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Japan, Qatar confirmed for 2019 Copa America

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) has confirmed that next year’s edition of the Copa America national team tournament will feature Japan and Qatar.

The tournament, which will be held in Brazil, will feature 12 teams in total. Mexico and the United States, two countries which regularly compete at the Copa America, will not feature at the 2019 event due to their involvement in the Gold Cup, the biennial national team tournament organised by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).

Conmebol has invited guest nations to compete in the Copa America since 1993, with Japan having played at the 1999 event. Next year will mark Qatar’s debut at the Copa America, with the tournament to be held three years before the Gulf nation hosts the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Conmebol said that Japan and Qatar have been invited due to the “high interest” of the Asian Football Confederation to participate in its competitions.

The Associated Press news agency reported that Conmebol had considered a 16-team tournament for next year’s Copa America, with Spain and Portugal having been lined up as potential teams.

Qatar was first mooted for inclusion last month, with reports at the time suggesting that China, Mexico and two other countries were also being considered for a 16-team tournament that ultimately has not materialised.

The 2019 Copa America will take place from June 14 to July 7, with the local organising committee currently working on the selection of host cities and stadia. It will mark the fifth time that Brazil has hosted the event, and the first since 1989. Chile has won the last two editions of the tournament.