Who are the favourites to win the Copa América 2024?

Who are the favourites to win the Copa América 2024?


The oldest international football tournament, the Copa América, will begin on June 20th.

Intended originally as a championship for all ten South American teams, it has been expanded with the addition of guest teams. Australia, Japan, and Kuwait are some of the nations that have competed in it in the past.

This year, six representatives of the CONCACAF (Central and North America and the Caribbean) region will participate, having booked their places via a qualifying competition.

The USA will host the tournament for the second time, having previously done so in 2016, the competition's centenary year. 

Apart from the commercial and marketing opportunities that playing in the US offers, the tournament also serves as a prelude and valuable warm-up for the 2026 World Cup. That is being co-hosted by the USA, along with Canada and Mexico.

The format

The sixteen teams have been separated into groups of four, who will play each other on a round-robin basis. The top two in each group will then advance to the quarter-finals as the tournament reverts to a knock-out competition. Should teams finish tied on points, various criteria, such as goal difference and disciplinary record, will be used to determine the finishing order.

Previous winners

Argentina and Uruguay are the joint most successful teams in the competition's history. They have each won it 15 times, followed by Brazil, who, perhaps surprisingly, has only enjoyed nine victories in this tournament. Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile are twice winners, while Bolivia and Columbia have both held it once.

The only guest side to have won it is Mexico, which triumphed in 1993 and again eight years later.

The defending champions are favourites

The defending champions are Argentina, who won the tournament in 2021 (it was delayed a year because of the Covid pandemic), beating the hosts Brazil by a single Angel Dí Maria goal in the final in Rio.

That result was significant on several levels. Not only did it end Argentina's long title drought, but it was also the first major international honour their captain, Lionel Messi, had won in his sixteen-year career.

He had come close before, he was part of the team that lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany and then back-to-back Copa América finals to Chile, but finally, Messi could enjoy the taste of champagne in an Argentina side.

It was arguably the confidence he and the side gained from that victory that enabled them to win the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

While some thought Messi would retire from international football after that, he vowed to carry on, and his move to MLS and Inter Miami seems to have given him a new lease of life.

It is also a boon to tournament organisers to have a player who has become so instantly recognisable playing for his country in their own backyard.

And his side begin the competition as favourites to win it again. They are currently the number-one ranked team in the world and retain the nucleus of the team that won the World Cup 18 months ago.

World Cup qualifying for 2026 in South America is already well underway, and with six matches played, Argentina lead the way again.

They begin the defence of their title with a match against Canada in Atlanta. With group games to come against Peru and Chile, they should progress with little problem. Mexico could be their most significant obstacle to getting to the final again.

Can Brazil finally get it right?

Brazil has a habit of flattering to deceive in major tournaments, and a section of their fan base will never get over the trauma of their 7 – 1 defeat to Germany in their 2014 World Cup semi-final.

In Qatar, they again looked like potential winners before yet again falling at the hands of a European team in the form of Croatia.

Perhaps fortunately for them, no European teams are involved in the Copa América this time.

Neymar, who has been the lynchpin of their team for a decade or more, is missing. He damaged his ACL playing for his team in the Saudi Pro League.

However, they are well stacked, particularly in the forward line. Vinícius Junior and Rodrygo are fresh from winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, supplemented by the emerging talent of 17-year-old Kendrick, who will be joining them at the Spanish club next season.

They also have two of the best goalkeepers in the world to choose from, with Ederson of Manchester City usually having to play second fiddle to Allison Becker of Liverpool.

As ever, the task for any Brazil manager is to get the best out of the talent at his disposal. The same is true for Dorival Júnior, who only took over in January and may only be keeping the seat warm for Carlo Ancelotti.

So far, Brazil's World Cup qualifying campaign has been underwhelming. They are clinging to the last automatic qualification place. This could be the chance to restore national morale.

Colombia and Paraguay will be their most formidable group opponents, with Costa Rica there to make up the numbers.

Arguably the biggest hurdle that they need to overcome is the burden of expectation from their own supporters.


When Uruguay decided to appoint Marcelo Bielsa as their manager in May 2023, many thought they were taking a risk. While he had admirers for his work with clubs like Marseille and Leeds United, his relentless style of football also had detractors.

So far, though, it has been a qualified success. Uruguay have shed some of the rigidity that has held them back in previous international tournaments, and he has also tried to instil a greater sense of discipline.

And the results have started to come as well. They are currently second in South America World Cup qualifying, and last November, they inflicted Argentina's first defeat, which they had suffered since their World Cup triumph in front of their own fans in Buenos Aires.

They have also beaten Brazil at home.

A relatively easy group containing the USA, Panama, and Bolivia means that they are unlikely to be seriously challenged in the early stages of the tournament. In the same half of the draw as Brazil, the pair could meet in the semi-finals.

Bielsa knows what it is like to manage at a major international tournament, having previously led Argentina and Chile to World Cups. He will share his experience with his new team.

Dark horses

Mexico is a potential dark horse, and they can be guaranteed mass support wherever they play from the Hispanic American population.

A disappointing performance at the last World Cup, when they were eliminated in the first round, prompted a changing of the guard, and a generation of older players made way for those with fresher legs and minds.

Jaime Lozana has been tasked with getting the best out of his young squad and wants to see how quickly they can adapt to his system and tactics. 

While the Mexican public has purposely downplayed expectations, a group including Jamaica, Venezuela, and Ecuador should not prove too taxing.

Lozana has the backing of his football federation, which has assured him that, whatever happens, he will be in charge of the 2026 World Cup.

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