Copa America 2021: Which Reds could feature?
Euro 2020 isn’t the only major international men’s tournament scheduled to take place this summer.
The Copa America – where the 10 South American sides battle it out for continental supremacy – was originally meant to have been played in June and July 2020, as the competition shifted to a quadrennial format.
As with many other events, COVID-19 put paid to those plans, so CONMEBOL agreed to move the championship back a year.
However, the tournament has seen further disruption in recent weeks, as the pandemic’s impact continues to be felt across the world.
We explain further, as well as highlighting which Reds might be involved…
Argentina and Colombia were set to be the first co-hosts in the competition’s 105-year history, but that has all changed in recent weeks. Colombia was forced to withdraw last month due to civil unrest, while Argentina has also relinquished its duties, as the pandemic is currently in its worst stage yet in the country. That means Brazil – hosts of the 2019 tournament, which the Selecao won by beating Peru in the final – will now step in, with the games being held in Brasilia, Cuiaba, Goiania and Rio de Janeiro.
Since the 1990s, the competition has traditionally invited two non-CONMEBOL nations, to round up the unwieldy number of sides from 10 to a more tournament-friendly 12. Australia and Qatar were the intended guests, but both have pulled out, meaning there are now two groups of five.
The sides will play each other once, with the top four in each section making it through to the quarter-finals.
Group A: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
Group B: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.
WHICH REDS COULD PLAY?
The final squads for the tournament are yet to be named, but midfielder Fred was recently included in Brazil’s 25-man selection for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay, on 4 and 8 June respectively.
The Copa America gets underway on 13 June and, with CONMEBOL allowing nations to expand their final squads from 23 to 28, it’s likely our no.17 will be part of the nine-time winners’ attempt to retain their title. Alex Telles, who has four caps for the Selecao, has not been picked as yet.
Edinson Cavani isn’t in Uruguay’s squad for their qualifiers with Paraguay and Venezuela. The 34-year-old was sent off for a tackle on Everton’s Richarlison, in La Celeste’s last fixture. That offence carries a two-match suspension, so he could still return for the tournament itself.
DATES TO LOOK OUT FOR
Brazil v Venezuela (14 June)
Argentina v Uruguay (17 June)
Peru v Brazil (18 June)
Uruguay v Chile (20 June)
Bolivia v Uruguay (23 June)
Colombia v Brazil (24 June)
Uruguay v Paraguay (27 June)
Ecuador v Brazil (28 June)
Quarter-finals (2/3 July)
Semi-finals (5/6 July)
Final (10 July)
The Copa America is being shown live on the BBC in the UK.