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Copa América draw: USMNT to face Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia

The draw for next summer’s Copa America has placed the tournament host United States in a group with the competition’s joint all-time champion  Uruguay, while fellow Concacaf invitee  Mexico will face Ecuador.

Current titleholder and defending champion  Argentina — tied with Uruguay for the most Copa titles of all time — is set for a clash against two-time winner  Peru in the group stage, and in the fourth group, nine-time winner  Brazil will take on 2021 third-place finisher  Colombia.

CONMEBOL’s Copa America will have 16 teams, including six Concacaf invitees: 2023-24 Nations League semifinalist Mexico, the U.S.,  Jamaica and  Panama, as well as the two winners of play-in games ( Canada vs. Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica vs. Honduras) that will be held March 23.

Alongside the U.S. in its start to the competition in Group C are Uruguay, Panama and Bolívia. Uruguay was the highest-ranked unseeded team the U.S. could face in the first round.

“If there’s not pressure, you don’t get diamonds,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

The top two teams in each group move on to the quarterfinals. If the U.S. advances, it will meet Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica or Honduras. By winning its group, the U.S. might avoid a quarterfinal against the Brazilians.

“You know what’s lurking around the corner in Group D, most likely, so you want to try to finish first,” Berhalter said. “Brazil is one of the favorites to win the tournament, so it’s going to be a real challenge in that next round, so you’d like to play them in the semifinals.”

With a home-field advantage and a roster filled with promising young players, the host will aim to build off its top-four finish in the 2016 edition of the tournament that was played on U.S. soil for the first time.  Chile beat Argentina on penalty kicks in the 2016 final following a 0-0 draw.

In Group B, Mexico is joined by Ecuador, Venezuela and Jamaica.

Struggling in its past three tournament invitations and failing to provide a run past the quarterfinal stage, Mexico, which won the 2023 Gold Cup, will look to turn its fortunes around after a stunning 7-0 loss to Chile in its most recent Copa America appearance in 2016.

“A well-balanced group,” Mexico’s Jaime Lozano said to the national team’s social media channels about the Group B draw. “I think that all the opponents are in a good moment. Jamaica entered the [Concacaf Nations League] final four, they’ve done things really well and were also in the semifinals of the Gold Cup. Then Ecuador and Venezuela, they’re also teams that, respectively, in World Cup qualifying, they’re also in a good position.”

World Cup champions Argentina kicks off its tournament run against Group A opponents Peru, Chile, and the winner of Canada vs. Trinidad and Tobago.

But Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni, who has recently hinted about stepping down, did not confirm his presence in next year’s tournament.

“I’m here because I’m the coach,” Scaloni said when asked by TyC Sports if he’ll still be in charge at the Copa America. “I said after the game with Brazil [for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers] that it’s a personal moment to think and I’m still in that moment of thinking.”

Brazil, joined in Group D by Colombia, Paraguay and the winner of Costa Rica vs. Honduras, will seek to bounce back after a recent run of worrisome World Cup qualifying matches and a second-place finish as hosts of the 2021 Copa America.

The Copa America comprises a group stage that runs from June 20 to July 2, quarterfinals July 4-6, semifinals July 9-10, a third-place match July 13 and the final July 14.

Earlier this week, the 14 U.S. venues that will host Copa America matches were officially unveiled. The semifinals will take place at MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey) and Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina), while Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida) will host the final.

Seven of the Copa América stadiums are among the 11 U.S. sites to be used for the 2026 World Cup: Arlington; Atlanta; East Rutherford; Houston; Inglewood; Kansas City, Missouri; and Santa Clara.

The opening game will be June 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta between Argentina and the winner of Canada vs. Trinidad and Tobago.

In the previous Copa America in 2021, Argentina defeated tournament host Brazil 1-0 in the final.

Copa America 2024 draw

Group A: Argentina, Peru, Chile, winner of Canada vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Group B: Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Jamaica

Group C: United States, Uruguay, Panama, Bolivia

Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, winner of Costa Rica vs. Honduras

Source : ABCNews