Publish date:

COPA AMÉRICA 5 Minute Guide

Author:

3 MATCHUPS TO WATCH

The best games within the games

ARGENTINA VS. CHILE

A year after Chile claimed the 2015 Copa title on home soil by beating Argentina in a penalty shootout, the two sides meet again in Santa Clara, Calif. Whoever wins the star-packed Group D matchup—Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Angel Di María (above, in blue) against Alexis Sánchez and Arturo Vidal—becomes a knockout-round favorite.

COPA VS. THE OLYMPICS

Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia are competing at both the Copa (June) and the Summer Games in Rio (August), which poses the challenge of balancing two squads. (Olympic teams can use three players over the age of 23.) Having never won Olympic gold, Brazil is focused on the event it is hosting—which means star forward Neymar won't be coming to the U.S.

JURGEN KLINSMANN VS. MOUNTING PRESSURE

This isn't the most important competition on the U.S. manager's horizon—that would be World Cup '18 qualification—but after a rocky lead-up to the Copa, a successful summer run could relieve some stress.

INTRODUCING...

Three fresh faces whose names you'll know by July

CHRISTIAN PULISIC / U.S.

Try to pretend you've never heard this before: The 17--year--old Borussia Dortmund forward (right) from Hershey, Pa., is the "transformative soccer star America has been waiting for."

DERLIS GONZÁLEZ / Paraguay

The 22-year-old winger impressed during Paraguay's run to the 2015 Copa semifinal then became his country's second-most-expensive signing and helped lead Dynamo Kiev to the Champions League round of 16.

MARQUINHOS / Brazil

Three years after joining PSG, the 22-year-old looks ready to lead the next generation of Seleção defenders. If you witnessed Brazil's exit from World Cup 2014, you know how important that is.

HIRSUTE HEROES

Four killer coifs that'll catch your eye

ARTURO VIDAL

Chile

FILIPE LUÍS

Brazil

GYASI ZARDES

U.S.

WILLIAN

Brazil

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

The new and the obsolete of this year's Copa

IN

U! S! A!

The USMNT has competed in past Copas (2-2-8), but for the first time the U.S. is hosting. If this event is as big a financial success as hoped, it won't be the last.

CHILE, CHAMPS

The defending champ for the first time in 36 appearances, Chile is also in transition: New manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has only four games under his belt.

CONCACAF PARITY

Mexico and the U.S. are historical North American heavyweights, but the region is deeper than usual. Costa Rica is on the rise, and Panama could surprise in Group D.

OUT

CORRUPT EXECS

An investigation into FIFA malfeasance hit the Americas particularly hard, with at least 16 CONMEBOL and CONCACAF officials implicated (and absent).

DAMARCUS BEASLEY

The U.S. midfielder-turned-defender retired in '14, after his fourth World Cup, then returned for the '15 Gold Cup. He's finally out of the picture. (Until he's not....)

THE EVERYFAN

Tickets to Jamaica-Venezuela (Chicago) cost only a few bucks, but good luck seeing any of the powers for less than $80. For the final even nosebleeds are about $200.

BE OUR GUESTS

Copa countries, as they're represented in the U.S. population

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

MEXICO

35,320,579

PARAGUAY

23,943

URUGUAY

68,871

BOLIVIA

117,842

COSTA RICA

144,049

CHILE

147,558

PANAMA

191,340

ARGENTINA

270,459

VENEZUELA

288,975

BRAZIL

368,782

JAMAICA

1,087,185

COLOMBIA

1,072,476

HAITI

984,514

ECUADOR

670,332

PERU

626,789

*Figures based on 2014 census estimates

PHOTO

LUIS HIDALGO/AP (DI MARIA)

PHOTO

MATTHIAS SCHRADER/AP (VIDAL)

PHOTO

ERIC BOLTE/USA TODAY SPORTS (MATTOCKS)

PHOTO

RINGO H.W. CHIU/AP (ZARDES)

PHOTO

IMAGO/ZUMA PRESS (WILLIAN)

PHOTO

MOISES CASTILLO/AP (JIMENEZ)

RAÚL JIMÉNEZ > Mexico

FIFTEEN PHOTOS

CHART