Soccer fans will turn their attention to Chile next summer to watch Mexico, Jamaica and South America’s 10 nations compete for the 2015 Copa America crown.
The draw for the 2015 Copa America group stage was held Monday night in Chile — the tournament’s host nation. The 12 teams were divided into three groups of four, and the draw produced some enticing matchups.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, as will the two best third-place finishers.
Copa America 2015 kicks off June 11. The final takes place July 4.
Group A: Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia
Group A features three teams that competed in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Chile and Mexico advanced to the knockout stage last summer, while Ecuador narrowly missed a spot in the Round of 16.
Chile and Mexico will be favored to advance out of the Group A. Their matchup likely will determine the group winner and will be a can’t-miss event, as the likes of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez and Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera will face off in Santiago.
Ecuador also will be a contender to advance to the quarterfinals, while Bolivia will finish last in the group, barring a series of shocks.
Group B: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Jamaica
Argentina and its superstar forward Lionel Messi headline Group B. The 2014 World Cup finalists are looking to win their first Copa America crown since 1993. Argentina should top Group B.
Rivals Uruguay and Paraguay likely will duke it out for second place. Uruguay would be the favorite to finish second, but star striker Luis Suarez will be suspended for the tournament, making it tougher for the team to succeed.
Jamaica will do well to earn a point from its three games in Chile.
Group C: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela
Brazil-Colombia is the other glamour game in the group stage of Copa America 2015, as Colombia’s James Rodriguez and Neymar, Brazil’s newly minted captain, will showcase their skills for a global audience. The teams met in a fiery quarterfinal game at the 2014 World Cup. Colombia will consider itself Brazil’s equal, having narrowly lost last summer.
Peru and Venezuela round out Group C. Venezuela likely will finish third, but it may not be enough to secure progress to the quarterfinal.
Photo by Luis Hidalgo/The Associated Press