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Who wins the Copa América 2021?
2021 Copa América
Like nearly every event on the sporting calendar, the Copa América has been impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. It was announced earlier this week that South America's continental Championship scheduled to take place in summer this year would be pushed back until 2021.
The European Championships have been derailed similarly. The Copa América perhaps has it slightly easier in that fans are used to dealing with the irregularity of the competition - it doesn't take place every four years like the Euros or the World Cup but rather at random intervals of CONMEBOL's choosing. But that doesn't make it a triviality, far from it. Brazil, the winners of last year's Copa America, were gearing up to try and retain their crown and their preparations have been absolutely scuppered by this news.
But it is even more heartbreakingly for Argentina and Colombia, the hosts of the tournament. Officials from the two South American nations have spent thousands of man-hours organising what was meant to be a grand sporting occasion only to see their hard work made meaningless by the coronavirus outbreak.
This was meant to be the first Copa America at the start of a cycle of them being played once every four years in the same way that most other continental competitions are. Now, however, that cycle won't start properly until 2024 in Ecuador. This carries with it many repercussions of its own for both of the next two tournaments.
Moving away from the bureaucratic implications and towards the sporting ones, Lionel Messi will be feeling this loss particularly hard. At 33 years of age, there is a strong possibility that this will be the Argentina captain's last shot at Copa America glory. He will be 36 by the time the next tournament comes around and with the future of Argentinian football not looking particularly bright it seems unlikely they will have much success in 2024. He will, of course, still be playing 2021 but how much his body will have caught up with him by that stage remains to be seen.
While it might seem quite trivial in the grand scheme of thing, the player widely regarded as the greatest of all time will be very keen to cement his already outstanding legacy by winning a first international trophy of his career.