While the odds are certainly against Canada in its Copa América debut, we have learned nothing is impossible in soccer. Here’s a look at Canada’s tough test on Thursday against reigning World Cup champion Argentina.

While Euro 2024 continues to capture the imagination of soccer fans across Europe, it’s easy to forget that another important international tournament is about to kick off. 

The 2024 Copa América is being staged in the United States from June 20 to July 14, as World Cup holders Argentina and Lionel Messi attempt to repeat as South American champions. 

The 48th edition of the Copa is special because in addition to the 10 South American teams involved, six Concacaf nations will also be competing, including Canada, who’ll be looking to make a big splash with the eyes of the soccer world watching. 

Sportsnet ranks all 16 countries going into the group stage of the Copa América to give you an idea of what to expect. 

FIFA world ranking: No. 1 
2021 Copa América: Champions 
Group A schedule: vs. Canada (June 20), vs. Chile (June 25), vs. Peru (June 29) 
La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue) have lost just one of the 14 games they’ve played since beating France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final in Qatar and enter this tournament as the No. 1 ranked team in the world and as the defending Copa América champions. Veterans Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria still have plenty to give, while Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez, Julian Alvarez, Alejandro Garnacho and Lautaro Martinez provide the team with plenty of youth, quality and depth. 

FIFA world ranking: No. 12 
2021 Copa América: Semifinals (Third place) 
Group D schedule: vs. Paraguay (June 24), vs. Costa Rica (June 28), vs. Brazil (July 2) 
Colombia enters the Copa as the hottest team in the tournament – La Tricolor (The Tricolour) are undefeated in their last 23 games with 18 wins (including victories over Brazil, Spain and Germany) and haven’t lost since Feb. 1, 2022. Manager Nestor Lorenzo has built a fluid team that is solid in possession while also lethal on the counterattack, and that can exert its physical dominance while also playing some elegant football.  

FIFA world ranking: No. 5 
2021 Copa América: Finalist 
Group D schedule: vs. Costa Rica (June 24), vs. Paraguay (June 28), vs. Colombia (July 2)
These are interesting times for the Seleção, who are still finding their feet under new manager Dorival Júnior. Brazil sits sixth in South American qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup at the moment, having suffered consecutive losses to Uruguay, Colombia and Argentina. Still, even without Neymar (out injured), Brazil can rip teams apart with its attack, led by the Real Madrid trio of Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo and 17-year-old striker Endrick. 

FIFA world ranking: No. 15 
2021 Copa América: Quarterfinals 
Group C schedule: vs. Panama (June 23), vs. Bolivia (June 27), vs. United States (July 1) 
La Celeste (The Sky Blue) have been on a tear since Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa took over as manager last May. Uruguay has lost just twice in 11 games and recorded big wins over Brazil, Argentina and Chile (and a draw vs. Colombia) to climb into second place in the South American World Cup qualifiers. Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez has five goals in his last four appearances for the national team and looks set to take the Copa by storm. 

FIFA world ranking: No. 31 
2021 Copa América: Quarterfinals 
Group B schedule: vs. Venezuela (June 22), vs. Jamaica (June 26), vs. Mexico (June 30) 
Ecuador is in form at the moment, having suffered just two losses (to Argentina and Italy) in its last 10 matches, and beating Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile and drawing with Colombia and Venezuela in World Cup qualifying. Chelsea star Moisés Caicedo patrols a sturdy midfield, and the back line is solid. But the team still relies on former West Ham striker Enner Valencia, now 34, to lead the line up front. 

FIFA world ranking: No. 11 
Group C schedule: vs. Bolivia (June 23), vs. Panama (June 27), vs. Uruguay (July 1) 
Under normal circumstances, the U.S. would enter the Copa full of confidence as the host nation and having won the Concacaf Nations League back in March. But a demoralizing 5-1 loss to Colombia in Maryland earlier this month has raised some concerns about the team’s defensive play and whether it can run with the South American big boys.  

FIFA world ranking: No. 42 
2021 Copa América: Quarter-finals 
Group A schedule: vs. Peru (June 21), vs. Argentina (June 25), vs. Canada (June 29) <

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