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Tomorrow marks the start of the biggest soccer event held in the United States in more than 20 years as Copa America Centenario kicks off with its opening game as the U.S. hosts Colombia at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California at 9:30 p.m. ET, live on FS1, Univision, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network.
The tournament marks the 100th anniversary of the world’s oldest international football competition, the first edition of which took place in 1916, in Argentina. Just four teams took part back then: the hosts, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, who won on enemy territory. Since then, there has been 44 Copas so far, the Centenario is the 45th.
The Copa America is held every four years (it used to be every two), with Argentina hosting it in 2011 then Chile in 2015. La Roja won on home soil last summer but won’t stay champions for long unless they can pull off another success in the States.
More than one million fans have already secured their tickets to attend the 32 Copa America Centenario games across 10 venues in the United States throughout the month of June. The highest attended Copa America occurred in 1979 when 1.144 million attended matches in all 10 South American countries. Tickets to Copa America Centenario have been sold to fans from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico) and more than 50 additional countries.
This is the first time the Copa America has not been held in South America, and it’s mainly because of money that the decision was made to move it to the United States.
The plan was always to have the US and Mexico feature in the tournament, which usually features 12 teams but on this occasion has 16. The usual 10 of those come from CONMEBOL (South America’s version of UEFA), and the extra six from CONCACAF (North, Central American and Caribbean football governing body).
It has now been decided that the hosts for regular Copa Americas will rotate by alphabetical order, although Chile skipped the queue in 2015 because Brazil did not want to host it while having just held the World Cup and before the Olympics. They are taking charge of the next one, in 2019. The Centenario is a one-off edition of the Copa, so there’s an argument it shouldn’t be involved in the hosting rotation cycle.
Copa America Centenario will be televised in more than 160 countries across the world, with Univision Network and FOX family of networks broadcasting all of the games live in the United States. In addition, all of the matches will also be available live on Futbol de Primera Radio in the United States.
Copa America Centenario will feature some of the world’s best teams and players from North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, the United States’ Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, along with many other world-class stars are scheduled to participate in the tournament.
Group A: USA, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica
Group B: Brazil, Peru, Haiti, Ecuador
Group C: Uruguay, Mexico, Jamaica, Venezuela
Group D: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Panama
Fans are urged to purchase their tickets early. Tickets to all games are still available by visiting www.CA2016.com or the stadium box offices. Please check stadium web sites for office hours.