Best Copa America Moments

Best Copa America Moments: A flashback on the memorable moments from the Competition

The Copa America, the oldest international tournament, is all set to begin on June 20 in the United States. Since its inception in 2016, the competition has provided several iconic moments, breathtaking goals, and unforgettable events.

Legendary players like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Pele, and Ronaldo have graced the stage and sparked endless disputes among the fans. Uruguay and Argentina have been the most successful South American sides with 15 tiles, followed by Brazil with nine trophies.

Given the sheer amount of talent some of these countries produce, it’s no surprise that some of the greatest moments in football have graced the Copa America. Let’s dive into some of the Best Copa America moments over the years.

1. Hondarus’ 2001 run to the semi-final

Hondarus' 2001 run to the semi-final
Hondarus’ 2001 run to the semi-final (Getty Images)

Honduras were the last-minute replacement for Argentina, who refused to travel for the Copa America in 2001. Colombia were the original hosts of the tournament but the tournament was re-assigned to Venezuela due to security reasons. Honduras who were tied in a group with Bolivia, Costa Rica and Uruguay won every group game except their first game against Costa Rica. They progressed to the quarter-finals against Brazil who were the defending champions of Copa America at that time.

Brazil were without key players like Cafu, Roberto Carlos, and Romario and the underdogs Honduras reached the semi-finals with a shocking 2-0 win over Selecao, one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history. The technically gifted Hondurans were beaten in the semi-finals against hosts Colombia but they claimed the third-place play-offs by beating Uruguay in a penalty shootout.

2. Dramatic 1987 final

Dramatic 1987 final
Dramatic 1987 final (Getty Images)

The 1987 Copa America final was a two-legged final contested between Uruguay and Chile. This was one of the most brutal finals in the competition’s history as four players were already sent off in the space of five minutes. Talk about a nail-biter!

The final was remembered for some strong performances from both sides, making it one of the memorable finals in Copa America history. Uruguay won the 1987 Copa America by defeating Chile 2-1 on aggregate after the playoff match.

3. Peru reaching the 2011 semi-final

Peru reaching the 2011 semi-final
2011 Peru Copa America Squad (Getty Images)

Peru shocked Colombia with a 2-0 win in extra-time to reach the semi-final of the 2011 edition of Copa America. Peru showcased a blend of tactical discipline and attacking flair. They already shocked the spectators by going past the group stage but Peru secured a spot in the semi-finals after a long gap of 14 years. They entered into the competition as one of the underdogs with nobody expecting them to get this deep into the tournament.

They were battered by Uruguay in the semi-finals who ultimately secured the 2011 Copa America title.

Also Read: Extra Time Rule at Copa America 2024: All You Need to Know About CONMEBOL Knockouts

4. Chile winning back-to-back titles

Chile winning back-to-back titles
Chile squad (Getty Images)

Chile was crowned champions of Cope America for the first time in the nation’s history back in 2015. Their back-to-back title wins in 2015 and 2016 were monumental for the nation. The squad was led by Alexis Sanchez who triumphed against Argentina on penalties securing their very first Copa America title.

La Roja won their second trophy in 2016, just one year after winning the oldest international tournament in the nation’s history. They repeated the same feat by overcoming Argentina again on penalties in the 100th edition which was held in the United States. Claudio Bravo won the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper whereas former Napoli forward Eduardo Vargas was the top scorer with six goals. Chile became the first nation to win two editions of Copa America on penalty shootouts.

5. Messi’s brilliant hattrick against Panama

Messi's brilliant hattrick against Panama
Lionel Messi’s brilliant hattrick against Panama (Getty Images)

The Argentine magician came off the bench and produced a dazzling second-half display against Panama in the 2016 edition of Copa America. Lionel Messi returned from a back injury and stole the show with a memorable 19-minute hattrick to beat Panama 5-0 and secure a spot in the knockout rounds of the competition.

The Barcelona star scored his first goal of the tournament in the 68th minute, beating the goalie on his right side after Gonzalo Higuain’s shot bounced off a Panamanian defender. The second was an exquisite free-kick in the top corner in the 78th minute, followed by a left-footed chip past Jaime Penedo to complete his hat-trick.

Also Read: Copa America top goalscorers of all time (Top 10)