Copa America: The South American Football Tournament is a continental tournament contested by the National football teams from South America. A total of 12 or 16 national teams participate in this tournament. It is more formally called as South America Football Championship. As it is played by the national football teams from South America, hence the winning team of the tournament is called the champion of South America. The Asian and North American football teams are now also invited to participate in Copa America tournament.
Since 1993, total 12 football teams have contested the tournament in which 10 of the teams belong to South America and the other two teams belong to other confederations. From 1999, Mexico have always participated in the competition as well as one team from CONCACAF except for 1999 where Japan and AFC football teams filled the 12 teams roster.
Copa America: The South American Football Tournament
The tournament for the current year 2016 has featured sixteen football teams, ten from South America and six from CONCACAF. Eight of the ten national teams from South America have at least won the trophy once whereas; both Venezuela and Ecuador are yet to win the competition. The national team of Uruguay holds the most number of trophies with 15 times while Chile, also being the current champion holds the cup twice. Argentina is the only country that hosted the inaugration of Copa America in 1916 and have hosted the tournaments for nine times. However, United States hosted the recent tournament in 2016 which is not a South American Country.
The Copa America is widely known as the most prestigious sporting event In the World. The South American team which has won the most cups of Copa America is suppose to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup but not exactly bound to do so. It is totally up to the choice of the highest winning team.
This tournament was initially named as the South American Football Championship which was used till 1975 but from onwards that, the tournament’s name was changed to Copa America. The tournament had no host nation in between 1975-83 and was featured in a home and generally in away fashion. Copa America was the current year of 2016 has featured twelve football teams in a host nation which was time time, United States. There are two phases of the tournament; group stage and a knockout stage.
In the group stage, four teams in each group competes with each other and the final 3 teams per each group advances into the knockout stage. During the group stage of the tournament, each team is suppose to play 3 scheduled matches against the opponent teams from the same group. However unlike all the other major tournaments in the world, the last round of the group stage matches is not scheduled. The top two teams of the each group progress to a knockout stage including the two best third position teams from all the four groups. In addition, football teams are ranked on the basis of points. Since 1995, the tournament contains three points for the winning team, one point to both the drawn teams and none for the loss like all the other tournaments.
In the knockout stage of the tournament, each qualifying team is suppose to play the opponent team according to the schedule. If the football match remains tied after the extra time round given after 90 minutes of the game, then penalty shootouts are used to determine the winning team in the final match, semi-finals and quarter-finals. However the knockout round begins with quarter final initially, then moves to semi-finals and then the final that ends the tournament. The third place position of the tournament is contested by the losing team of both the semi-final and final.