Amid COVID-19 Concerns, 2021 Copa America Moves to Brazil 

Lionel Messi and Argentina start their campaign at Rio’s Nilton Santos stadium against Chile on 14 June.

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A teammate embraces Argentina’s Lionel Messi after losing 0-2 to Brazil in a Copa America semifinal soccer match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

After much concern and chaos, it will be hosts Brazil who open the 2021 Copa America against Venezuela in Brasilia on 13 June. The final will be played at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium (10 July), CONMEBOL confirmed on Wednesday.

In 2019, the last time the Copa America was played, the tournament was hosted in Brazil. However, this time there is added concerns about the health situation in the country, which saw almost 100,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday along with more than 2,500 deaths, according to government data. More than 460,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19.

The Copa America is the world’s oldest international football tournament,

The tournament, postponed like almost all sporting events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was shifted to Brazil after original co-hosts Argentina (COVID-19 concerns) and Colombia (political situation) were dropped at the last minute.

The Copa will go ahead, however, with Brazil kicking off Group B against Venezuela at the Mane Garrincha stadium on June 13. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are also in the group.

Lionel Messi and Argentina start their campaign at Rio’s Nilton Santos stadium against Chile on 14 June. The group also features Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Rio is the only city where two stadiums will be used, with the other venues in Goiania and Cuiaba. The semifinals are scheduled for the Nilton Santos stadium on 5 July and the Mane Garrincha a day later.

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