Copa America is one of the prestigious tournaments in the world. It is also football’s oldest national team competition in the world. The South American football championship started its journey in 1916 and this year will be its 48th edition. The early years of the tournament were extremely disorganised. There were no fixed venues and schedules ran throughout the year. Copa America also faced irregularities with the time gap between each edition. Initially, there was no year gap between the editions. Then irregularities of two-three-four year gaps kept happening. Uruguay is the most successful team in the competition with 15 titles to its name. We’ll focus on the Copa America winners list of its last 10 editions.
Although Uruguay has the highest number of titles in the history of the tournament they haven’t been dominant in the last 10 editions. They managed to win the tournament twice (1995,2011) in the last 10 editions. They beat Brazil in 1995 final 1-1 (5-3 Pen) and acquired their 14th title. In 2011, Uruguay won the tournament after defeating Paraguay 3–0 in the final, giving them a record 15th Copa América title and their first since 1995. Luis Suarez was the most valuable player in the tournament and Paolo Guerrero from Peru was the top scorer with 5 goals.
Brazil has been dominating the tournament for the past few decades. They have won the championship 5 times out of the last 10 editions. They had a very strong squad from 1997-2004 which also won the 2002 Worldcup. Brazil at that time was a nightmare for the opponents. Legends like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Nazario, Roberto Carlos were part of the superior Brazil squad.
- In 1997 they beat hosts Bolivia 3-1 in the final and became the first team to hold the Copa América and the World Cup at the same time. Ronaldo became their highest scorer in the tournament with five goals. While the top scorer of the tournament was Luis Hernandez with six goals.
- Despite a disappointing Worldcup final loss in 1998 against France, they went on to win the 1999 Copa America. They beat the youth team of Uruguay 3-0 in the final to lift their sixth title. With five goals apiece, Ronaldo and Rivaldo were the tournament’s top scorers.
- 2004 final was a nailbiter where Brazil beat Argentina 2-2(4-2 Pen) at the shootout. Brazil won their seventh title in Peru. With seven goals, Adriano (Brazil) became the top scorer in the tournament. They held both the Copa America and Worldcup titles at the same time for the second time after 1997.
- Brazil won the 2007 Copa America once again by defeating Argentina in the finals. They bagged their eighth title in Venezuela with a 3-0 victory in the finals. The defending champions looked unstoppable the whole tournament. Top Goalscorer and Most Valuable Player: Robinho
- Hosts Brazil bagged their ninth title in 2019, beating Peru 3-1 in the final. Dani Alves was the best player in the tournament and was rewarded the Golden ball. Everton (Brazil) won the Golden boot by scoring 3 goals. Allison won the Golden Gloves.
Colombia hosted the 2001 Copa America tournament. They won the tournament for the 1st time without conceding a goal. They won the tournament and bagged their maiden title after defeating Mexico 1-0 in the finals. Víctor Aristizábal was their main man and he was also the top scorer in the competition with 6 goals.
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The host’s Chile won their first title in 2015 defeating Argentina in a penalty shoot-out (4-1) after a goalless draw. Messi scored the only penalty for his team that year. Chile’s Eduardo Vargas and Peru’s Paolo Guerrero scored the most goals, with 4 each.
The Copa América Centenario was hosted in the United States in 2016. The competition was a celebration of the centenary of CONMEBOL and the Copa América and was the first Copa América hosted outside South America. Chile became the fourth nation to win at least two consecutive titles in CONMEBOL tournaments, after Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Argentina, meanwhile, lost their third consecutive final in a major tournament. Chile defeated Argentina in yet another final in a penalty shoot-out (4-2) after a goalless draw. Lionel Messi missed the ever crucial penalty and broke down after they lost. He could’ve won an international trophy but he missed out. Messi announced his retirement but came back after multiple requests. Chile’s Eduardo Vargas received the Golden Boot award for scoring six goals.
The 28-year trophy drought of Argentina came to an end when they beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America 2021 finals. Argentina qualified for the knockout stages after topping group A. Leo Messi completed his goal of winning a major international tournament with Argentina. He was also awarded the best player of the tournament award and was also the top scorer with 4 goals. However, Luis Diaz of Colombia also had 4 goals to his name, Messi clinched the award off him for providing more assists.