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Defending champion Argentina awaits if Canadian men qualify for 2024 Copa America

MIAMI (CP-AP) — Canada will face World Cup champion Argentina, Peru and Chile at next summer's Copa America if it gets past Trinidad and Tobago in a March playoff.

The Canadian men, ranked 48th in the world, dropped into the playoff after losing the CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal to No. 55 Jamaica on the away goals rule after their two-legged series finished tied at 4-4.

Canada takes on No. 96 Trinidad and Tobago on March 23 in Frisco, Tex., in a single-game playoff with the winner slotting into Group A alongside No. 1 Argentina, No. 35 Peru and No. 40 Chile.

The 2024 Copa America features eight CONMEBOL teams and six guest sides from CONCACAF.

Should Canada qualify, it would open the tournament against Argentina on June 20 in Atlanta, before facing Peru on June 25 in Kansas City and Chile on June 29 in Orlando.

The top two teams in each group move on to the quarterfinals. The top two in Canada's Group A will cross over to face the top two in Group B, which consists of Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela and Jamaica.

The Canadian men have played Argentina just once, losing 5-0 in May 2010 in Buenos Aires.

Canada is winless in two meetings with Peru, losing 2-0 in September 2010 at Toronto's BM0 Field and drawing 0-0 in 1988 in Lima. Canada is 1-2-1 against Chile, losing 2-0 the last time they met in October 1995 in Concepion.

Argentina also faces Chile at East Rutherford, New Jersey, on June 25 in a repeat of the 2016 final at MetLife Stadium and closes Group A four days later against Peru at Miami Gardens, Florida, also site of the final on July 14.

Argentina and Uruguay have each won the tournament 15 times and Brazil has nine championships. Led by captain Lionel Messi, Argentina won the 2021 Copa América in Brazil for its first continental title since 1993, then last year captured its third World Cup and first since 1986.

The 12th-ranked U.S. opens against the lowest-ranked South American nation in No. 85 Bolivia. then plays No. 41 Panama at Atlanta on June 27 and finishes Group C against 11th-ranked Uruguay at Kansas City on July 1, according to the draw Thursday night. Uruguay was the highest-ranked non-seeded team the U.S. could face in the first round.

“If there's not pressure, you don't get diamonds,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

Brazil heads Group D of the 16-nation tournament and faces the Costa Rica-Honduras playoff winner at Inglewood, California, on June 24, Paraguay at Las Vegas four days later and Colombia at Santa Clara, California, on July 2.

Both playoff games will be on March 23.

Ecuador was in line to host the Copa América as part of the rotation by South American soccer’s governing body but declined. The event was moved to the U.S. and expanded to include six countries from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Mexico is seeded in Group B and plays Jamaica at Houston on June 22, Venezuela at Inglewood four days later and Ecuador at Glendale, Arizona, on June 30.

Matches also will be played at Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas; and Orlando, Florida.

Semifinals will be in New Jersey on July 9 and North Carolina the following day. Quarterfinals are at Houston on July 4, Arlington the next day and Glendale and Las Vegas on July 6.

The U.S. hosted the Copa América Centenario in 2016, when Chile beat Argentina on penalty kicks in the final following a 0-0 draw. The Americans defeated Ecuador 2-1 in a quarterfinal, then were eliminated with a 4-0 defeat to Argentina.

Seven of the Copa América stadiums are among the 11 U.S. sites to be used for the 2026 World Cup: Arlington; Atlanta; East Rutherford; Houston; Inglewood; Kansas City, Missouri; and Santa Clara.

The Copa América will use Puma balls following deals with Nike dating to 2004. A Capitán mascot also debuted at the draw.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

The Associated Press