MetLife Stadium to host 2016 Copa America soccer final

Friday, Dec 18, 2015

Messi vs. Neymar. Argentina vs. Brazil. A dream matchup to win a major tournament. And it could happed right here in our backyard.

MetLife Stadium was announced as the site of the 2016 Centennial Copa America final June 26.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football made the announcement Wednesday. Grass will be installed over the artificial turf.

The special 16-team tournament marks the 100th anniversary of the first Copa America, South America’s national-team championship. Play starts June 3 and the tournament includes 10 teams from South America and six — including the U.S. — from the CONCACAF region. It is the oldest continental tournament.

Argentina and Brazil have played to soldout crowds in East Rutherford before, but not with this much at stake if the international powers were to reach the final. The final will be the biggest soccer match played at the Meadowlands since Italy beat Bulgaria, 2-1, in the 1994 World Cup semifinals.

Chile, with stars like Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, won last summer’s Copa America as the host, defeating Argentina

CONCACAF said the full tournament schedule will be announced Thursday. Games will be played in Chicago; Foxborough, Massachusetts; Glendale, Arizona; Houston; Orlando, Florida; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia; Santa Clara, California; and Seattle.

A draw to determine the four four-nation groups is likely to be held early next year.

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