The 2019 summer Copa America tournament of South American teams kicks off Friday with hosts Brazil taking on Bolivia. The group stage will last until June 24th, with the knockout stages finding a winner in the final on July 7.

Chile have won the tournament the past two times and will be looking for a hat trick of trophies in the space of six years. South American teams aren’t the only teams in the tournament, however, as for the first time in the history of the tournament, two teams from Asia — Japan and Qatar — were invited to participate in the tournament.

Per Oddschecker, Brazil are favorites to hoist the cup with 6-5 odds, followed by Argentina (15-4) and Uruguay (15-2). Brazil are without Neymar for the remainder of the tournament, as he suffered a right ankle injury in a friendly against Qatar on June 5.

The Brazil Football Confederation released a statement on Neymar’s status.

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“After suffering a sprain in his right ankle during Wednesday’s game against Qatar, Neymar was evaluated and subjected to complementary imaging tests that confirmed ligament rupture in the ankle,” the statement read, according to ESPN. “Due to the seriousness of the injury, Neymar will not have the physical conditions and sufficient recovery time to participate in the Copa America.” Neymar also faces rape charges.

Brazil remains favorites, as Argentina has a track record of performing poorly in major international tournaments, as Lionel Messi has famously failed to win any trophies with his nation. This tournament seems to be following the same suit.


“We go there with the same excitement and hope as always but the reality is we are in a period of transition and are not candidates,” Messi said, according to the Independent. Despite the team having one of the best strike forces in the world, the remainder of the squad can’t seem to match their ability. Argentina hasn’t won a Copa America since 1993.

Argentina open their tournament run against Colombia, a solid side led by playmaker James Rodriguez. Oddly enough, Japan or Qatar have a chance of winning the Copa America before Messi could. The Copa America will be broadcasted in Spanish on Telemundo, or it can be streamed with ESPN+, with Brazil opening against Bolivia on Friday at 8:30 p.m. EST.


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