U.S. draws Colombia to launch Copa America Centenario

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 21, 2016 9:17 PM

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The hosting United States will open the 2016 Copa America Centenario against Colombia after Sunday's draw for the 100th anniversary edition of the longest running international championship in soccer.

The U.S.-Colombia Group A match on June 3 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., launches a 16-team version of the South American championship that has expanded by four teams and is being staged outside the CONMEBOL nations for the first time.

Brazil opens Group B competition against Ecuador at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif, on June 4, one day before Mexico gets Group C started against Uruguay at University of Phoenix Stadium at Glendale, Arizona.

Argentina, a 14-times winner of the championship and host of the inaugural competition in 1916, begins Group D play against defending champions Chile on June 6 at Levi's Stadium.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, a five-times world player of the year, has already committed to playing the tournament and organizers hope that Brazil's Neymar, Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Chile's Alexis Sanchez will also be among the world's top players to compete in this Olympic year.

The final of the prestigious tournament will be held on June 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

(Editing by Andrew Both)