Since being established in 1916, Copa America has become one of the world’s most remarkable football tournaments. Besides the fierce competition of the top teams, Copa America has witnessed some interesting events over the century.
Here are five amazing stories from the Copa America.
1. Hatred Argentina – Uruguay
The most famous competition in international football is between Brazil and Argentina. But when it comes to Copa America, Argentina considers Uruguay as their biggest rivals for several reasons. These are the two most successful teams in Copa America (Argentina has 14 tittles and Uruguay, 15). However, their rivalry in the tournament started in 1930.
In the first FIFA World Cup, Uruguay defeated Argentina in the final 4-2. The Argentinians were annoyed that the referee favored the host team. The rage was so high that in Argentina, the crowd of extremist fans threw stones at the Uruguayan consulate.
The enmity between the two football federations grew, causing Copa America to be suspended for 6 years. It was not until 1935 that the new Copa America was reorganized. And once again, the Argentinians hated when they lost 0-3 to Uruguay in the final match. The encounter between Uruguay and Argentina always become the focal point of the tournament, where the fans screamed loudly while the players rolled into each other like beasts. In the 15 times Uruguay became the champion, there are up to 10 times the runner up was Argentina. Therefore, in the eyes of Argentina, Uruguay is their first rival.
2. The shock named Honduras at the Copa America 2001
Argentina’s withdrawal from the 2001 edition due to security threats helped Brazil be considered as an absolute power in the tournament held in Colombia. But the biggest shock in Copa America history happened when Felipe Scolari’s men were eliminated by guest team Honduras.
Brazil was the current World Cup runner-up. Although they did not bring the strongest team to the Copa America 2001, they still had many stars like Juninho Pernambucano, Emerson, Denilson, Mario Jardel, Juliano Belletti. Whereas, Honduras is just considered a “road team”.
After suddenly passing the group stage, Honduras confronted Brazil in the quarter-finals. The team in CONCACAF region made Selecao stunned with the speed-up shots. Honduras took the lead through a deflected goal after a goalless first half. The Brazilians’ misery was complete when Honduras scored again at the death. This match has been always remembered as the greatest upset in the tournament’s history.