20 Stunning Copa America Goals
The Copa America has delivered some spectacular goals over the years—many of them, as is characteristic of the tournament, produced at top speed.
With the 2015 instalment of South America's biggest international competition approaching, we figured it was a good time to revisit some of the event's most stunning strikes from years past.
Following are 20 of them, assembled from the modern era of the tournament, which began in 1975.
Let's get to it.
1. 2001: Wanchope Does It All by Himself Against Uruguay
Paulo Wanchope scored in all three of Costa Rica's group-stage matches in 2001. Against Uruguay in Medellin, Colombia, he opened the scoring with an exceptional, solo effort lesser players would have no doubt given up on.
2. 2004: Adriano's Last-Gasp Equaliser in 2004 Final
Was there a more fearsome striker in world football than Adriano in 2004? It's doubtful. In that year's Copa America final against Argentina, the Brazil front man notched this 93rd-minute equaliser to force extra time, after which the Selecao prevailed on penalties.
3. 1989: Bebeto Breaks Deadlock with Argentina
Brazil won a fourth Copa America in 1989, but before it was sealed, they had to face Argentina in the final round at the Maracana. After 48 scoreless minutes, Bebeto scored this volley from close quarters to put the Selecao en route to victory.
4. 1999: Ronaldinho Makes It Six Against Venezuela
The 1999 Copa America introduced the world to the "three R's" that would rule at the FIFA World Cup three years later—Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. In the 74th minute of Brazil's 7-0 trouncing of Venezuela during the group stage, a young Ronaldinho scored his first international goal.
5. 2007: Messi Chips Mexico in Semi-Final
Lionel Messi will be targeting Copa America glory in 2015, but at the 2007 tournament, he played in his first major final as Argentina lost to Brazil. His chipped goal against Mexico in the semi-final round, however, helped put the Albiceleste there.
6. 1997: Ronaldo Smashes Tournament Winner Against Bolivia
Ronaldo was at his peak at the 1997 Copa America, and he smashed this emphatic goal against Bolivia on June 29 that ended up the tournament-winner for Brazil.
7. 1991: Batistuta Heads Argentina to Win over Brazil
Gabriel Batistuta's name is part of Copa America lore, and there is perhaps no more memorable header in tournament history than this nod from the Argentinian forward against Brazil in 1991.
8. 1995: Bengoechea's Free-Kick Against Brazil
Tulio opened the scoring in the 1995 Copa America final in Montevideo, Uruguay, but Pablo Bengoechea restored level terms shortly after the restart with this free-kick. Hosts Uruguay went on to win on penalties.
9. 1975: Ramirez Forces Final Play-off for Peru
It's easy to forget that Peru were once a South American powerhouse, and in 1975, they won the first modern version of this tournament. This Ramirez goal against Colombia in Lima, Peru, forced the Caracas, Venezuela, play-off in which the Blanquirroja would prevail.
10. 1999: Rivaldo's Free-Kick Strike Against Argentina
Brazil had to come from behind to beat Argentina in the 1999 quarter-final after Juan Pablo Sorin's early opener for the Albiceleste. Ronaldo—surprise, surprise—would score the winner, but first, Rivaldo had to restore level terms, which he did through this expertly taken free-kick.
11. 1993: Batistuta Scores Tournament-Winner Against Mexico
Argentina's last international title came in 1993 when they beat Mexico 2-1 in the Guayaquil, Ecuador, final. Gabriel Batistuta scored both goals for the Albiceleste that night, including this winner with 16 minutes remaining.
12. 1999: Pereda Extends Peru's Lead over Mexico
The art of Jose Pereda's goal against Mexico in the quarter-final round of the 1999 Copa America is in the arcing, diagonal pass he receives before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper. Peru would go on to win on penalties.
13. 1997: Ronaldo Seals Quarter-Final Progress over Paraguay
Perhaps more than any striker in history, Ronaldo seemed to be able to time his runs to perfection. He did so twice in the 1997 Copa America quarter-final against Paraguay, and his second goal in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is a particularly fine example of this.
14. 2004: Solano Starts Peru Comeback Against Colombia
Peru found themselves 2-0 down to Colombia and headed out of the 2004 Copa America before Nolberto Solano started the comeback with this goal in the 58th minute. Two minutes later, Flavio Maestri restored level terms and put the Blanquirroja into the quarter-finals.
15. 1999: Ronaldo's Close-Range Effort Against Uruguay
Uruguay actually put up a decent fight in the 1999 Copa America final in Asuncion, Paraguay, but they just didn't have an answer for Ronaldo and Rivaldo. Shortly after the restart, Ronaldo scored Brazil's third and final goal of the encounter with a well-taken effort from close range.
16. 2004: Saviola's Close Control in Ecuador Thrashing
Javier Saviola scored a hat-trick (in the space of 15 minutes) against Ecuador in 2004. Check out the Argentine striker's close control on his first of the three goals.
17. 2004: Adriano on Target Against Costa Rica
Brazil striker Adriano scored three goals against Costa Rica at the 2004 Copa America. Never one to do anything delicately, the hulking striker cut inside his man before smashing the ball into the back of the net in the last minute of the first half.
18. 1995: Otero Wraps Up Uruguay's Semi-Final with Colombia
Before Uruguay could face Brazil in the 1995 final in Montevideo (which they won), they had to first dispatch a very good Colombia team at Estadio Centenario. With 20 minutes remaining, Marcelo Otero needed just a single touch to smash an emphatic effort past the goalkeeper.
19. 2011: Lobaton Smashes One Against Colombia
The 2011 Copa America was mostly bereft of memorable goals, but a surprising Peru side advanced to the semi-finals thanks in part to this Carlos Lobaton blast in extra time against Colombia in the quarter-final round.
20. 2001: Guevara Shocks Uruguay
Amado Guevara had more than a few standout moments in the Copa America. After scoring twice against Bolivia in the 2001 group stage, he scored Honduras' winner against a favoured Uruguay outfit in Medellin.