The Copa America

Posted by adminComments Off on The Copa AmericaAug 12, 2011

The Copa America, perhaps more than any other continental tournament, is blessed with an enormous collection of unbelievably talented players, players that truly fall into the bracket of ‘global superstar’. This year’s edition kicked off last week, with Argentina looking to end an 18 year wait for silverware at senior level in front of their own fans.

A look at the team sheets suggests that the hosts should have more than enough quality so see the job through, the team is bursting with talent, not least the likes of a certain Lionel Messi, who will be carrying the weight of the country’s expectations on his slender shoulders.

The Copa America has, in recent years, experienced something of a renaissance, higher quality competitions with more importance placed on them have seen greater competition for television rights, which has helped put more money back into the competition. This year’s version, in stunning HD quality, has continued this trend. In the UK, the appeal of the Copa has been based upon the previous five tournaments being shown on Sky, though it has moved this year to ESPN.

Still, the punters don’t come without the quality, and the Copa has benefited from being moved in the South American schedule. With no qualifying necessary, South America’s teams have enjoyed a year of experimenting with new squads after the World Cup, and in just a few more months those same squads will begin the long qualifying process for Brazil 2014. The Copa is the first opportunity to see how those sides will shape up, and to get a look at some of the fresh new talent, like Palermo’s superstar Javier Pastore, who have been making waves this side of the Pacific.

The resurgence of the Copa on the world stage also mirrors the resurgence of South American domestic football, particularly in Brazil where economic growth has seen clubs being able to afford to keep some of their stars for longer, and attract established ones back home. It’s a virtuous cycle, and as the quality level continues to rise, so too will attention around the world, leading to bigger television contracts (with the likes of 3D on the way) and bigger advertising revenue, hopefully leading to greater investment in the sport.

Since the 1950s, Europe has been the focus of the global game even if many of it’s stars came from South America, so, this Copa America may go down in history as the one which demonstrated above all that South American football is once again a global footballing force, and that can be no bad thing for world football.

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