Copa América kicks off in Chile
South America's most prestigious international tournament kicks off on the 11th of June. For the next three weeks, 12 nations will be in Chile fighting to become Copa America Champions 2015. This year's competition has the biggest group of English-based players ever and three-quarters of the teams have Premier League players. In this article, we take a closer look at the Copa America and some of the players who will be there.
Who plays in the Copa America?
The Copa America is the oldest continental tournament in world football and was first played in 1916, when only four teams (Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile) took part. This year's competition has 12 teams. Traditionally, all of the teams have come from South America, but the South American Football Association often invite countries from other regions to take part. In this year's competition, Mexico and Jamaica have been invited and will play with 10 of the biggest nations in South American football.
Who is the most successful team?
Brazil have won the trophy 8 times and Argentina have won it 14 times, but surprisingly it's Uruguay who have won the trophy the most times. Uruguay are the competition holders, as they beat Argentina 3-0 in the 2011 final to win the competition for a record 15th time. It will be more difficult for them this time, their star player, ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, is suspended.
Who will win group A?
Chile are the hosts and many people's dark horse to win the trophy for the first time. With Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez in Chile's attack, fresh from a fantastic first Premier League season, they have a player who can make a difference. With the home crowd behind them, Chile will be expected to finish top of this group. If Chile are the favourites, it will be close to see which team finishes second and third (the 2 best third-placed teams also qualify for the quarter finals). Manchester United's Antonio Valencia will miss the competition because of an ankle injury, but his namesake, West Ham's Enner Valencia, will hope to score the goals to help Ecuador qualify.
Who's going to win Group B?
Argentina are many people's favourites to win the tournament, so they must be favourites to finish top of this group. Argentina have chosen 7 Premier League players and will hope that Manchester Utd's Angel Di Maria and Tottenham's Erik Lamela can provide the assists for Manchester City's Sergio Aguero to score the goals. At the same time, Argentinian fans will hope that Man City's Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis will keep clean sheets at the back. The rest of the group may be chasing second place. Two Premier League centre-backs, Everton's Antolin Alcaraz and Sunderland's Sebastian Coates, may have a difficult time against Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero. Jamaica are the underdogs in the group and are playing in the competition for the first time.
Who will win Group C?
Brazil are probably the favourites in this group, but Colombia are sure to challenge at the top of the table. Brazil will be looking to bounce back from the humiliation of the 7-1 defeat to Germany in last year's World Cup. Colombia, however, will be looking for revenge after Brazil beat them in the quarter-finals last year. With Radamel Falcao back in the Colombia team, and looking to forget a disappointing season with Manchester Utd, maybe Colombia can beat Brazil in a competitive match for the first time in over 20 years! Peru and Venezuela are the underdogs in this group, but they will be looking to spring a suprise in the first round of matches, when Peru play Brazil and Venezuela play Colombia.
What did you understand?
If you want some practise activities to check your comprehension or listen to more podcasts, check out our listening section.
What do you think?
What are your predictions for the Copa America?
Will Chile win the trophy for the first time? Will Argentina win to equal Uruguay's record of 15 wins?
Who is going to be the player of the tournament?
Leave a message in the comments section below.