South America will hold the prestigious Copa América tournament in the United States in 2024
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Marta could soon be coming to a city near you.
The United States will host the next men’s Copa América, the South American championship, in 2024. The tournament will feature the 10 South American men’s teams, as well as the federation’s top six teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Venues for the Copa América were not announced on Friday, but are likely to be in cities already chosen to host the 2026 Men’s World Cup. The United States, Canada and Mexico are co-hosts for that tournament.
The Copa América announcement was part of a larger agreement between Conmebol, the South American federation, and Concacaf, which is made up of teams from Central America, North America and the Caribbean. The confederations will also host a 12-team women’s tournament in 2024 in the United States and a club competition featuring the top two teams from each confederation.
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Who will be in the Copa América?
The 10 South American teams, as well as the top six teams in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League tournament. So Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela, and probably the USMNT, Canada, and Mexico.
Although Messi said that the most recent World Cup was his last, he said after Argentina won in Qatar that he will continue to play for Albiceleste for a bit longer so that they can enjoy their status as world champions. Argentina is the current Copa América champion, so he expects Messi to stay.
Because it is important?
The Copa América is one of the most prestigious tournaments in men’s soccer after the World Cup, with some of the best players in the world. For the USMNT, which will almost certainly be one of the six Concacaf teams, this is much-needed competition.
The USMNT doesn’t have to go through qualifying as a co-host for the 2026 World Cup, but that also takes more than a dozen games off its schedule. Games that are critical to preparation and development. The Copa América replaces some of them, and it does so with top-level rivals. If the USMNT is ever going to have a realistic chance of winning a World Cup, it needs to prove itself against the best in the world, and there aren’t many teams better than Argentina and Brazil right now.
The Copa América will also serve as a test run for the 2026 organizers, giving them the opportunity to identify any potential issues in plenty of time to address them.
When and where will all these tournaments take place?
No details were given other than to say that all three will take place in 2024, and the Copa América and the women’s Gold Cup will be in the United States.
What are these other tournaments?
Concacaf is expanding its Women’s Gold Cup to include the top four South American teams. FIFA is trying to encourage countries to invest in their women’s programs outside of the World Cup, and a high-profile tournament featuring some of the best players in the world is a good start.
The USWNT is already in, having won the Gold Cup last year. The other Concacaf Olympic team, either Canada or Jamaica, will also get an automatic berth. The remaining six Concacaf teams will be decided in a tournament later this summer.
South America will send their top four from last year’s Copa América: Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay.
The club tournament will be a “final four” style event, featuring the top two teams from each region. Details of how they will be determined will not be used, other than “existing … competencies”.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Messi and Neymar could play in the Copa América in the United States in 2024