Socceroo Michael Beauchamp holds Argentine player Lionel Messi as Australia plays Argentina in an international friendly match at the MCG in Melbourne, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007. Argentina won 1-0. Photo: AAP
Socceroo Michael Beauchamp holds Argentine player Lionel Messi as Australia plays Argentina in an international friendly match at the MCG in Melbourne, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007. Argentina won 1-0. Photo: AAP

BEHIND THE DESK: Will the Copa America help or hurt us?

WILL the Socceroos Copa America venture help us grow or will it hinder our progress by overloading our stars? Here's what we think.

 

CHALLENGE WILL HELP US GROW

 

Mitchell Keenan

 

THE Socceroos and South American opposition -a love affair that has given us so much joy in years past.

But now, after years of World Cup qualifying playoffs we've been invited to the real deal, the Copa America.

Know as one of the fiercest international tournaments outside of the World Cup, the Copa America boasts some of the world's biggest stars including Neymar, Luis Suarez and now six time Ballon D'Or winner, Lionel Messi.

While the invitation of teams outside of South America has been happening since 1993, this is our first go at the competition and it's a huge coup for football in Australia.

The Socceroos have had a good track record against South American opposition with a number of wins and draws against sides like Argentina and Brazil. And who could forget the famous Oceania vs South American qualifier in 2005 against Uruguay to progress to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Playing on their turf, this tournament will be unlike anything we've ever seen and in the South Pool we'll face Chile, Argentina and Uruguay among others but it will be hugely valuable experience.

The current crop of Socceroos may be up there with the best but we need to play in these tournaments to form another golden generation.

As we look toward the Asian Cup and World Cup, this will only make us stronger.

 

IS COPA AMERICA WORTH IT?

 

Jarrard Potter

 

TOO much football can potentially be a bad thing, and while it is a big coup for the Socceroos to take part in the historic Copa America Cup in 2020, it adds extra clashes to an already packed schedule ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Besides, we're only making up the numbers in Copa America anyway, and while it is recognition of Australia's place in the football world, the harsh fact remains the South American teams will get more it than Australia.

Think of it this way: With 10 nations making up the federation of teams regularly taking part in Copa America, a tournament of 12 teams is logistically easier to run, so ever since 1993 non-South American teams have taken part in the tournament. Just so happens that it's Australia's turn to help make up the numbers.

Inviting random countries to help make up the numbers of the tournament dilutes the competition I think. Australia has the AFC Asian Cup as its regional tournament, why do other countries need to try and muscle in on the jewell of the crown of South American football?

Australia also has some big clashes in 2020 to ensure we qualify for the 2022 World Cup, and I would hate to see a star player go down injured in a group stage clash of the Copa America and cruel our chances of qualifying in the biggest game in the football world.



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