NEW YORK: Lionel Messi and Argentina have been given a chance for revenge after being drawn against reigning Copa America champions Chile in the group stage for this summer’s special centenary edition of the tournament.
Argentina suffered an agonising defeat to Chile in the climax of last June’s tournament in Santiago as their major championship drought continued. However, Messi and his teammates have the opportunity to strike back at Chile after being drawn alongside their South American rivals in Group D.
The Copa America Centenario is taking place outside South America for the first time to mark 100 years of the world’s oldest international football tournament.
Argentina’s clash with Chile was the standout fixture from the draw at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. Panama and Bolivia complete Group D.
Hosts US will kick off the tournament against Colombia in the opening match on June 3 at Super Bowl venue Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Group A is full of demanding challenges, with 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists Colombia and Costa Rica as well as 2015 Copa America semi-finalists Paraguay joining the US.
Five-time world champions Brazil, meanwhile, were given what looked like a straightforward passage into the knockout rounds, with Ecuador, Haiti and Peru forming their opposition in Group B.
Brazil will open their campaign against Ecuador at the Pasadena Rose Bowl — scene of their 1994 World Cup final triumph — on June 4.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2016.
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