The prospect of a second COVID-19 wave across Australia is feeling more and more like a matter of when, not if, the further we plough through this pandemic together.
Australia face an uphill battle to make it out of the 2020 Copa America group stage, after the draw reveal today put them in the same group as tournament hosts Argentina.
Graham Arnold’s side has been placed in the South zone, alongside Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Australia’s opening match will be against Uruguay – against whom the Socceroos famously secured qualification for the 2006 World Cup. You can view the full Socceroos Copa America fixtures here.
The North zone group will comprise Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Qatar – the other guest nation. The group stage will consist of a five-match round-robin, with the top four teams in each group progressing to the quarter-finals.
The Socceroos were invited, alongside the 2022 World Cup hosts, by CONMEBOL to compete in the 47th edition of Copa America between June 12 and July 12, 2020. CONMEBOL have invited guest nations from the North American and Asian confederations since 1993. While no guest nation has ever managed to win the tournament, Mexico did reach the final in 1993 and 2001.
At the time of invitation last year, FFA chairman Chris Nikou said he was “ecstatic” that the Socceroos would be participating in the tournament. “We have been working hard over the last six months to improve our international relationships. This week we held fruitful final discussions with our colleagues at CONMEBOL in Paris and we are delighted we have been able to accept this invitation,” he said.
FFA CEO David Gallop said, at the time, that the Socceroos would “benefit from the experience of testing themselves out against some of the best players in the world.”
Having risen two places to no.42 in the latest FIFA men’s rankings, Australia are the fifth-ranked side in their group, behind Uruguay (5), Argentina (9), Chile (17) and Paraguay (40), while sitting ahead of Bolivia (76).