Argentina and their superstar captain Lionel Messi will get a golden opportunity to avenge their defeats to Chile in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals, as they have been grouped with their old foes in the draw for next year’s tournament in the United States. The draw took place in a gala ceremony on Friday morning (IST), and had the likes of Brazil legend Ronaldinho in attendance. (Draw Pics | Football News)
Argentina, who are the reigning Copa America champions, will defend their title in June 2024 in an expanded 16-team tournament which features 10 South American teams and six qualifiers from the CONCACAF region.
The tournament will kick off on June 20 in Atlanta, where 2022 FIFA World Cup winners Argentina will face either Canada or Trinidad and Tobago, who meet in a play-off next year to determine one of two remaining CONCACAF slots.
Let us take a look at how the groups stack up, which teams are in the perceived 'Group of Death' and more below.
Group A: Argentina, Peru, Chile And Canada/Trinidad and Tobago
The defending champions have been paired with two known rivals in Peru and Chile, and then a Concacaf foe in the winner of the playoff between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago. Lionel Messi and co. seemingly have an easier group than the rest of the field, but they have history against Chile.
Alexis Sanchez and Co. won the tournament in both 2015 and 2016, beating La Albiceleste not once, but twice in back-to-back penalty shootouts. Lionel Scaloni's outfit will seek revenge this time around.
Meanwhile, Peru sit at the bottom of CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers and are in poor form, with Chile just two spots above them. If they qualify, Canada could somehow become the toughest opponent during the group stage for Argentina.
Group B: Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela And Jamaica
This is a group where no team is miles ahead of the rest. Mexico will face Chelsea's Moises Caicedo and Ecuador, along with Venezuela and Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz have slowly compiled a roster that has more than half their players from the English Premier league, poaching dual-nationals like Leon Bailey and Michael Antonio.
Ecuador, who lie fifth in World Cup qualifying, might be thought of as group favorites, but then there's Venezuela, who sit fourth in World Cup Qualifying with recent draws against Ecuador and Brazil.
Group C: United States, Uruguay, Panama And Bolivia
The United States will meet one of the most dangrous teams in the competition in the form of Uruguay, who handed Argentina their only loss of the 2023 calendar year in World Cup qualifying. Panama, a familiar Concacaf opponent, and Bolivia - a side who are 1-0-5 in World Cup Qualifying at the moment - are expected to be easier opponents for Gregg Berhalter's team.
Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay And Costa Rica/Honduras
This is the veritable 'Group of Death'. Vinicius Jr. and Brazil are slotted with heavyweights Colombia and Paraguay, making three big names in the same group. The fourth spot will be taken by the winner of the play-off between Costa Rica and Honduras.
Brazil, who are nine-time winners of the competition, will look to earn a spot in the knockout round but will not have it easy with the two strong sides in their group. Contemporary football titan Neymar's Copa hopes are in jeopardy due to injury, while Vinicius is also injured and will be sidelined until the new year.
The group stage will continue until July 2, after which the top two teams from each group will fight it out in the knockout rounds. The quarter-finals will be played from July 4-6, followed by the semi-finals on July 9 and 10 and the final on July 14.