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COPA AMERICA 2001

Preview

This is the oldest running international tournament in the world and is contested by the ten teams that make up CONMEBOL in South America. In recent years guest teams such as Mexico from CONCACAF have also been invited to the tournament. Argentina and Uruguay have traditionally dominated this tournament with Brazil not performing as well as in the World Cup. Many teams have sent weakened teams to this tournament on a regular basis but it survives although it has had many long and irregular breaks between tournaments over the years.

History

Argentina and Uruguay have won the tournament the most, both with fourteen triumphs. Brazil follows next with seven with Paraguay and Peru with two and Bolivia with one.

YEAR

WINNER

YEAR

WINNER

YEAR

WINNER

YEAR

WINNER

1910 Argentina 1926 Uruguay 1947 Argentina 1979 Paraguay
1916 Uruguay 1927 Argentina 1949 Brazil 1983 Uruguay
1917 Uruguay 1929 Argentina 1953 Paraguay 1987 Uruguay
1919 Brazil 1935 Uruguay 1955 Argentina 1989 Brazil
1920 Uruguay 1937 Argentina 1956 Uruguay 1990 Brazil
1921 Argentina 1939 Peru 1957 Argentina 1991 Argentina
1922 Brazil 1941 Argentina 1959 Uruguay 1993 Argentina
1923 Uruguay 1942 Uruguay 1963 Bolivia 1995 Uruguay
1924 Uruguay 1945 Argentina 1967 Uruguay 1997 Brazil
1925 Argentina 1946 Argentina 1975 Peru 1999 Brazil

Tournament

After problems with the kidnapping of a Colombian soccer executive, which caused the moving, then postponing, then reinstating Colombia as hosts of the tournament, it eventually started on time in the middle of 2001. The dangers of Colombia caused the withdrawal of Argentina and the doubts over whether the tournament would take place meant Canada were unable to accept their invitation. This left three guest teams Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras, with Honduras only being certain of their place the day before. The teams that did turn up often did not have their strongest squads with players of their European clubs electing for them to not go to Colombia.

In the group stage both Ecuador and Paraguay who were impressing in World Cup qualifiers failed to make the quarter-finals. Bolivia and Venezuela both lost all three games without scoring a goal. Brazil had a slow start to their group with a loss to Mexico but good performances by Denilson inspired them to win their group. The most impressive team was the hosts Colombia, and all three guest teams made it through the group stage.

In the quarter-finals the biggest shock was the loss of Brazil to Honduras, with Brazil unable to break through the Honduras defence. Costa Rica, with a good attack inspired by Paulo Wanchope of Manchester City, were knocked out by the great defence of Uruguay in a 2-1 loss Colombia and Mexico also qualified for the semi-finals.

Mexico beat Uruguay 2-1 in the first semi-final with two players from each side sent off. This was typical of most of the tournament with approximately a read card per match and poor refereeing decisions plaguing the tournament. Colombia knocked out Brazil's conquerors Honduras in the other semi-final led by tournament top scorer Victor Aristizabal. Honduras finished third in a penalty shoot-out but the tournament belonged to Colombia. The hosts beat Mexico in the final to complete a dominating performance in the tournament.

Group Stage

Group A

11/7 Ecuador        1-4 Chile

11/7 Colombia      2-0 Venezuela

14/7 Chile             1-0 Venezuela

14/7 Colombia      1-0 Ecuador

17/7 Ecuador        4-0 Venezuela

17/7 Colombia      2-0 Chile

Group B

12/7 Peru              3-3 Paraguay

12/7 Brazil            0-1 Mexico

15/7 Brazil            2-0 Peru

15/7 Paraguay       0-0 Mexico

18/7 Peru             1-0 Mexico

18/7 Brazil            3-1 Paraguay

Group C

13/7 Bolivia           0-1 Uruguay

13/7 Honduras      0-1 Costa Rica

16/7 Uruguay        1-1 Costa Rica

16/7 Honduras      2-0 Bolivia

19/7 Bolivia           0-4 Costa Rica

19/7 Honduras      1-0 Uruguay

 

Quarter-Finals

22/7 Chile            0-2 Mexico

22/7 Costa Rica   1-2 Uruguay

23/7 Colombia     3-0 Peru

23/7 Brazil           0-2 Honduras

 

Semi-Finals

25/7 Mexico        2-1 Uruguay

26/7 Colombia     2-0 Honduras

 

3rd-Place Play-Off                      PENALTIES

29/7 Uruguay       2-2 Honduras        4-5

 

Final

29/7 Mexico        0-1 Colombia       

 

Overall

Colombia were the best team in the tournament and showed it by their record of six wins, eleven goals for and none against. Victor Aristizabal showed good form to finish the tournament as top goalscorer. Wanchope also played extremely well but could not get Costa Rica past Uruguay in the quarter-finals. The non-appearance of Argentina who are leading the World Cup qualifiers puts some doubts on the legitimacy of Colombia being the South American champions, but they would have only sent a B team anyway. Brazil were disappointing but Colombia deserved their first Copa America title.

 

Top Goalscorer

6 - Victor Aristizabal     - Colombia

5 - Paulo Wanchope     - Costa Rica

3 - Cristian Montecinos - Chile

3 - Amado Guevara       - Honduras

2 - Denilson                   - Brazil

2 - Agustin Delgado       - Ecuador

2 - Saul Martinez           - Honduras

2 - Jared Borgetti           - Mexico

2 - Virgilio Ferreira        - Paraguay

 

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