The schedule for the 2024 Copa América that will be hosted in 13 United States cities next summer is set following Thursday’s star-studded draw in Miami.
Here’s how the four-nation groups shook out:
Defending Copa América and World Cup champion Argentina is the clear favorite not just to win the group but to repeat in what could be Lionel Messi’s final turn on the international stage. With the July 14 final in the GOAT’s new home of Miami, what a send-off that will be.
The other three teams in Group A — the Canadians and the Soca Warriors will play a single elimination playoff next March with the winner filling out the foursome — will vie for second place and a spot in the quarterfinals. Messi’s Albiceleste opens the tournament against either T&T or Canada June 20 in Atlanta.
Mexico’s national team is at its lowest point in recent memory, but El Tri will draw enormous partisan crowds to jam-packed NFL stadiums in each of its three first round matches, which won’t hurt their chances of precessing as the group winner. Mexico opens in Houston against the Reggae Boyz on June 22. It then meets Venezuela in Los Angeles before taking on Ecuador in Glendale, Arizona in its final round-robin.
Ecuador is the safest bet to progress along with Chucky Lozano & Co., though Jamaica’s improving team has been bolstered by a slew of English-born and based dual nationals from Premier League clubs, which will make them a tough out for eval one of its opponents.
The Americans have to like its draw even if it included Uruguay, perhaps the best South American team that wasn’t included alongside them in Pot A. Led by rising Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez and coached by legendary Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa, La Celeste is exactly the sort of foe the U.S. needs to test itself against in the lead-up to the 2026 World Cup — which will also be played on home soil. That they meet the Uruguayans in their last group stage — when either first place or a spot in the second round could be at stake — only adds to the importance of that contest.
“In a way, we’re controlling our own destiny by putting them last,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter told FOX Sports’ Jenny Taft moments after Tuesday’s draw was complete. “If you take care of business in the first two games, which will be difficult games, you set up a winner-takes-all meeting.”
Gregg Berhalter gives initial reactions to United States’ Group C draw in 2024 Copa América
In theory, handing Panama and Bolivia should be easier. But the Canaleros have upset the U.S. on several occasions over the years, including at multiple CONCACAF Gold Cups. And while Bolivia may be one of South America’s weaker teams, a team used to facing Argentina and Brazil in meaningful matches won’t go quietly, either.
Led by the likes of Vini Jr., Rodrygo and Gabriel Jesus, five-time World Cup champion Brazil is among the favorites to win the tournament outright. Colombia is among the best of the rest, and when you add a second more than capable mid-tier CONMEBOL team in Paraguay to the mix, this ends up being among the more difficult of the four groups.
Costa Rica should advance to the main event over a rebuilding Honduras in the playoffs in March, though the Ticos are also in the midst of a transition to a new generation of national teamers themselves after finishing dead last in its group at last year’s World Cup. But as Costa Rica showed in Qatar by beating a Japanese side that upset both Germany and Spain, they won’t fear any foe — even the mighty Brazilians.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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