Copa America…

For more than two decades, not only the… legal holders of tickets for the event, but also the guests have been participating in the Copa America, the Latin American football festival. The guests. Those who do not geographically belong to South America, but now participate in the Copa America for numerical reasons.

With CONMEBOL numbering ten Member States, it was probably necessary to increase the number of participants, and since the countries could not, of course, be increased, the invitation system was established. The first two, 1993, were given to Mexico and the US. The Mexicans were invited because they are right next door, the Americans because they wanted to be as prepared as possible for the World Cup that would take place a year later and which they would organize. The truth is that the United States failed to do anything worthwhile in its maiden presence in Copa America, but Mexico probably did better than expected, reaching the final, where it bowed to Gabriel Batista, who led Argentina to conquering the title, which remains her last to date.

In any case, for these two countries it was the first but not the last appearance in this tournament, since two years later, in 1995, the USA reached the semifinals, where they lost to Brazil, to finally finish in the 4th position (defeat by Colombia in the small final). Twelve years later, in 12, the Americans would take part in the Copa America again, but without doing anything good. In contrast, Mexico θηκε became permanent in the tournament, having had continuous appearances until 2007. After the 2016 final, in fact, the Mexicans were finalists in 1993, when they lost to host Colombia. In addition to the two finals, Mexico - which will be absent for the first time since '2001 this year - finished three times in third place and generally honored the Copa America more than it has been honored by rightfully qualified teams.

Beyond that, in 1997 it was Costa Rica's turn to be invited to take part in the tournament, but without leaving any result or history to be remembered in the years that followed, while in 1999 Japan appeared for the first time. A rather. Tragic choice, as shown by the tragic presence of the Asians, who became the first country outside America to be called to claim the title of South American champion. In 2001, in fact, we would see Canada, since this was the country that accepted the invitation, but the security issues that existed in Colombia, had the consequence of rejecting the invitation and in its place appeared Honduras. And she appeared with… bam, after she reached the "4", excluding Brazil in her course! And after seeing, from time to time, in the Copa America Americans, Mexicans, Costa Ricans or Asians, in 2015 it was time to see the Caribbean represented, through Jamaica. Bob Marley's compatriots accepted the invitation, showed up, did nothing remarkable but rejoiced, and that was what mattered most to them.

In other words, Japan and Qatar, which are the two foreigners invited, want to enjoy it this year. Selection not by chance, since this was the pair of the Pan-Asian Cup a few months ago (February). And with the 2022 World Cup approaching, the rich Qatar must somehow start to enter the "frame" slowly…

When Brazil and Bolivia line up on the pitch on Saturday morning, New America for 46 time will start moving at its favorite pace. That of the ball. Of football. The game with their own moral rules, their own unwritten laws, their own special passion, their own love for the most beautiful game in the world.