The 2015 Copa América was the 44th edition of the Copa América, the main international football tournament for national teams in South America, and took place in Chile between 11 June and 4 July 2015. The competition was organized by CONMEBOL, South America's football governing body.
Twelve teams competed, the ten members of CONMEBOL and two guests from CONCACAF – Mexico and Jamaica, the latter of which competed in the Copa América for the first time. Uruguay were the defending champions, but were eliminated by Chile in the quarter-finals. Chile won their first title by defeating Argentina in the final on a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. As winners, they qualified for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Originally, it was to be hosted by Brazil, as suggested by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) in February 2011 due to CONMEBOL's rotation policy of tournaments being held in alphabetical order. However, due to the organization of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in that country, Brazil decided against also hosting the Copa América. CONMEBOL’s president Nicolas Leoz had mentioned the possibility of the tournament being organized in Mexico (despite this country not being a member of CONMEBOL) as part of the federation's centenary celebrations. Brazil and Chile's Football Federations discussed the idea of swapping around the order of being hosts of the 2015 and 2019 tournaments. The swap was made official in May 2012.
There were nine different stadiums in eight cities used for the tournament. Most stadiums were renovated or rebuilt for the contest.
Mexico and Japan were initially invited to join the 10 CONMEBOL nations in the tournament. Japan declined the invitation, and China was invited instead, but later withdrew due to the Asian sector of qualification for the 2018 World Cup being held at the same time. In May 2014, it was announced that the Jamaica Football Federation had accepted an invitation to participate. Thus making Jamaica the first Caribbean nation to compete in Copa America.
The draw of the tournament was originally to be held on 27 October 2014 in Viña del Mar, but was postponed to 24 November. The 12 teams were drawn into four groups of three.
CONMEBOL announced the composition of the four pots on 10 November 2014. Pot 1 contained the hosts Chile (which has been automatically assigned to position A1), together with Argentina and Brazil. The remaining nine teams were allocated to the other three pots according to their FIFA World Rankings as of 23 October 2014 (shown in brackets), even though Colombia was rated higher than Brazil. On 23 November 2014, it was revealed by CONMEBOL that Argentina and Brazil had been assigned to positions B1 and C1, respectively.
Each country had a final squad of 23 players (three of whom had to be goalkeepers) which had to be submitted before the deadline of 1 June 2015.
The 2015 UEFA Champions League Final date of 6 June caused problems for South American players for Barcelona and Juventus. FIFA international rules require clubs to release players 14 days prior to the start of an international tournament, but the players featured in the final, leaving them at most five days to acclimate. For example, Arturo Vidal arrived two days before Chile's first match against Ecuador, and played with little training with his national team.
Mexico manager Miguel Herrera decided to prioritize the upcoming 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, saying, "We have to win at all costs in order to face the United States in the playoffs that guarantee a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup." The Mexican squad was a team composed mostly from the local league with little international experience.
Uruguayan forward Luis Suárez was suspended for the whole tournament, as he served a nine-match ban in international football for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's final group stage match against Italy in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The fixture schedule was announced on 11 November 2014.
The first round, or group stage, saw the twelve teams divided into three groups of four teams. Each group was a round-robin of six games, where each team played one match against each of the other teams in the same group. Teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat. The teams finishing first, second and two best-placed third teams in each group qualified for the quarter-finals.Tie-breaking criteria
Teams were ranked on the following criteria:
- Greater number of points in all group matches
- Goal difference in all group matches
- Greater number of goals scored in all group matches
- Head-to-head result (between two teams only)
- Penalty shoot-out (if both teams are playing the last match of the group stage)
- Drawing of lots by the CONMEBOL Organizing Committee
All times local, CLT (UTC−3).
In the knockout stage, the eight teams play a single-elimination tournament, with the following rules:In the quarter-finals, teams from the same group cannot play each other.
In the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and third place playoff, if tied after 90 minutes, a penalty shoot-out is used to determine the winner (no extra time is played).
In the final, if tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time are played. If still tied after extra time, a penalty shoot-out is used to determine the winner.
Chile's Eduardo Vargas and Peru's Paolo Guerrero scored the most goals, with 4 each. In total, 59 goals were scored by 39 different players, with two of them credited as own goals.4 goals
Ronald Raldes (playing against Chile)
Gary Medel (playing against Peru)
3 assists Lionel Messi
2 assists Adrián Aldrete
Ángel Di María
The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament.Most Valuable Player: No award given. It was reported that Lionel Messi of Argentina was to receive the award but rejected it.
Top Goalscorer: Paolo Guerrero, Eduardo Vargas
Best Young Player: Jeison Murillo
Best Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo
Fair Play Trophy: Peru
Lionel Messi received the man of the match award 4 times, more than any other player in the tournament.
America Móvil (Claro Americas and Telcel)
The Coca-Cola Company
On 16 November 2014, the official match ball (OMB) was unveiled at the Estadio Nacional. The name of the ball is Nike Cachaña, which is a Chilean slang term for a successful feint or dribble. During its launch, the Chilean international Arturo Vidal was present. The ball is mainly designed with white as main appearance featured with blue and red applications, representing host nation Chile. The colors of Chilean flag make a statement in the design of this ball: the red representing the people, the blue symbolizing the Chilean sky, and the white for the Andes that so strongly define the geography of this country.
The official mascot of the tournament, a young culpeo fox, was unveiled on 17 November 2014. The name of the mascot, "Zincha" (from Zorro (fox) and hINCHA (fan)), was chosen by the public over two other options, "Andi" and "Kul".
"Al Sur del Mundo" by Chilean group Noche de Brujas served as the official song of the tournament. It was performed during the opening ceremony of the competition on 11 June. It features the different cultures of the twelve competing nations.
The day after Chile's draw 3–3 against México in their second group match, Jorge Sampaoli decided to give the players a day off training. The players had to be at Juan Pinto Durán by 9 PM, and everyone arrived on time, except Arturo Vidal. Later, it was discovered that he was involved in a traffic accident on his way back to the training ground and put under arrest by driving under alcohol influence. Vidal spent the night in jail, and went to trial the morning after. Vidal's driver license was revoked, and sentenced to pay the damage done. Later, both Sampaoli and Vidal spoke to press, as Vidal returned to the training ground. Despite contrary reports, Sampaoli opted to keep him on the team.
An on-pitch brawl broke out following Colombia's 1–0 win over Brazil in their second group match; Brazilian captain Neymar deliberately kicked the ball at opponent Pablo Armero and attempted to headbutt Colombian matchwinner Jeison Murillo, earning a red card. As a result, Colombian forward Carlos Bacca retaliated by pushing Neymar over, and was himself sent off. CONMEBOL fined Neymar $10,000 and suspended him for four matches, ruling him out for the remainder of the tournament, while Bacca was suspended for two matches.
In Chile's quarter-final victory over Uruguay, full-back Gonzalo Jara poked Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani in the anus, and then fell when Cavani slapped him in retaliation. Both Cavani and Jara received a yellow card for the incident, which resulted in Cavani being sent off because he had previously received another yellow card for insulting one of the referees' assistants. Jara was later suspended for two games, which made him miss the rest of the tournament. His club, Mainz 05 of Germany, criticized Jara for the incident and stated that he would be sold. However he would remain with the club until January 16, 2016 when he agreed to terminate his contract with them.