The Copa America 2015 is set to begin on Thursday (June 11th) and here you’ll find everything (probably not, but still some interesting things) you want to know about the oldest continental football tournament there is.
12 participants There are twelve teams participating in the upcoming edition. Here is the all-time ranking with the 12 teams highlighted:
2 invited teams This year’s invited teams are Jamaica (for the first time) and Mexico (playing with their B team, as they play the Gold Cup in July). The best ever result of an invited team is runners-up (Mexico in 1993 in the first edition with invited teams, and also in 2001). In total 6 countries have played as an invite summing a total of 17 participations: they reached the second round in 11 of those 17 instances.
50/50 for the host The Copa America has been played 43 times of which in 40 editions it had a fixed host. In no less than half (20) of those cases the hosting nation also won the cup. You could say home advantage is key… The most extreme case is Uruguay who won 7 out of 7 times when organizing the event. The negative extreme is 2015 host Chile; they never won the tournament although they hosted 6 times. In those 6 editions in Chile Argentina always ended between the best 2 teams and won the tournament in the last 4 opportunities.
Positive balance Argentina is the only team to hold a positive balance against all South-American (let’s build in some limiting factor) opponents they have played, here goes the list. Only their H2H agains the USA is not positive:
19 copas in a row Not Argentina, not Brazil, not Uruguay, but Paraguay has the current longest streak of participations. Since 1959 they did not miss any of the 18 editions. And they will now participate for the 19th time in a row. Record! Uruguay participated in 18 consecutive cups from 1926 to 1959.
6 argentine coaches There will be a (record-holding) 6 Argentine managers active at the Copa. Meaning that half of the teams is led by an Argentine. They are well-distributed over the groups: Sampaoli (Chile) and Quinteros (Ecuador) in Group A, Martino (Argentina) and Ramón Díaz (Paraguay) in Group B, and Pékerman (Colombia) and Gareca (Peru) in Group C.
6 foreign mangers Six teams have a foreigner at the head of the team. The 5 Argentines mentioned before and one European manager: Schäfer (Germany) is in charge of Jamaica. The last time a European manager won the tournament? The English Jack Greenwell led hosts Peru to the trophy in 1939. And the last time a country led by a foreigner won? The Brazilian Alvim won the cup with Bolivia (host of the tournament) in 1963. In the history only 3 coaches not leading their home team won the tournament: Millan (Spanish, with Argentina in 1927), Greenwell (1939) and Alvim (1963).
3 repeating managers Nine of the 12 manager will make their first appearance (as a manger) at the Copa America. The other 3 are Gustavo Quinteros (Ecuador), who previously led Bolivia during the Copa of 2011, Gerardo Martino (Argentina), who reached the quarterfinals with Paraguay in 2007 and the final in 2011 (without winning a single game!!) and Óscar Tabárez (Uruguay in 1989, 2007 and 2011). The first two will be the 12th and 13 to be DT of two different teams in the Copa America. Tabárez will the first manager ever to lead Uruguay in 3 consecutive tournaments and will also hold the record for most Copas as manager of Uruguay: 4.
2 managers know how to score Only 2 out of the 12 managers have actually scored a goal in the Copa America themselves: Brazil manager Dunga found the net once (the opening goal vs Colombia in 1997), as did his colleague in charge of Peru, Ricardo Gareca (1-0 for Argentina over Brazil in 1983).
11 goals to go The current all-time top scorers are Zizinho (Brazil) and Mendéz (Argentina) with 17 goals each. The player that is ‘closest’ to surpass the two currently finds himself on the 43th spot of all-time goal scorers: Roque Santa Cruz with 7 goals. Here is a list with all players that are active in the Copa America 2015 and already sum 2 or more goals.
17 years old The youngest player that will be traveling to Chile is Wuilker Faríñez (17 years and 114 days, Caracas FC), the third goalkeeper of Venezuela. He made his debut in the first team in October 2014 in a Copa Venezuela match, but he has no international caps. The youngest outfield player (18 years and 140 days) is AC Milan talent Sebastián Gamarra (Bolivia). Besides some friendly games with Milan A, he has no first team experience. And they surely will not break the record for youngest even goal scorer. That was Colombian Johnnier Montaño at the age of 16 years and 172 days (1991 vs Argentina).
A list of the average age, with Brazil having the youngest team, and average length per roster of the 12 teams in the Copa America 2015:
124 and going strong Rafael Márquez (Mexico) and Juan Arango (Venezuela) are the most capped players that will be active this June. Both have played 124 games for their respective countries. Here’s an overview of the players with most caps and most goals for their countries:
34 from Mexico The league that provides most players too the Copa America 2015 is Liga MX. 34 of all 276 (12,3%) players earn their salaries in Mexico. Mexico is also the team that brings most players from their own league to the tournament: