Argentina's Lionel Messi controls the ball during a qualifying soccer...

Argentina's Lionel Messi controls the ball during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup 2026 against Uruguay at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Two players regarded as key for Argentina's renovation will be in the United States for the tournament, Brighton left back Valentín Barco and Monza striker Valentín Carboni. Credit: AP/Gustavo Garello

A capsule look at each team in the 2024 Copa America:

GROUP A

Argentina

Best Finish: titles in 1921, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1955, 1959, 1991, 1993, and 2021.

Coach: Lionel Scaloni

Key Players: Lionel Messi, Alexis Mac Allister, Lautaro Martinez

WHAT TO KNOW: Argentina will play as the favorite to defend its Copa America title. The tournament could mark the 36-year-old Messi’s final act with the national team. It could also give the number 10 a final push towards the 2026 World Cup. The early rounds of South American World Cup qualifiers suggest Messi's international run could be extended, as Argentina tops the qualifying after six matches. But a good performance at Copa America could prove decisive for his future. Midfielder Mac Allister will have a good opportunity to show he has developed further as a player if he can keep Argentina moving when Messi’s energy goes down during games. Striker Martinez will have another chance to show a good club season for him in Europe can translate into great form with the national team.

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Peru

Best finish: titles in 1939 and 1975

Coach: Jorge Fossati

Key players: Pedro Gallese, Luis Advíncula, Gianluca Lapadula

WHAT TO KNOW: Fossati became Peru coach in December with the team at the bottom of the 10-team round robin South American World Cup qualifying. A goalless draw with Paraguay at home on June 7, amid Copa America preparations, suggests not much has improved since. Nothing seems to work on a team that is still tied to veteran players, like goalkeeper Gallese, defender Advincula and striker Lapadula. And newcomers don't seem ready to challenge. Fossati will not start the tournament under pressure, but a first-round elimination in a tough group could make his life in the Peru job difficult very soon.

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Chile

Best finish: titles in 2015 and 2016

Coach: Ricardo Gareca

Key players: Claudio Bravo, Alexis Sánchez, Ben Brereton

WHAT TO KNOW: Chile has struggled to leave its golden generation behind, and its Copa America squad shows it. Goalkeeper Bravo (41) and striker Sanchez (35) are sure to be among the key players on a team that has struggled to compete against fitter rivals in recent years. Defender Gary Medel (36) and midfielder Arturo Vidal (37) didn't make the cut but were not far from being included. Gareca, who took Peru to the World Cup in 2018, has yet to find a starting lineup since he joined in January. A recent 3-0 win against Paraguay gave new hope to the team ahead of the tournament, but it is unlikely Chile will find such weak opposition at the start of the group stage.

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Canada

Best finish: Will make its debut

Coach: Jesse Marsch

Key players: Alphonso Davies, Tajon Buchanan, Jonathan David

WHAT TO KNOW: Jesse Marsch took over as team manager in mid-May after spending a year at the helm of Leeds United. He has already managed a couple of warm-up matches for Copa America, a 4-0 loss to the Netherlands and 0-0 draw against France. After a disappointing World Cup in Qatar, where the team lost all three of its matches, Canada Soccer is hoping Marsch can do better against tough competition in Copa America, including facing off against reigning world champion Argentina.

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GROUP B

Mexico

Best finish: Runner up in 1993 and 2001

WHAT TO KNOW: Jaime Lozano made a surprising move before Copa America by leaving off veterans Guillermo Ochoa, Raul Jiménez, Hirving Lozano and Jesus Gallardo, as well as Henry Martin, because he is trying to give new players a chance to prove they can compete for a spot in the 2026 World Cup. So far, the experiment is not going well. Mexico lost 4-0 against Uruguay and 3-2 against Brazil in friendlies ahead of the tournament, leaving many pundits wondering if the move to go younger at this moment was right. As the friendly games have shown, Mexico is weak on defense. Besides Ochoa’s absence, the team has lost projected starting goalkeeper Luis Malagón to an injury.

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Ecuador

Best finish: fourth place in 1959 2nd edition and 1993

Coach: Félix Sánchez Bas

Key players: Piero Hincapié, Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo

WHAT TO KNOW: Ecuador remains one of the most competitive national teams in South America, much of it due to a generation of players that has been developed at local clubs Independiente del Valle and Liga de Quito. It is in fifth position in the regional World Cup qualifying despite starting with -3 points due to a penalty. But it has yet to show it can play well. Striker Valencia is struggling to score for the national team, and midfielder Caicedo has yet to show the pace he had prior to his move to Chelsea. The team's defense is set to be a strength, led by defender Hincapié, who had a great season with German champions Bayer Leverkusen.

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Venezuela

Best finish: fourth place in 2011

Coach: Fernando Batista

Key players: Jeferson Soteldo, Yangel Herrera, Salomón Rondón

WHAT TO KNOW: Venezuela seems set to qualify for the World Cup for the first time, and its strengths are likely to show during Copa America. The team’s top form, which includes an away draw at Brazil in World Cup qualifying, was built by coach José Pekerman, who left the job in March last year without providing any explanation. When many feared Venezuela would once again tank, Batista managed to keep the team's up front power and improve its transitions. Midfielder Soteldo is recovering from a right thigh injury, and his health could be decisive for the team's future in the tournament.

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Jamaica

Best finish: Last place in group stage (2015 and 2016)

Coach: Heimir Hallgrímsson

Key players: Bobby Decordova-Reid, Shamar Nicholson and Cory Burke.

WHAT TO KNOW: The Reggae Boyz will appear in the South American tournament for the third time looking to break a six-game losing streak. Its first opponent, Mexico, could be the most difficult one, despite the absence of some key players. Jamaica will miss Michail Antonio, a 34-year-old veteran who declined to participate. It’s still unclear if his club, West Ham, influenced his decision to skip the tournament. Antonio suffered an injury while playing for Jamaica last November. Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson has been with the team since 2022 and had good moments in the League of Nations, including a win over Canada that secured their spot in Copa America.

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GROUP C:

Uruguay

Best finish: titles in 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959 2nd edition, 1967, 1983, 1995, and 2011.

Coach: Marcelo Bielsa

Key players: Federico Valverde, Darwin Núñez, Luis Suárez

WHAT TO KNOW: Bielsa has begun a rebuilding process in Uruguay, but he can’t give up on veteran players as he assembles his squad for the tournament. Striker Núñez had a reasonable season at Liverpool, in which he scored 18 goals in 54 matches. He is expected to step up as 37-year-old Edinson Cavani retired from the national team. Núñez will have to count on veteran Suárez, playing his fifth Copa America, to help him up front. Uruguay beat Mexico 4-0 in a friendly early in June to suggest that any rival that does not respect its strikers will suffer. Midfielder Valverde will be the team's leader in the U.S.

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United States

Best finish: Fourth place in 1995 and 2016

Coach: Gregg Berhalter

Key players: Christian Pulisic, John Sargent, Folarin Balogun

WHAT TO KNOW: The U.S. has already proven to be the top team in CONCACAF after beating Mexico in the League of Nations final for the second year in a row. Copa America gives the Americans an opportunity to show they can give the South Americans trouble. The team lost 5-1 to Colombia, a nation that is riding a 22-game unbeaten streak, but then played a good match against Brazil, one of the top two contenders alongside Argentina. The U.S. team looks to be the favorite to move on to the second round with Uruguay, although Panama will be tough to beat. The problem for the Americans should they finish second behind Uruguay is there's a good chance they would meet Brazil in the quarterfinals.

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Panamá

Best finish: First round 2016

Coach: Thomas Christiansen

Key players: Michael Murillo, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Luis Mejía

WHAT TO KNOW: Under Thomas Christensen, the Panamanians have shown consistent progress even though they missed the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Christiansen remains at the helm despite that and last year the team was the runner-up in the Gold Cup and this year they made their way to the Nations League semifinals. Led by the Houston Dynamo’s Adalberto Carrasquilla, the player of the tournament in last year’s Gold Cup, Panama will try to upset the group favorites Uruguay and the United States. The team arrives at the tournament after securing a couple of victories in the CONCACAF qualifiers against Guyana and Montserrat. The ‘Canaleros’ will have a final warmup against Paraguay before facing Uruguay.

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Bolivia

Best finish: title in 1963

Coach: Antonio Carlos Zago

Key players: Carlos Lampe, Gabriel Villamil, César Menacho

WHAT TO KNOW: Bolivia has had a slow start under coach Zago, as its penultimate place in South American World Cup qualifying shows, but the team continues to field young players while looking to the future. Bolivia's hopes in Copa America lie in players who are more like 24-year-old striker Menacho, one of the top goal scorers of his country's national championship. A few veterans remain, including goalkeeper Lampe. The team will miss striker Marcelo Martins, who retired in March at age 36. Unlike most of its competitors, Bolivia's squad mostly includes local players.

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GROUP D

Brazil

Best finish: title in 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007, and 2019.

Coach: Dorival Júnior

Key players: Vinicius Júnior, Endrick and Lucas Paquetá

WHAT TO KNOW: New coach, new starters and no Neymar. Brazil is likely to be competitive at Copa America as the team's performances in friendlies this year suggest, but it is hard to see Júnior's team as heavy favorites. There are a few evident starters in goalkeeper Alisson, defender Éder Militão, midfielder Paquetá and winger Júnior but that is about it. Teenager Endrick has delivered goals since he was first called up to the senior team in March, but Brazil's coach has not yet decided whether he or Rodrygo will start. Brazil's bench is filled with players getting their first opportunity with the national team.

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Colombia

Best finish: title in 2001

Coach: Néstor Lorenzo

Key players: Jefferson Lerma, James Rodríguez, Luis Díaz

WHAT TO KNOW: Unbeaten for 18 matches, Colombia is one of the favorites to win Copa America, something the team has not done in 23 years. Before beating the United States 5-1 amid preparations for the tournament, Colombia beat Brazil 2-1 in South American World Cup qualifying and topped both Spain and Germany in friendlies in Europe. Midfielder Rodríguez, who has struggled to play for his clubs in recent years, has delivered good performances for the national team. Colombia is in third place in World Cup qualifying, and a convincing campaign at Copa America could make its physical and skillful team aim higher in the next few years.

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Paraguay

Best finish: titles in 1953 and 1979

Coach: Daniel Garnero

Key players: Diego Gómez, Gustavo Gómez, Miguel Almirón

WHAT TO KNOW: Paraguay will use Copa America and the Paris Olympics to try to secure a spot at the 2026 World Cup. Garnero is trying to rejuvenate his squad with the support of two key veterans: defender Gómez, one of the best on the continent since he arrived in Brazil's Palmeiras, and veteran striker Almirón. The performances of 21-year-old midfielder Gómez of Inter Miami will be key for the Paraguayans to have any hopes of getting through the group. The tournament will also help the coach adjust his team to recover in World Cup qualifying, which currently sees Paraguay in 7th, out of the qualification zone.

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Costa Rica

Best finish: quarterfinals in 2004

Coach: Gustavo Alfaro

Key players: Francisco Calvo, Joel Campbell and Manfred Ugalde

WHAT TO KNOW: After leading Ecuador to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Alfaro became the Ticos' coach last November, replacing Luis Fernando Suárez. Under Alfaro, the team is making a transition and several key players from the past are gone, including iconic goalkeeper Keylor Navas and veterans Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz, leaving Joel Campbell and Francisco Calvo as the only veterans on the squad. Costa Rica has won its two World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis and had a 0-0 draw against Uruguay on May 31. Alfaro and his players know sharing the group with Brazil and Colombia, two of the contenders in the tournament, will not be an easy task, especially with a young team facing its first major test.

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