After a lot of debate about whether or not the tournament should go through, the 2021 Copa America has now begun. Hosts Brazil picked up the win in the first match of the tournament against Venezuela in a 3-0 victory.
There were a lot of obstructions to the tournament being conducted due to the spike of coronavirus cases in Argentina and Colombia that caused the plans to hold the tournament to be shifted to Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro was quick to volunteer Brazil’s services despite concerns about the virus.
The Copa America held in 2019 was due to the alignment with the European calendar, and the next one will be held in 2024. The players were set to boycott this year’s Copa America, owing to the controversial decisions from the authorities. However, they ultimately conceded and followed the national team into the tournament.
With that said, the Copa America is being held with massive health precautions. PCR tests are mandatory for all players and media personnel ahead of matches. Fans are also not allowed to attend games to minimise the spread of the disease.
Incidentally, everytime that Brazil has hosted the tournament, they have come out as victors. The last five occurrences of them being the host countries in 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989 and 2019 has always resulted in a victory. And now, the defending champions go up against other favourites Argentina and Uruguay to successfully defend their title. The coaches have been given the liberty to name 28-man squads to cope with the situation, and for the next month or so, we have South American football to enjoy.