5 Burning Questions Heading into Copa America 2024

The 2024 Copa America is set to kick off this week, and we explore five key questions that everyone will be asking both before and during the tournament.

The 2024 Copa America is one of three major soccer tournaments that will take place in the United States over the next three years. Next summer, the U.S. will get the Club World Cup, with the crowning centerpiece being the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico, which every North American soccer fan is eagerly awaiting.

The trio of tournaments will likely play massive roles in revolutionizing how the sport is viewed in the U.S. While soccer’s popularity has significantly risen in the country over the past decade, if it has any chance of truly entering the mainstream sports landscape, it will start with these three competitions, particularly the final one.

Up first is the Copa America, originally known as the “South American Championship of Nations.” Beginning in 1916, it’s the world’s oldest international football competition, showcasing the prowess of South American national teams in a biennial tournament. Over the decades, it has evolved into a prestigious event, featuring intense rivalries and iconic moments in football history.

The United States is participating in their fifth Copa America, having reached the semifinals in 1995 and 2016. Reigning champions Argentina are hoping to win their fourth consecutive national team title with Lionel Messi, who at 36 is playing in his last Copa America.

Here are five burning questions to keep an eye on during the 2024 Copa America held in the United States.

How Far Will the USMNT Get?

The answer to this will depend on what the team can do against major opponents. While Bolivia and Panama are no pushovers, the United States are expected to defeat them. Then comes Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay which will be a crucial challenge for Gregg Berhalter and the U.S.

The match will mark Berhalter’s third time facing Uruguay, and while he’s previously earned a pair of draws, this is the first time he’ll take on La Celeste in a major tournament.

If the USMNT makes it out of the group and into the quarterfinals, it will likely match up with either Colombia or Brazil, the favorites in Group D. Given Berhalter’s less-than-sterling record against top 20 teams, it could be over in just one knockout match for the Americans.

The Copa America is the tournament where fans and the federation need to see substantial improvement for the U.S. While unlikely, a disappointing tournament could see the end of the Berhalter era.

For the USMNT and Berhalter, it’s basically semifinals or bust.

Can Messi Win One More for Argentina?

argentina copa america

Argentina is carrying a lot of momentum to the Copa America, with Messi still looking great despite his age. Manager Lionel Scaloni has a path that he must like to get to the finals, with Brazil, Uruguay, and Colombia on the opposite side of the bracket. Still, Argentina’s recent 2026 World Cup qualifier against Uruguay at home showed us that the team can be beaten, and that there are defensive holes to the reigning world champions.

Argentina isn’t invincible, but the team is playing with real purpose and unity, and that could be enough to help the nation win its 16th Copa America.

Can Marcelo Bielsa Finally Win Silverware With Uruguay?

marcelo bielsa

Uruguay has an impressive team led by Darwin Núñez, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Ronald Araujo. Add to that the experience of players like Luis Suarez and Nahitan Nández, and Uruguay has one of the stronger lineups in the tournament.

Despite some great results in World Cup qualifying, defeating Argentina and Brazil both in the same week, Uruguay has not won a major title since the 2011 Copa America. La Celese has had deeply talented player pool since 2010, and a Bielsa-led Uruguay will need to show that it can win major titles.

Which Brazil Will Show Up?

This time last year, the word around the campfire was that Brazil was going to land legendary manager Carlo Ancelotti. When that did not pan out, the national team was entrusted to journeyman manager Dorival Júnior, who has an underwhelming CV compared to the Real Madrid boss (who doesn’t, though).

Brazil’s team is stacked with great talents, but there are heavy questions about tactics and the team’s functionality, especially since they are missing Neymar, who is out with an ACL injury. The notoriously mercurial Brazil side are one of the favorites at the tournament, and with all of the talent on their roster, anything less than a title will be a disappointment.

What’s the Story With Canada?

Some pundits would have you believe that Canada is a talented national team about to break out of its mundane shell. If the USMNT is a team in search of a marquee win, Canada is in search of any win.

Playing in their first Copa America, new manager Jesse Marsch has the tough task of kicking the tournament off against Argentina. While Canada did earn a shock draw with France in a recent international friendly, it’s still hard to imagine the Canadians doing much at Copa America. Along with Argentina, Peru and Chile will line up against Canada in Group A. It will be a strenuous road to the knockout stage for Canada, who went pointless in a similarly tough group at the 2022 World Cup.

In order for Canada to even think of making any noise, it will need to get something out of its opening match against Argentina. A blowout loss could signal a very short tournament for the Canadians.

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