The ‘Rio de la Plata’ rivals are the Kings of America

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Two teams compete for dominance in the CONMEBOL Copa America during it’s more than 100 years of history; Uruguay and Argentina. Since the start of the twentieth century it is the two footballing powers to the south of the continent who have been the big winners.

The Uruguayans took an early lead in this regard, winning the first two editions of the competition, first in 1916 in Argentina and then in front of their own fans in 1917 in Uruguay. With a side filled with legendary figures ‘La Celeste’ won six international trophies by 1942, also lifting two World Cups in 1930 and 1950 and the Olympic title in 1924 and 1928.

Argentina won their first CONMEBOL Copa America in 1921 and by 1947 they would overtake their neighors across the Rio de la Plata as they won their ninth title, one more than Uruguay at the time. Argentine Norberto Méndez became the competition’s all time top scorer. Up until this point on only three occasions had the competition not been won by Argentina or Uruguay with two Brazilian wins and one Peruvian title.

Argentina remained ahead of Uruguay for the next 40 years in a period where new champions were crowned including Paraguay in 1953 and 1979 and Bolivia won their only CONMEBOL Copa America in 1963. Brazil and Peru also added to their total during this period.

In 1987 Uruguay overtook Argentina lifting their thirteenth CONMEBOL Copa America title in Argentina at the Estadio Monumental. Argentina regained the top spot with wins in 1991 and 1993 but Uruguay were again champions in 1995.

It wasn’t until 2011 that either of the footballing forces to the south of the continent once again lifted the title. In 2011 a Uruguay side which included Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan won Uruguay their fifteenth title and once again they did so at the Monumental at the home of their great rivals.

Brazil has emerged in recent years as a threat to the hegemony of the Rio da Prata, having won 6 of the last 13 editions. The ‘Seleção’ lifted the trophy in Brazil in 2019 and if they can continue their good form in Colombia and Argentina, then they will be up to ten CONMEBOL Copa America titles.

Chile won back to back CONMEBOL Copa America titles in 2015 and 2016 while Paraguay and Peru have also each won the famous trophy twice. Colombia won the tournament on the only occasion they have hosted it while Bolivia made the final on both occasions it was held in the country, winning once in 1963.