The 2019 Copa America begins tonight as the hosts, Brazil, take on Bolivia in the opening match. Here is all the information you need ahead of the South American showpiece. If you fancy a flutter on the action, then make sure you check out our football pools on site.
When is it? Fri 14th June – Sun 7th July
What time are the fixtures? The earliest matches each night kick off at 20:00 and the latest at 01:30
Where is it being hosted? Brazil. The games are split between the Maracanã Stadium (74,738 capacity) and Estádio Mineirão (58,170) in Rio as well as the Estádio do Morumbi (67,428) and Arena do Grêmio (55,662) in São Paulo.
TV Coverage: Premier Sports. Sky and Virgin customers can add the channel to their package for £9.99 a month
What is the format? There are three groups of four teams. First and second will qualify from each group in addition to the two best third-placed sides. They will all go through to the quarter-finals and it will be a typical knockout competition thereafter.
Who is playing? Group A is made up of Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru. Group B consists of Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar. Group C is comprised of Uruguay, Ecuador, Japan and Chile.
Qatar and Japan are playing? Yes, they have been allowed to enter the Copa America on an invitational basis, presumably for lucrative financial reasons. I blame Australia being allowed into Eurovision for starting this.
Who are the three to watch?
Brazil. It’s hard to look past the host nation, who enter the tournament as favourites. As well as having home advantage, they clearly possess the finest squad in the event, boasting strength in depth in every position. Even without the injured Neymar they can field the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Richarlison up front so are hardly struggling for numbers.
As ever they do possess the usual array of oddly-named players, with the likes of Alisson, Miranda, Arthur and Allan sounding less like footballers and more like a mixed lawn bowls side from Yorkshire. However, with just one defeat in 25 matches, it’s hard to argue with their chances.
Chile. The Chileans haven’t been in stunning form recently, in fact they’ve lost four of their previous seven matches. However, their Copa America pedigree is impossible to dispute. In fact, they’ve won the last two tournaments, beating Argentina in the final in both 2015 and 2016.
They are an aging squad but still have plenty of attacking talent available and should be able to find the net with relative ease. Plus their biggest star and main threat, Alexis Sanchez, should be fresh. After all, he hasn’t done anything all season.
Peru. Considered a genuine outsider in betting terms but Peru could be the dark horses to go deep into this year’s event. A patchy showing at the World Cup has masked some decent results over the last couple of years.
Since 2016 they’ve drawn with Argentina (twice), Colombia and Sweden, beaten Croatia, Iceland and Uruguay whilst also succumbing to a narrow 1-0 defeat to the World Champions France. Overlooked and underrated, keep an eye on them.