Follow all the drama from one of international football’s most passionate tournaments this summer…
2019 Copa America, from Saturday 15 June, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551) + Premier Sports 2 HD (CH 552)
The domestic club campaign may be over, but international football fever rumbles on throughout June and July this year.
While England’s Lionesses fight for the Women’s World Cup in France, 12 nations in the men’s game plan to joga bonito their way to success some 5,000 miles across the Atlantic as Brazil host the 2019 Copa America.
Whether it’s Lionel Messi battling it out for an honour he’s never won before or the hosts looking to lift the trophy on home soil for the first time since 1989, this coveted competition is set to deliver big entertainment this summer.
But that’s just scratching the surface of the 2019 edition of this iconic tournament. Read on to find out more about what to expect as we answer the big questions.
So… What is the Copa America?
Think of as South America’s version of the Euros. The usual tournament format applies, with three groups of four teams competing to progress to the knockout stages. The top two in each group qualify for the first knockout stage alongside the two highest-scoring third-placed teams. Simple.
Now, according to the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) president Alejandro Dominguez, the showpiece will be “a passionate competition in which anyone can win the title”, so we can all rest easy knowing there is no guaranteed victor. However, Uruguay boast the greatest success to date, with 15 wins in total – just one more than Argentina, who have appeared in a record 28 finals.
How can I watch it?
In one place and one place only – Premier Sports. For the price of a pie and a pint each month (£9.99) you can catch all 26 games from the tournament, which kicks off with Brazil against Bolivia on Friday 14 June and ends with the final at Rio’s magnificent Maracanã Stadium on Sunday 7 July.
And the 2019 Copa America isn’t all you can enjoy on Premier Sports. In addition to football from Serie A, La Liga and the Scottish Cup, subscribers can also get stuck into all 152 games from the Pro14, plus loads of NHL, NASCAR and GAA. Oof.
Which teams are taking part?
All ten CONMEBOL members are involved, with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and back-to-back champs Chile regarded as the pre-tournament favourites. Venezuela and Ecuador remain the only members to have not tasted glory, while Peru and Bolivia have each secured the trophy on home soil – a feat achieved at 21 of the 45 tournaments thus far. With the Confederation of Nort, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) not sending a nation for the first time since 1993, Asian Cup finalists Japan and Qatar (who will host the next World Cup in 2022) occupy the other two spots. Yes, we know they’re not from South America.
Any big stars on show?
Um, just a few. All eyes will be firmly fixed on Messi. The Argentine maestro has captained his country to three runners-up finishes in recent years but hasn’t yet added an international trophy to his unrivalled CV. Elsewhere, 2016 Golden Ball winner Alexis Sánchez has a chance to banish the demons of a torrid 18 months at Manchester United; Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani continue to dominate Uruguay’s attack; and ridiculously prolific MLS star Josef Martínez could be Venezuela’s surprise package.
What happened at the last tournament?
A year on from winning their first ever Copa America, Chile reigned supreme at the commemorative 2016 Copa America Centenario. And, just like the previous year, they played out a dour goalless draw with Argentina before winning a dramatic penalty shootout thanks largely to Manchester City’s forgotten goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo. Incidentally, they’ve since failed to qualify for a World Cup, and have won just four of their last 12 games, so you can fully expect them to turn up and bag three in a row under Cristo Redetor’s watchful gaze. Bring it on!
What are the key fixtures?
With so much talent on show there are huge clashes wherever you look. But if you’re looking for some choice ties to kick things off, here’s a few to put in your diary.
Brazil v Bolivia
Saturday 15 June, 1.25am, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Argentina v Colombia
Saturday 15 June, 10.55pm, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Japan v Chile
Monday 17 June, 11.55pm, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Brazil v Venezuela
Wednesday 19 June, 1.25am, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Argentina v Paraguay
Thursday 20 June, 1.25am, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Peru v Brazil
Saturday 22 June, 8pm, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
Colombia v Paraguay
Sunday 23 June, 8pm, Premier Sports 2 HD (CH 552)
Chile v Uruguay
Sunday 25 June, 12am, Premier Sports 1 HD (CH 551)
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