The Copa America is arguably one of the most popular international football tournaments after the FIFA World Cup and Euros. The Copa America competition was established by the South American Football Confederation, also known as CONMEBOL. It is a tournament meant for South American countries who are members of the football governing body as well as invited nations from other football confederations. The tournament has witnessed many great matches and also showcased the numerous amazing talents of South American football. As the 2021 Copa America is set to begin, we highlight some records and feats of this elite international competition.
1. Oldest International Tournament
The Copa America is arguably one of the oldest international football competitions. The first edition was held in 1916 and has gone on for a period of about 105 years.
2. First Winners
Uruguay has the proud record of being the winners of the inaugural tournament held in 1916. They clinched the title after finishing top of their group, with 5 points overcoming their rivals Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
3. Most Championships Won
Uruguay again holds the record for the most Copa America titles, with 15 trophies won so far between 1916 and most recently 2011.
4. All-time Highest Goal Scorer
The record for the highest goal scorer in the history of the tournament is jointly held by Brazilian Thomaz Soares da Silva otherwise known as Zizinho, and Argentine Norberto Mendez with 17 goals each.
5. Most Participations
Uruguay again appears in this list. La Celeste have featured a record 44 times since the tournament’s inception.
6. Fastest Goal
The goal in the history of Copa America was scored by Argentinian Kily González in 1999 against Uruguay in a group stage match. The goal was scored in just 68 seconds after the start of the game.
7. Most Matches Played
Chilean Sergio Livingstone and Brazilian Zizinho hold the joint record for the most matches played in the competition’s history. Sergio featured in 34 games played over 6 tournaments between 1941-1953, while Zizinho also featured 34 times over 6 tourneys between 1942-1957.
8. Most Titles Won By A Single Player
Uruguayan legend Angel Romano holds the record for the most titles won by a player. Angel won 6 Copa America trophies between 1916-1926.
9. Fastest Hattrick
The fastest hattrick in Copa America history was scored by Argentinian Jose Manuel Moreno. This was achieved in just 10 minutes against Ecuador in 1942. Moreno went on to score two more goals as Argentina hammered the hapless Ecuadorians 12-0.
10. Fastest Hattrick By A Substitute
Argentine living legend Lionel Messi holds the record for the fastest hattrick scored by a substitute in any Copa America competition. He achieved this feat in 2016, scoring thrice in 19 minutes after coming on to help Argentina defeat Panama 5-0 in a group stage match.