On Friday, the Copa América Centenario kicks off in the United States, and in this week’s issue of The Libero, I was asked to preview it. I’ve gone for a piece looking at why although it’s going to be a good tournament, it’s still important to remember it’s not an actual Copa América. To give you a taster, here’s the start of the article.
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In 1980, an odd little international tournament was held in Montevideo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first World Cup. That word ‘little’ isn’t used to ridicule or demean; it’s how the tournament is popularly known in the Spanish speaking world, where it’s called the Mundialito, or ‘Little World Cup’. It brought together the six nations which at that point had won the World Cup – or was meant to, because England declined to join in and were replaced by the Netherlands, who’d finished as runners-up in the previous two ‘full-sized’ World Cups.
Why mention the Mundialito ahead of Friday’s Copa América Centenario kick off? Because, in essence, they’re the same thing – a celebratory competition to mark an anniversary, but not (this correspondent would argue) a truly ‘canonical’ part of the real competition’s history.
To read the rest of the article, subscribe to The Libero here. Issue five will be sent out at 2pm British Summer Time on Thursday, 2nd June.