi, even participating in Brazil this summer seemed a distant possibility when he opted to sit out Argentina's friendlies in the aftermath of Russia 2018.
After being knocked out at the round-of-16 stage by eventual winners France, caretaker-coach Lionel Scaloni has revamped the squad. Defensive issues remain while goalkeeper Sergio Romero was left out of the 23-man squad.
Only eight players remain from Argentina's World Cup squad, but the familiar front three of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria are capable of winning the tournament on their own.
Who else could win the Golden Boot?
Alexis Sanchez kisses the trophy after winning the championship in 2016Reuters
In the light of Neymar’s absence, Everton forward Richarlison will be looking to seize his moment to shine. The 22-year-old has scored five goals from his 10 senior caps and has been in great form for his country over the last season.
Where to watch?
Golden Boot winner - selected odds:
Lionel Messi – 3/1
Gabriel Jesus – 6/1
Luis Suarez – 15/2
Edinson Cavani – 8/1
Roberto Firmino – 9/1
Lautaro Martinez – 10/1
Sergio Aguero – 10/1
Duvan Zapata – 14/1
Richarlison – 14/1
Philippe Coutinho – 16/1
James Rodriguez – 16/1
Leo Messi, James Rodriguez, Luis Suarez, Paolo Guerrero are all gunning for the Golden BootGetty Images
Paolo Guerrero – 16/1
Radamel Falcao – 16/1
Alexis Sanchez – 18/1
Paolo Dybala – 18/1
Angel Di Maria – 22/1
Salomon Rondon – 22/1
Brazil are favourites to win the Copa America on home soilGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio
Midfielders: Casemiro, Fernandinho, Arthur, Allan, Lucas Paqueta, Philippe Coutinho, Willian
Forwards: Everton, David Neres, Richarlison, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus
Bolivian coach Eduardo VillegasGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Carlos Lampe, Ruben Cordano, Javier Rojas
Defenders: Marvin Bejarano, Diego Bejarano, Luis Haquin, Adrian Jusino, Mario Cuellar, Saul Torres, Roberto Fernandez, Jose Mario Carrasco
Forwards: Marcelo Martins, Gilbert Alvarez, Rodrigo Ramallo, Leonardo Vaca
Venezuela's hopes rest on talisman Salomon RondonGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Wuilker Farinez, Rafael Romo, Joel Graterol
Forwards: Salomon Rondon, Josef Martinez, Fernando Aristeguieta
Paolo Guerrero will look to fire Peru to unexpected gloryGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese, Carlos Caceda, Patricio Alvarez
Defenders: Luis Advincula, Carlos Zambrano, Miguel Trauco, Aldo Corzo, Alexander Callens, Miguel Araujo, Anderson Santamaria, Luis Abram
Midfielders: Yoshimar Yotun, Christian Cueva, Edison Flores, Renato Tapia, Christofer Gonzales, Jesus Pretell, Paolo Hurtado
Forwards: Jefferson Farfan, Paolo Guerrero, Andre Carillo, Raul Ruidiaz, Andy Polo
Angel Di Maria is part of the Argentina squadGetty Images
Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcos Acuna, Nicolas Tagliafico, German Pezzella, Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Matias Suarez
James Rodriguez and Falcao train with ColombiaGetty Images
Defenders: Cristian Zapata, Santiago Arias, Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Cristian Borja, Stefan Medina, Jhon Lucumi
Forwards: Radamel Falcao, Luis Muriel, Roger Martinez, Duvan Zapata, Luis Diaz
Eduardo Berizzo is Paraguay head coachGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Antony Silva, Roberto Junior Fernandez, Alfredo Aguilar
Defenders: Gustavo Gomez, Ivan Piris, Bruno Valdez, Junior Alonso, Fabian Balbuena, Juan Escobar, Santiago Arzamendia, Ivan Torres
Midfielders: Oscar Romero, Richard Ortiz, Rodrigo Rojas, Miguel Almiron, Celso Ortiz, Matias Rojas
Qatar are taking part in this year's Copa AmericaGetty Images
Midfielders: Boualem Khoukhi, Karim Boudiaf, Ali Afif, Abdulaziz Hatim, Abdullah Abdul Salam
Forwards: Akram Afif, Hassan Al Haydos, Almoez Ali, Ahmed Al Aaeldin, Ahmed Moein, Abdulaziz Al Ansari
Uruguay are aiming for a 16th Copa America titleGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana
Defenders: Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez, Sebastian Coates, Martin Caceres, Marcelo Sarrachi
Midfielders: Giovanni Gonzalez, Diego Laxalt, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Nahitan Nandez, Federico Valverde, Nicolas Lodeiro, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Gaston Pereiro
Forward: Edinson Cavani, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Jonathan Rodriguez, Luis Suarez
Can Antonio Valencia rediscover his form for Ecuador?Getty Images
Goalkeepers: Alexander Dominguez, Pedro Ortiz, Maximo Banguera
Midfielders: Romario Ibarra, Renato Ibarra, Carlos Gruezo, Jefferson Intriago, Antonio Valencia, Ayrton Preciado, Jefferson Orejuela, Andres Chicaiza, Jhegson Mendez
Forwards: Carlos Garces, Angel Mena, Enner Valencia
Japan train ahead of their opening Copa America gameGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima, Ryosuke Kojima, Keisuke Osako
Defenders: Naomichi Ueda, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Tomoki Iwata, Ko Itakura, Daiki Sugioka, Teruki Hara, Daiki Suga, Yugo Tatsuta
Midfielders: Yuta Nakayama, Gaku Shibasaki, Shoya Nakajima, Takefusa Kubo, Tatsuya Ito, Koji Miyoshi, Kota Watanabe, Hiroki Abe, Taishi Matsumoto
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki, Daizen Maeda, Ayase Ueda
Arturo Vidal will look to inspire ChileGetty Images
Goalkeepers: Gabriel Arias, Brayan Cortes, Yerko Urra
Forwards: Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas, Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Nicolas Castillo, Junior Fernandes, Angelo Sagal
How can I watch?
The tournament will be broadcast live on Premier Sports 1 and 2 in the UK.
Sky and Virgin Media customers can also add the channels to their existing packages for £9.99 per month.