We’ve been counting down since last year, and the months of anticipation are finally over. Copa America Centenario is finally here! This weekend, the tournament will kick off for the first time in history right here in the United States. This is hands down the biggest international soccer event in the United States since the 1994 World Cup!
In the words of Central Florida’s own John Arie Jr. (the Fun Spot America guy), IT’S HUUUUUGE! The City Beautiful will host three matches during the group stage of the tournament. Here’s how the matches will play out:
Copa America Groupings
The Copa America Centenario will run from June 3rd thru June 26th, with the final being played at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. The tournament will consist of four, 4 team groups, with the top 2 teams advancing to the knock out stage of the tournament. The groups are as follows:
Group A – United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay
Group B – Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru
Group C – Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay
Group D – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Panama
The Copa America trophy has toured all over the United States in 2016! It was here in Orlando in March during Orlando City Soccer’s opening game!
Copa America matches played in Orlando
Saturday June 4th, Costa Rica vs Paraguay
This will be the opening match here in Orlando. These countries do not have a deep history against each other. In fact, they have only played eight times since 1965. The only time the two countries faced off in Copa America was back in 2004, where Paraguay defeated Costa Rica 1-0. With the United States playing against Colombia in the opening match on June 3rd, the result of this match could play a huge role in the final group standings. The United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay make up Group A in this tournament.
Monday June 6th, Panama vs Bolivia
The second match in Orlando will put Panama against Bolivia. Since 1970, these two countries have also only played each other eight times, and Bolivia holds the advantage with 4 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw. This will be their first meeting in Copa America.
Wednesday June 8th, Brazil v Haiti
Since 1974, these two countries have only played each other twice, both matches won by Brazil. This will be the first time Brazil and Haiti will face off in Copa America. There was talk of Orlando City’s Kaká playing for Brazil this year in Copa America but, as of the writing of this post, he is out with a muscle injury. However, Orlando City fans may recognize the name Mechack Jerome from their inaugural season back in 2011. He has been called up to play for Haiti, and should get the start against Brazil.
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Orlando City is on break until June 18th but fear not, there will be plenty of soccer to keep you entertained here in The City Beautiful; from Copa America to the Orlando Pride, we are the Soccer Capital of the South!
ProTip(s): The I-4 Ultimate project’s lane and ramp closures will be suspended on June 4, 6 and 8 from Kirkman Road (State Road 435) to Colonial Drive (State Road 50). Closure restrictions are due to anticipated crowds traveling to hotels in the attractions area and to Downtown Orlando. Download the Florida Department of Transportation’s FL511 app before you go, or sign up for route specific updates via texts HERE. Also great news, SunRail WILL BE RUNNING on game nights!
Copa America events in Orlando
Register for Copa America’s FanHQ Presented by Sprint events here:
Friday, June 3: 7-11pm, Wall St. Plaza (Downtown Orlando)
Sunday, June 5: 2-6pm, Wall St. Plaza (Downtown Orlando)
Tuesday, June 7: 6-10pm, Wall St. Plaza (Downtown Orlando)
Florida Mall Celebrates Copa America!
Where: The Florida Mall – Macy’s Court, 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809 (Directions)
When: Saturday, June 4, 12-3pm
What: Free family friendly activities, live entertainment, giveaways, interactive games, a photo booth, activations and promotions in Florida Mall participating stores (Macy’s, United World of Soccer, Microsoft, M&M World)
Miller’s Ale House Orlando
Watch all 32 matches on Ale House’s huge flat screen televisions and enjoy all day drink specials!
Church Street Bars