Every four years, Copa América hosts a whole bunch of the most exciting and skilful players in the world, with the South American continental competition pitting the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay against each other.

This year, things will be a little different. Copa América has long had a spot for an invitee, which has recently been Qatar and Japan, but in 2024, the tournament will be reeling in several participants from CONMEBOL. 

As well as this, Copa América’s 2024 hosting rights were ripped from Ecuador in favour of the United States, creating quite a unique instalment indeed. 

While squad selections don’t need to be finalized until June 12, here’s what to look out for in the star-studded tournament, from group and outright tips to predictions for Mauro Biello’s Canada team.

Why Is Copa America In The United States?

Copa América is being hosted in the United States as a way to help promote the North America-spanning 2026 FIFA World Cup as part of a strategic partnership between the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL governing bodies.

Games will be hosted from Santa Clara, California, to East Rutherford, New Jersey, with an emphasis on showcasing the South American national teams and North American invitees in the more southern states of the US.

As a part of the arrangement, six CONCACAF teams will be in attendance for the second time that the Copa América has been hosted off of the continent. Last time, in 2016, Chile beat Argentina on penalties at Metlife Stadium.

This influx of North American national teams has certainly presented some hurdles for the native Copa América countries to overcome, with Mexico weighing in as the fourth-favourites in the Copa America odds at +1100. 

Group A Tips and Predictions

Group A is headlined by the reigning World Cup and Copa América champions, featuring one of the greatest players of all time who now has plenty of experience playing across the US. 

With Lionel Messi back fit again for Inter Miami and the MLS fixtures list being as forgiving as it can be, Argentina’s captain looks set to be raring to go for another run at international honours.

Of course, Messi isn’t Argentina’s only star. La Albiceleste can also call upon Lautaro Martínez, Julián Álvarez, Enzo Fernández, Alexis Mac Allister, Cristian Romero, Rodrigo de Paul, Emiliano Martínez, and Nicolás González, to name a few others. 

Joining Argentina in Group A is the nation that got the better of them the last time Copa América came north, Chile, 2021’s fourth-place finish, Peru, and Canada. 

After making it through the CONCACAF Nations League Finals, Mauro Biello will need to rally his troops again in what looks to be an exceedingly difficult group – even if Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David are fighting fit. 

The tournament begins with Biello’s greatest test to date – and perhaps ever, regardless of how long his CANMNT tenure lasts – by facing Argentina with soccer betting odds of +900 to win and +400 to tie. 

Argentina are the obvious favourites to win Group A at -400, but it’ll be a close race between Chile and Peru, perhaps coming down to the match between the two. Canada, unfortunately, aren’t expected to escape the group. 

Group B Tips and Predictions

Copa América 2024’s Group B looks to be the closest of the lot, with Mexico (+110), Ecuador (+160), and Venezuela (+550) very much in the race to top the group. Jamaica’s out at +900, but can prove to be tricky opponents to beat.

Both Mexico and Ecuador arrive with highly-rated and still rather young core groups. Ecuador boasts Moisés Caicedo, Pervis Estupiñán, Piero Hincapié, and Willian Pacho, while Mexico matches them with Santiago Gimenez, Edson Álvarez, Hirving Lozano, and Érick Sánchez. 

Perhaps the biggest point of interest for Ecuador, however, will be Kendry Páez. Playing for Independiente in the Ecuadorian first tier, he’ll be 17-years-old when Copa América starts and already has a goal and two assists in six games for the national team.

While Jamaica have been playing much better soccer in recent years, thanks, in part, to an influx of English-born players nationalizing for the Caribbean team, Venezuela are a real wild card in Group B for qualification. 

Argentine head coach Fernando Batista has been in charge of Venezuela since March 2023 and now boasts a 5-5-2 record. Highlights of that record include a 2-1 loss to Italy in Italy, a 1-1 tie with Brazil away, and a 3-0 win over Chile. 

Venezuela will arrive with the aim of being tough to beat in midfield, closing down all over the pitch, and aiming to squeeze the ball up to hefty centre forward Salomón Rondón – who already has three goals and two assists under Batista. 

Ecuador look better equipped than Mexico to top Group B at Copa América 2024, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Venezuela grind out the results needed to sneak into second, pipping Mexico. 

That is, unless the residents of Mexican heritage in and around the host cities can create an almost home-game-like atmosphere for Mexico when they play, offering a boost on the pitch. 

Group C Tips and Predictions

The odds for Copa América Group C would suggest that it’s a fairly close race for the top spot with Uruguay at -133 and the United States at +138, but if both bring their respective A-game, there’s only one true favourite.

Uruguay have been transformed under Marcelo Bielsa, fully embodying his slightly tweaked form of the famed “Bielsa-ball.” Since his first game in June 2023, Uruguay have six wins, two losses, and a tie. 

Across those games, La Celeste have kept four clean sheets, two of which came in 2-0 wins over Brazil at home and Argentina away. They’ve dropped points to Ecuador (1-2), Colombia (2-2), and Ivory Coast (2-1) in a friendly.

The United States have performed well enough under Gregg Berhalter, but up until the CONCACAF Nations League Finals, the team was only really beating teams that they were the favourites against. 

Mexico was a good test, and the US came out on top 2-0 when it mattered, so they should be able to make short work of Panama and Bolivia, but against Uruguay in the last game of the group, it’d take some effort to get a positive result. 

That said, Panama did manage to take the US to penalties and beat them in the semi-finals of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, only losing to Mexico 1-0 in the final. 

With the way that they’re playing right now, Uruguay look set to stroll to the top of Group C, followed by the United States if Panama don’t throw a stick in their spokes once again.

Group D Tips and Predictions

No Neymar? No problem. Brazil has a seemingly endless conveyor belt of forward talents forever breaking into the national team, with Seleção Canarinha currently headlined by Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo, and Raphinha. 

However, even though Brazil are the natural favourites to top Group D at -250, this is Dorival Júnior’s first stint as a national team coach and he only has two games (1-0 win over England and 3-3 tie with Spain, both away) under his belt. 

He is an incredibly experienced coach with over 20 years on his résumé – predominantly in the Brazilian top flight – but this does help to open the door to Colombia at +275.

Rocking up with the likes of Luis Díaz, Jefferson Lerma, and Daniel Muñoz, Néstor Lorenzo is undefeated in 18 games in charge of Colombia. 

Top triumphs in that run stretching back to September 2022 include a 3-2 win in Mexico, 2-1 win in Japan, 2-0 win in Germany, 2-2 tie with Bielsa’s Uruguay, 2-1 win over Brazil, and a 1-0 win in Spain. 

Paraguay put in a good knock at Copa América 2021, advancing to the quarter-finals and only being taken down by Peru on penalties. 

They certainly have some X-factor players (like Miguel Almirón and Julio Enciso) and have been defensively stout since Daniel Garnero came into the job last October, but the big teams find a way through.

Costa Rica are in a similar position to Paraguay with a rather new head coach and struggles in their opening games.

Two losses to Panama to open his tenure was balanced by two home wins against El Salvador and Honduras, but a 3-1 loss to Argentina in a friendly this March demonstrates the level that they’re at right now. 

Overall, Group D looks to grant passage to Brazil and Colombia, but perhaps not in the order the odds forecast. Of the two, Colombia look better set to win the group and have recent history of beating Brazil when they meet. 

Copa America 2024 Outright Predictions

Argentina are, deservedly, the outright favourites at +175 to take the Copa América crown. 

The odds would lean towards Argentina and Brazil winning their groups and then being unable to meet until the final – where Argentina notoriously get the better of their north-eastern neighbours. 

Still, even with 36-year-old Messi being one of the most reliable players in world soccer, two teams in particular are very well positioned to upset the odds: Uruguay and Colombia. 

Group C and Group D qualifiers won’t meet Argentina until the final if the reigning champions go all the way. Uruguay and Colombia look to be the top teams for those two groups, which could create quite the spectacle in the semi-finals. 

From Group B, Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela could offer Argentina some trouble, as could Chile from Group A, but none of them look capable of matching an Argentina firing on all cylinders. 

In a final, though, with some tricky and determined soccer, Uruguay and Colombia can beat Argentina and would certainly be fired up to do so. 

With the odds out at +500 and +1200, these dark horses are certainly worth a good look in the futures market for Copa América 2024.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to Alamy*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.