Who will lift the trophy in the USA this summer?

Copa America 2024 Power Ranking: USMNT 5th as every team ranked from worst to best…

It’s less than three weeks until this year’s Copa America gets underway in the United States and we cannot wait.

The 2023-24 season has officially been brought to a close, leaving us with nothing to do but look ahead to a mouth-watering summer of football.

But who will get their hands on the Copa America trophy come the final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida in mid-July? Will it be Lionel Messi again? Can Brazil or hosts USA challenge them?

We’ve put together a power rankings of all 16 teams at this summer’s Copa America from least to most likely. 

16. Costa Rica

In captain Keylor Navas, Costa Rica do possess a three-time Champions League winner. But miracles are required of the 37-year-old ‘keeper if they’re to do anything in this year’s Copa America.

A 3-1 defeat to a Messi-less Argentina in their last friendly outing in March is a statement of where they’re at. They were thrashed 7-0 by Spain, their record defeat, at the last World Cup and do not approach this tournament in great fettle.

READ: Copa America 2024: Every squad announced so far as 27 named in USMNT preliminary cut…

15. Bolivia

Traditionally the Copa America’s whipping boys, Bolivia have failed to make it out of the group in each of the last three tournaments and have won just one Copa America match dating all the way back to 1997.

There’s little to suggest this year will be any different. They’ve lost five of their six World Cup qualifiers and only narrowly beat minnows Andorra 1-0 in their last outing back in March.

A 5-1 defeat to Brazil and a 3-0 loss to Argentina point to a side unable to go toe-to-toe with the tournament favourites.

14. Panama

Led by former Leeds United coach Thomas Christiansen, Panama have done well to punch above their weight in recent years.

They qualified for their first and only-ever World Cup in 2018, while last year they finished runners-up in the Gold Cup, producing a competitive display against Mexico in the final after making it further than Canada and the United States, beating the latter on penalties in the semis.

But they’ll have to produce more fairytales if they’re to make it out of a group that features the USA and Uruguay. It’s a big ask for a squad that’s lacking in top-level pedigree.

13. Peru

The only winless side in CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, Peru sit rock bottom of the standings, having picked up just two points and scored one goal from their last six competitive outings.

Friendly victories over Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic in the last international break will at least have rebuilt some confidence, while they’ve rarely been embarrassed.

Argentina only beat them 2-0, while Brazil needed an injury-time goal from Marquinhos for a narrow 1-0 win back in September.

12. Paraguay

Paraguay aren’t completely absent of quality, with Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron and Brighton’s Julio Enciso among their star names.

They’ve made it to the quarters in each of the last two Copa America, and progression out of their group is by no means out of the question.

But their recent record – one win and three defeats from their last six, seventh in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers – does not point to a side that are likely to go far.

11. Jamaica

Having qualified by virtue of making it to the final four of CONCACAF’s Nations League, Jamaica were an injury-time equaliser away from knocking out the USA and making the final back in March.

Coached by former Iceland mastermind Heimir Hallgrimsson, the Reggae Boyz are yet to announce their squad but they’ve got a healthy array of players with experience in MLS and English football, including Bobby Decordova-Reid, Joel Latibeaudiere, Demarai Gray and Jamal Lowe.

Chelsea wonderkid Omari Hutchinson just shone out on loan in Ipswich Town’s promotion-winning season and could well be one to watch, too.

READ NEXT: 12 players we can’t believe have never won Copa America: Neymar, Maradona, Pele…

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the most capped player for every South American nation?

10. Chile

If there’s one word you’d choose to describe Chile, it’d be ‘stagnant’. It’s 2024 and still Claudio Bravo (41), Gary Medel (38), Mauricio Isla (36), Arturo Vidal (37), Alexis Sanchez (35) and Eduardo Vargas (34) are getting regular call-ups.

Talk about squeezing everything out of a golden generation. Chile’s greatest-ever team famously won back-to-back Copa America in 2015 and 2016 and it’s not totally impossible to imagine the old warhorses coming up with the goods one last time in a kind of Last Dance scenario.

But very little about their recent record suggests that’s gonna happen. They’ve failed to qualify for the last two World Cups and currently sit eighth of 10 teams in CONMEBOL qualifying for 2026.

They’ve won just one of six qualifiers and results have included a 3-0 defeat to Venezuela.

Add in a tricky group that includes holders Argentina and it’s hard to see past a sad end for a generation of players that’ve given so much.

9. Canada

Thomas Christiansen and Marcelo Bielsa aren’t the only former Leeds United coaches at this year’s Copa America.

“The combination of the new leadership inside of Canada Soccer coupled with the potential of this dynamic player pool has inspired me,” says Jesse Marsch, who was appointed earlier this month.

“I am ready and eager to take on this massive responsibility. My excitement and anticipation to get started are immense.”

With Alphonso Davies, Cyle Larin and Jonathan David among the standouts, this is probably the greatest crop of players that Canada have ever produced.

Marsch has a job on his hands to turn them into a cohesive, winning, unit though.

They required a not-entirely-convincing 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the Copa America and failed to make it to the Nations League final four after defeat to Jamaica late last year.

Lionel Messi lifting the trophy back in 2021.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every team to win the Copa America?

8. Venezuela

Beyond veteran vice-captain Salomon Rondon, there’s a lack of household names in Argentinian coach Fernando Batista’s squad. But what they lack in star power they make up for in team spirit and organisation.

Venezuela are something of a nascent force in South American football and have made a solid start in their campaign to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, losing just one of their six qualifiers so far and sitting above Brazil in the table.

Since losing narrowly to Colombia in September, Venezuela have gone unbeaten against Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

They’ve also avoided all of the major powerhouses in their group, so they’re a solid bet to make it to the knockout stages at least. This year’s surprise package?

7. Mexico

This is something of a transitional, not all that encouraging era for Mexico.

They failed to deliver their requisite Round of 16 exit at the last World Cup, failing to get out of their group in Qatar, and more recently were well-beaten 2-0 by the United States in the Nations League final.

However, they are at least the reigning Gold Cup champions, underlining their credentials as CONCACAF big dogs, at least.

You’d be surprised if they aren’t at least competitive, but with Hirving Lozano and Raul Jimenez missing out on Jaime Lozano’s provisional 31-man squad there’s a conspicuous lack of proven goalscorers.

6. Ecuador

La Tri have beaten Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile and drawn with Colombia and Venezuela in World Cup qualifying so far.

They only lost one of nine matches in the last calendar year, and that was only a narrow 1-0 to Argentina via a ridiculous free-kick from Lionel Messi. 

With Moises Caicedo patrolling the midfield, Ecuador are an obdurate outfit. They face Venezuela, Jamaica and Mexico in a wide-open group, which they’ll back themselves to top – meaning they’d probably avoid tournament favourites Argentina in the first knockout round.

We’re calling it now: dark horses.

5. USA

The United States made it to the semi-finals last time they hosted the Copa America, and that was a team that ultimately failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Things look altogether a lot healthier this time around, with homegrown talent in MLS ever-improving and more American stars at some of Europe’s top clubs than ever before.

Gregg Berhalter navigated the USA out of their group in Qatar and the hosts ought to do the same, at a minimum, in this year’s Copa America. A favourable draw with Bolivia and Panama first up sees them well-placed to make a good run to the knockout stages.

4. Colombia

It’s easy to forget about Colombia, given their absence from the last World Cup following a fairly miserable qualifying campaign.

But they’ve made it to at least the quarters in the last four Copa America and finished third back in 2021, having pushed eventual champions Argentina all the way to penalties in the semis.

They approach USA 2024 in decent form, too, sitting pretty in third, above Brazil, in qualifying for the next World Cup.

They’re unbeaten in six qualifiers, with three wins and three draws, and have now won their last six matches including friendlies – a run that includes victories over Brazil, Mexico and Spain.

Brazil will be looking for revenge in the final Copa America group stage match, but Colombia will back themselves to have sealed qualification by then with considerably more forgiving matches against Paraguay and Costa Rica.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every Copa America top scorer since 1991?

3. Uruguay

Marcelo Bielsa managing Darwin Nunez? Set your alarms for the middle of the night. Uruguay are going to be appointment viewing at the Copa America. We can’t bloody wait.

So far in World Cup qualifying, Uruguay ended a 22-year winless streak against Brazil before ending world champions Argentina’s 14-match unbeaten streak.

Reproduce performances like that in the Copa America and they’ve got every chance.

2. Brazil

Really, purely on form, there’s an argument that Brazil should be lower than second, which is unthinkable given their stature.

They sit sixth in CONMEBOL World Cup 2026 qualifying, having lost three games on the bounce to Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil earlier this season.

But having moved on from the radical tactics of caretaker Fernando Diniz, appointing the more practical Dorival Junior in his place, we expect Brazil to look a bit more like themselves at the Copa America.

Their 1-0 win against England at Wembley and madcap 3-3 draw with Spain at the Bernabeu in the last international break hinted they’re back on the right path – and with outrageous talents like Endrick and Vinicius Junior, you’d be a fool to write them off.

Still, there’s a question of midfield balance. There remains a question mark over whether key man Lucas Paqueta will feature after his betting charge, the out-of-form Casemiro has been left out entirely.

Meanwhile, Bruno Guimaraes is yet to reproduce his talismanic Newcastle form on the international stage.

Brazil XI Players Left Out of the 2024 Copa America squad featuring Manchester United midfielder Casemiro

READ: An outrageously brilliant XI of players left out of Brazil’s Copa America squad

1. Argentina

The last time the United States hosted the Copa America, the Centenario tournament back in 2016, Lionel Messi and Argentina looked like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders as they looked to end their ever-lengthening trophy drought.

They’d lost to Chile on penalties the summer prior and ended up succumbing to the same fate at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Messi missed in the shootout and after suffering a third heartbreaking final defeat in as many years, announced his intention to retire from international football.

Fast forward eight years and Messi, having been talked around, leads Argentina to the United States with that monkey off his back. They’re the reigning Copa America and World Cup winners.

They’ve proven themselves the best team in CONMEBOL and CONCACAF by a considerable distance and the refreshing lightness of having nothing left to prove should serve them well.

Then you look at Messi’s scintillating form for Inter Miami and you’d be a fool to back against him producing one last great tournament.

Favourites for good reason.