Canada had the chance to punch their ticket to next summer’s expanded Copa América and potentially play the like of Lionel Messi and Argentina, or Neymar’s Brazil, or Luiz Diaz’s Colombia. Instead, the CanMNT fell to Andre Blake and Shamar Nicolson’s Jamaica and will now hope to qualify through a one-game playoff.
The 48th edition of Copa América will take place in the United States from June 20 to July 14 next summer featuring the usual 10 CONMEBOL nations, six CONCACAF teams. Usually the 12 team tournament includes two invited countries, very often Mexico and another country that is either in close proximity or is in need of competitive games in the absence of a normal qualifying cycle.
With Canada, the USMNT and Mexico co-hosting the 2026 World Cup, the United States was offered the opportunity to guest host Copa América for the second time, in the absence of a World Cup qualifying cycle for the three North American squads to use as preparation.
In 2016 the U.S. hosted the Copa América Centenario, celebrating 100 years of the South American championship tournament. Messi’s Argentina were denied in the final by Chile, who were crowned Copa América champions for the second tournament in a row, at the expense of Messi who at the time was still searching for his first international trophy with Argentina.
The 2024 edition will follow a similar format, consisting of with 16 teams that will be split into four groups, with the top two moving out to the quarter-final knockout round.
Messi’s Argentines are the reigning champions, having beaten Brazil in an empty Maracanã in the last edition of the Copa América, during a Covid restricted summer of 2021. Argentina have won the tournament 15 times and would edge past Uruguay to become Copa’s most successful country with a 16th title.
Canada failed to qualify after losing the second leg of their CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final 3-2 to Jamaica on Tuesday night at BMO Field. It means the CanMNT will now face Trinidad and Tobago in a one-game playoff in March for a chance to qualify as one of two playoff-winning sides.
Related Read: Naivety, recklessness, keepy-ups: How Canada crumbled to lose to Jamaica and miss guaranteed Copa América spot
Jamaica progressed to the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals in March at AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Canada will face T&T at Pizza Hut Park, the home of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas.
(The stadium has actually been named Toyota Stadium since 2013, but the joke just slapped better with the old name. Right?)
The four CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final winners automatically qualified.
Related Read: Stoppage-time goal and penalty shootout drama sees Mexico punch ticket to Copa América
- United States
- Canada or Trinidad and Tobago
- Honduras or Costa Rica