Daniel Sandison, editor of footy mag Mundial, tells us why this month’s Copa America will be the most important, albeit utterly ridiculous, competition of the year…
“The domestic football season has trundled to its conclusion. Your team have scrambled to their objectives or, far more likely, failed miserably. That lad with the quick feet is probably off somewhere sunny and your season ticket renewal letter has landed on the doormat with a thud as welcome as a claw-hammer to the back of the head. Time for an international tournament and a break from the world of the Premier League.
“This summer, Chile will host the 44th edition of the Copa America. The continent’s finest players will assemble, referees will blow their whistles and some mad, mad things will happen. Why will mad things happen? Because mad things always happen in South American football.
From River Plate and Boca Juniors’ historic rivalry, to the phenomenal ability of players like Pelé and Garrincha, this continent has the potential to dictate the pace of how we view the game we love so much. It is flawed, disorganised and, much like the patterns on a Jorge Campos kit, often very hard to take seriously at all.
“South America has always provided the world of football with a pipeline of unalloyed weirdness. Without you noticing, the continent has been responsible for all your favourite footballing memories. It has injected every single tournament with vibrancy, colour and, more often than not, exquisite gamesmanship. So, give the Copa America a go. It shows, in microcosm, why we all fell in love with football in the first place.
“For every Messi goal, Neymar flick and James Rodríguez thunderbolt, there will be a Bolivian who isn’t quite sure how to take a throw-in and some bizarre Colombian fancy-dress in the crowd. And, in the era of Chelsea’s joyless efficiency and the proliferation of countless grim-faced footballing autobots, isn’t that exactly what we all want to see?”