The draw for the 2015 Copa America was made in Vina Del Mar, Chile, on Monday night, determining which of the nine teams in Pots 2-4 would be pitted against the top seeds, hosts Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
Mexico and Jamaica will join the 10 CONMEBOL nations for the 2015 edition of South America's biggest international tournament, set to take place in June and July.
While there was the potential for a group of death, the three groups ultimately came out fairly evenly matched. Brazil and Colombia will give fans an exceptional fixture to look forward to, however, in a repeat of the 2014 World Cup quarter-final.
The full draw for all three groups:
|2015 Copa America Draw|
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
The complete fixture list:
|2015 Copa America Schedule|
|June 11||8:30 p.m.||Chile||vs.||Ecuador||Group Match|
|June 12||8:30 p.m.||Mexico||vs.||Bolivia||Group Match|
|June 13||4 p.m.||Uruguay||vs.||Jamaica||Group Match|
|June 13||6:30 p.m.||Argentina||vs.||Paraguay||Group Match|
|June 14||4 p.m.||Colombia||vs.||Venezuela||Group Match|
|June 14||6:30 p.m.||Brazil||vs.||Peru||Group Match|
|June 15||6 p.m.||Ecuador||vs.||Bolivia||Group Match|
|June 15||8:30 p.m.||Chile||vs.||Mexico||Group Match|
|June 16||6 p.m.||Paraguay||vs.||Jamaica||Group Match|
|June 16||8:30 p.m.||Argentina||vs.||Uruguay||Group Match|
|June 17||8:30 p.m.||Brazil||vs.||Colombia||Group Match|
|June 18||8:30 p.m.||Peru||vs.||Venezuela||Group Match|
|June 19||6 p.m.||Mexico||vs.||Ecuador||Group Match|
|June 19||8:30 p.m.||Chile||vs.||Bolivia||Group Match|
|June 20||4 p.m.||Uruguay||vs.||Paraguay||Group Match|
|June 20||6:30 p.m.||Argentina||vs.||Jamaica||Group Match|
|June 21||4 p.m.||Colombia||vs.||Peru||Group Match|
|June 21||6:30 p.m.||Brazil||vs.||Venezuela||Group Match|
|June 24||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Quarter-Final|
|June 25||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Quarter-Final|
|June 26||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Quarter-Final|
|June 27||6:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Quarter-Final|
|June 29||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Semi-Final|
|June 30||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Semi-Final|
|July 3||8:30 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||3rd Place|
|July 4||7 p.m.||TBD||vs.||TBD||Final|
All eyes will be on defending champions Uruguay and their star striker Luis Suarez in the buildup to the tournament, with the Barcelona man currently banned from international football following an incident during the 2014 World Cup, in which he appeared to bite Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
Uruguayan football association president Wilmar Valdez told reporters he is still hopeful the ruling will be overturned, although he conceded it will be difficult, via BeIN Sports:
We are still negotiating this issue with FIFA, but we almost have ran out of options, and the truth is that it will be a miracle if Luis can play at the Copa America. So far we have been on the Saudi [Arabia] tour that we did in October, which we used to speak with Luis about his return to the national team after the World Cup.
We said a lot of things with him, but we think that's in the past.
Obviously, Luis knows that he made make some mistakes, but anyway we still feel that some FIFA decisions during the World Cup, weren't right.
But that is in the past, now we must focus in the present and on the future ahead.
The defending champions have impressed since the end of the World Cup, not having lost any of their six matches in regulation since the end of the tournament, per BeIN Sports.
The same goes for Brazil, who will be desperate to put the memories of the 7-1 drubbing they took at the hands of eventual champions Germany behind them. As shared by Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas, Dunga's team has also looked in nearly impeccable form:
Paulo Freitas @Cynegeticus
FT Austria 1-2 Brazil - Not the most impressive performance, but the Seleção remain unbeaten since Dunga returned as Brazil coach.2014-11-18 19:56:33
Their World Cup rematch against Colombia will undoubtedly steal the spotlight as the top clash of the group stages, with stars Neymar and James Rodriguez going head-to-head once more. Peru and Venezuela complete Group C, arguably the toughest group of the tournament.
Top seed and losing World Cup finalists Argentina lost their last friendly 1-0 against Portugal, but Gerardo Martino has a wealth of talent at his disposal, led by four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.
The Albiceleste haven't won the tournament since 1993 and are anxious for some silverware, and Martino's men will be strong favourites to take the top spot in Group B.
A draw against Uruguay, Paraguay and Jamaica makes for an interesting group, but Argentina should have little trouble qualifying for the quarter-finals. With the top two and the two best third-placed finishers advancing and the Jamaicans making their tournament debut, via the Jamaica Observer's Sanjay Myers, Group B doesn't look as daunting as Group C.
Hosts Chile will be happy to avoid the likes of Colombia and Uruguay, but Mexico and Ecuador both qualified for the 2014 World Cup and will present La Roja with quite the challenge. El Tri manager Miguel Herrera was hoping to avoid the host nation after suffering the same fate in Brazil, as reported by the event's official website:
I could not choose one or another. They are all strong teams.
Personally, after the World Cup, I would prefer not to play against the host.
It's not because I have something against Chile. The thing is that is difficult to have a whole country against you
We suffered that in Brazil. The match against them was too much, but we have no problems with people from Brazil.
Herrera didn't get his wish, however, and he'll have to prepare his troops for yet another difficult clash when they meet Chile on June 15.
The tournament will kick off June 11, when Chile take on Ecuador in Santiago.