When is the 2021 Copa America? Dates, TV Channel, Schedule and Odds

The 47th edition of the Copa America gets underway on Sunday in unprecedented circumstances, even within the basket case environment that is South American soccer.

Originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, the tournament has been beset by a global pandemic, social unrest and withdrawals. A year ago, the coronavirus outbreak forced organizers to postpone the tournament by 12 months, which in turn resulted in Australia and Qatar—the two guests nation invited to the competition—withdrawing as the postponed Copa America clashes with 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Asia.

To complicate matters even further, CONMEBOL—South American soccer's governing body—has since decided to strip Colombia and Argentina of hosting rights due to a mixture of civil unrest and surging COVID-19 cases.

Just two weeks before the start of the tournament, in stepped Brazil to fill the role of host. The country hosted the last Copa America in 2019, but the carnival atmosphere has long evaporated with public opinion in Brazil split over staging the tournament in a country ravaged by coronavirus.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the tournament.

When is the 2021 Copa America?

Originally scheduled to be held last summer, the Copa America was moved because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament begins on Sunday, June 13, when defending champions Brazil face Venezuela.

The final is scheduled for July 10.

Where is the 2021 Copa America?

The short answer is Brazil, but it requires some explaining. The competition was originally scheduled to be jointly-hosted by Argentina and Colombia, marking the first since 1983 the Copa America would be held across more than one country.

Last month, however, Colombia was stripped of hosting rights due to ongoing social unrest and protests against the government, which is trying to implement a controversial tax plan.

Argentina subsequently offered to host every game, but CONMEBOL stripped the country of the hosting rights on May 30, due to a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases.

Brazil stepped in at short notice to host the tournament, despite the fact it has recorded just under 477,000 COVID-19 deaths and just over 17 million cases of coronavirus, respectively the second-highest and third-highest tolls in the world.

Brazil Copa America 2019
Dani Alves of Brazil lifts the Copa America after Brazil defeated Peru 3-1 in the final at Maracana Stadium on July 7, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Jair Bolsonaro, the country's controversial president, played down concerns over hosting the tournament and dismissed the widespread criticism he received for offering to stage the Copa America.

"From the beginning I have said about the pandemic: I regret the deaths, but we have to live."

Games will be played across the cities of Brasilia, Goiania, Cuiaba and Rio de Janeiro, with the Maracana Stadium hosting the final. The Rio de Janeiro venue staged the 2014 World Cup final and the Copa America final two years ago.

How to watch the 2021 Copa America on TV

FOX Sports will broadcast the entire tournament across its channel after recently signing a six-year deal with CONMEBOL. Univision and TUDN, meanwhile, will broadcast the tournament in Spanish.

How to watch the 2021 Copa America online

The tournament will be available online via FOX Sports, Univision and TUDN's digital platforms. Streaming services like fuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV and Vidgo will also broadcast every game.

Which teams are taking part?

The Copa America has featured at least 12 teams since 1993—the 2016 edition was expanded to 16 teams—with the 10 members of South America's soccer confederation joined by two guests either from North America or Asia.

For the first time since 1991, however, the tournament will feature only 10 teams this year as Australia and Qatar, the two previous winners of the Asian Cup, have had to decline the invite as the Copa America clashes with rearranged 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The 10 teams have been split in two groups of five, with Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela in Group A, and Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in Group B.

How does the tournament work?

Rather bizarrely, the top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter finals, with the winner of Group A facing the fourth-placed team from Group B and the winner of Group B taking on the bottom-placed team in Group A.

The runner-ups in both groups, meanwhile, will face the third-placed teams in the other group.

From the quarter finals on, the tournament follows a traditional knock-out format.

2021 Copa America TV schedule

The schedule for the first round games is as follows (all times ET)

Sunday, June 13

  • Brazil vs. Venezuela—5 p.m., FOX, Univision, TUDN
  • Colombia vs. Ecuador—8 p.m., FS2, UniMas TUDN

Monday, June 14

  • Argentina vs. Chile—5 p.m., FS1, UniMas, TUDN
  • Paraguay vs. Bolivia—8 p.m., FS1, Univision, TUDN

Which teams are the favorites?

Brazil is even odds favourite with FanDuel, as it looks to win back-to-back Copa Americas for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2004 and 2006. The omens are good for the Seleção, which has won each of the five previous Copa Americas it has hosted.

Argentina and Colombia are next in line at 11-4 and 13-2 respectively. Argentina last won the tournament in 1993 and, at 33 years of age, time is running out for Lionel Messi to restore the Albiceleste on the throne of South American soccer.

Colombia, meanwhile, last triumphed in 2001 and will hope to give their fans something to celebrate at a time when the country is going through a very delicate phase.