Why Australia is playing in the 2020 Copa America?

The Copa America is the world’s oldest international football competition but why are Australia joining the South American carnaval in 2020?

The month-long festival of football pits the cream of South America’s national teams, and their stars including Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, against each other, with invited guests adding extra colour to the party.

The Copa America 2020, held across Argentina and Colombia, is the 47th edition of the historic tournament, where Samba Kings, Brazil, will defend the title they won in 2019. 

Given there are only 10 member nations of the South American football confederation, CONMEBOL, two guest nations from other FIFA confederations take the numbers up to 12 in each edition. 

For the first time ever, the Caltex Socceroos have accepted an invitation to take part in 2020, alongside fellow AFC competitor and FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts, Qatar.

Uruguay's Luis Suarez takes on Japan's defence in the 2019 Copa America
Uruguay's Luis Suarez takes on Japan's defence in the 2019 Copa America


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After Japan participated in 1999 and 2009, Qatar and Australia will become the second and third nations from outside of the Americas to compete in the Copa America.

Since teams from North American and Asia began to be welcomed in 1993, no invitee has ever crashed the party and claimed victory, although North American nation Mexico have reached the final on two occasions, in 1993 and 2001. 

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ULTIMATE GUIDE: Caltex Socceroos at Copa America 2020