This June sees Chile host soccer’s Copa America. The world’s oldest international soccer tournament is also one of the most raucous and colorful sporting festivals in the world.
Some of the most entertaining soccer players in the world combine with wild spectators to create a dramatic spectacle throughout the whole of the four week-long competition. Supporters are currently snapping up tickets for this year’s event which takes place in Chile and begins on June 11.
One of the most interesting aspects of this year’s Copa America will be watching how two of the giants of world soccer react following their last tournament performances, which were played out in the FIFA World Cup a year ago.
Recently, Brazil looks to have overcome the hangover following the harrowing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semifinals. As if the scoreline was not embarrassing enough, the result was exacerbated by the fact that the Brazilians were on home soil, in front of their adoring fans.
Legendary World Cup winner Dunga is now in charge of la seleção, and they have powered to eight straight wins since last summer’s debacle. The form of talismanic striker Neymar, now installed as captain, has had a big role to play.
Eternal rivals Argentina managed to progress one round further at the World Cup, eventually losing out to Germany in the final. It will be 22 years since Argentina lifted silverware—their last trophy being 1993’s Copa America.
National coach Gerardo Martino will be looking to knit together a side that can be as resilient as it is exhilarating. Blessed with a forward line that reads like a who’s who of the world’s greatest—Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria—surely the time has come for them to deliver?
And yet, the 2015 Copa America could be the most unpredictable tournament in years. Most of the world’s finest players migrate toward the riches of the European soccer leagues for their regular jobs. This year, a mere five days separates the end of the European soccer season and the opening game of the Copa America. (The UEFA Champions League final takes place in Berlin, Germany on June 6th).
With such close proximity between the Copa America and a regular season which followed a World Cup year, a major factor in deciding the outcome of the tournament could be which nation copes best with fatigue.