MIAMI: Next year’s Copa America, featuring 10 South American nations and six North American teams, will be held across 14 US cities across 10 states, the South American Football Conf­ederation (CONMEBOL) said on Monday.

CONMEBOL had already announced that the June 20 opener would be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia with the final on July 14 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The first semi-final will be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey with the other at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, while AT&T Stad­ium in Arlington, Texas, NRG Stadium in Houston, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona and Allegiant Stad­ium in Las Vegas, Nevada, will host quarter-final matches.

Other venues are Q2 Stad­ium in Austin, Texas, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, and Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

Group play will take place from June 20 through July 2. The quarter-finals will be held July 4-6, semi-finals July 9 and 10 and the third-place match on July 13.

“According to the dynamics of the competition, two groups will play in the west and center of the country, and two groups in the east and center,” CONMEBOL said in a statement. “The competition will move in an easterly direction, the quarter-finals will be played in the west and center, while the semi-final and final will take place in the east.”

The tournament, typically held in South America, will serve as a tune-up for the US ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which the United States is co-hosting with Mexico and Canada.

“The passion of football will run through this great country from east to west and from north to south, bringing excit­ement and fun to hundreds of thousands of fans at the venues and millions of spectators around the world,” predicted Alejandro Domin­guez, president of CONM­EBOL and FIFA vice president.

The draw for the tournament, which will see Argen­tina defending their title, is on Thursday.

Argentina beat hosts Brazil at the 2021 Copa America for their first major title in 28 years.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2023

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