Looking at the past winners of the Copa America before this year’s 100th edition.
The upcoming Copa America Centenario will be the 45th edition of the tournament. While the Copa America is usually held during a four-year cycle, they will be holding one a year after their last one to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the competition, hence the term “Centenario.”
They usually wouldn’t dare run during the same time as the Euros, but they had to make an exception this time around. After this, though, they will return to their four-year cycle by having the next edition in 2019.
With 100 years of history, the Copa America has had lots of memorable moments, and winners. The most successful team in the tournament’s history is Uruguay (15), while Argentina have hosted the tournament the most times (9).
The host team has often had lots of success with the Copa America, having won 21 out of a possible 44 times. That should give the United States a lot of hope heading into the Centenario, but the odds are hopelessly stacked against them. You can’t stop guys like James Rodriguez and Lionel Messi – you can only hope to contain them.
From 1916 to 1967, the Copa America was simply known as the “South American Championship”, and only had four teams for the first four editions. In the early stages, the winner rotated between Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina until Peru won it in 1939.
The tournament then became known as the Copa America in 1975, and the first winner was Peru. 1993 was when they expanded the field to 12 to include two CONCACAF teams, although no North American team has ever won the competition.
Among the Big Three, Uruguay has won the Copa America 15 times, with Argentina not far behind at 14, followed by Brazil with eight. There have only been five other winners outside of that field, with both Paraguay and Peru winning it twice, then Chile, Colombia, and Bolivia winning it once. Those last three teams needed the boost of hosting to win it, too.
As it stands, Ecuador and Venezuela are the only South American countries to never win the Copa America, but with the growing talent in the CONMEBOL region, the hope is that there will be a greater sense of parity in the tournament.
List of tournament winners provided by Wikipedia.