The Copa América is back this summer and, just like Europe, South America's elite national teams will battle it out for continental supremacy.
Colombia and Argentina were originally supposed to be co-hosting the competition, but civil unrest in the former and a coronavirus surge in the latter has meant places like the United States are now being floated as potential stand-ins.
In many parts of the world, Copa América is only accessible if you have a pay-TV subscription. But with a VPN, you'll be able to stream it from anywhere.
How to watch Copa América?
Like most major international football tournaments, the Copa América is being shown live across the globe. However, in a lot of countries, the only way to watch it will be via a subscription or pay-TV channel, meaning you'll have to fork out a hefty fee to gain access.
Some countries will have national or public service broadcasters showing the game. In the United Kingdom, the BBC is showing every single Copa América game for free with English-language commentary.
But, like many channels, the BBC only has the right to show that content in the country it is based in – the UK. This means that if you try to access BBC iPlayer online from outside of the country, you'll get one of those infuriating 'this content is not available in your country' messages, often called a geo-restriction or geo-block.
Why do I need a VPN to watch the Copa América?
VPNs are a fantastic piece of kit and essential if you want to catch all the summer's football and don't fancy paying for an expensive TV subscription. A VPN will help you unblock free, geo-restricted content like BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.
Here's how it works. Every device connected to the internet has an IP address. Just like a house address is essential to ensuring letters are delivered, IP addresses make sure the information you've requested online shows up on your screen, rather than someone else's. IPs contain information about your geographical location and can be seen by every website you visit. This is how sites like the BBC enforce their geo-restrictions.
A VPN provider will reroute all your traffic through one of their many private servers around the world before it reaches the internet. This website masks your IP address; all the subsequent websites you visit will see the IP address of whichever server you've connected to rather than your own. This IP masking process means you can pretend to be in a country where the Copa América is being shown live and for free in High Definition.
Use a VPN to unblock Copa American coverage on BBC iPlayer anywhere
Follow the steps below to watch Copa América for free with English commentary via the BBC. It's not a complicated process and will only take around 10 minutes from start to finish!
- Sign up to ExpressVPN . this service is super fast, reliable, and you can use it for the duration of the tournament and use their 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Download and install the software on your chosen device then log in with your account details.
- Connect to a server somewhere in the United Kingdom.
- Head over to the BBC iPlayer website (you may need to create an account).
Once you've completed these steps, you'll be ready to enjoy the best football South America has to offer! But don't leave just yet – scroll down for more information on the hosting situation and the teams competing.
Use a VPN to unblock the euros
After being delayed due to the pandemic, the Euros will also be played this year, with Europe's elite fighting it out to be recognized as the best footballing nation in Europe. Check out our how to stream the euros page for information on and where to stream it.
How to watch the Copa América online for free
VPN companies like ExpressVPN offer 30-day money-back guarantees, meaning you can get a full refund if you're unsatisfied with their product within a 30-day window. All you have to do is contact their support team and they'll sort it out.
Conveniently, the time between the first game of the Copa América and the competition's final is less than 30 days. That means you can technically sign up to ExpressVPN, use their product to stream the entire tournament for free, and then claim your money back – in other words, you won't incur any real cost.
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It's perfectly reasonable to wonder why ExpressVPN would do this – it's not a sales tactic everyone uses. But the reality is, a lot of users decide to keep their subscriptions going because they find out just how useful it is to have a VPN to hand when you're on the internet. Whether it's bypassing geo-restrictions to find your favorite shows, looking for games only available in other countries or just taking your online privacy up a notch, there are endless reasons to keep hold of a product like ExpressVPN.
Stay away from dodgy streaming sites
Unfortunately, with subscription TV sites becoming more expensive, more and more people are looking for alternative methods to watch football. Some of them, sadly, end up on illegal streaming websites which usually host links to other shady-looking websites pirating the game.
Most people think these websites are harmless. If you just close the annoying pop-ups you'll be fine, right? This couldn't be further from the truth. Most sites offering 'free' streams of Premier League, La Liga, Euros, or Copa América games will likely be teeming with malware and other malicious content that could put you and your personal information in danger. Cybersecurity software company Webroot recently released a report where they found 92% of the illegal sports streaming websites they analyzed had some sort of malware in them.
The other thing is – and anyone who's ever streamed football from one of these sites will attest to this – you're not getting a very good viewing experience. The picture and audio quality is often incredibly poor, there's always a tonne of buffering and there's no guarantee the stream will even last all the way to the final whistle. There's no need to miss a last-minute winner – or any other part of a game – especially considering how cheap and easy-to-use VPNs are.
Copa América: so wait, who's hosting?
Since 1993, two teams that aren't part of the South American football federation – called CONMEBOL – have been invited to play each time the tournament runs. Originally, Australia and Qatar were supposed to feature this year, bringing the number of teams up to 12, but they both announced their respective withdrawals in February 2021 for reasons relating to the pandemic.
In contrast to the teams competing, the names of which have been firmly in place for months, the tale of who is actually hosting this year's Copa America may have more twists in it still. As mentioned previously, Colombia was stripped of its hosting responsibilities and all the tournament's games were moved to Argentina. But Argentina's own hosting capabilities were thrown into question due to a surge of coronavirus cases in the last few days. CONMEBOL said previously that due to the international tournament and fixture schedule it will be impossible to hold the tournament at any other time, meaning it's unlikely to be canceled, so a host had to be found.
The United States – which hosted the tournament's centenary edition in 2016 – was then rumored as a potential replacement for both countries, although it would be bizarre to have a country hosting a tournament without competing. And, just to throw another spanner into the works, the US is also hosting the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer – a competition not dissimilar to the Copa América for teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean – which kicks off on the day Copa América finishes.
There's also not really anywhere in Central America or the Caribbean that could host a 10-team tournament of this magnitude at such short notice. Although Chile was being considered it seems now, with just days to go until the first game kicks off, that Brazil will be hosting the tournament again.
Group A: South Zone
Star player: Lionel Messi
One to watch: Julian Alvarez
2019 Copa América: Semi-finals
Argentina will probably fancy their chances at this tournament considering they're now (probably) hosting the competition after Colombia's recent civil unrest saw them stripped of the responsibility.
This year's Copa América may turn out to be talismanic striker, Lionel Messi's last, and perhaps his last tournament ever. The player many consider to be the best to ever grace the game has come agonizingly close to silverware on the international stage in recent years, losing to Germany in extra time in the World Cup final of 2014 and to Chile on penalties in the 2016 Copa América final.
Star player: Miguel Almiron
One to watch: Antonio Sanabria
2019 Copa América: Quarter-finals
Paraguay are sometimes referred to as the 'best of the rest' when it comes to South American football; they're behind the continent's big three, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, but have the fourth-highest number of Copa América wins and have reached a number of World Cups in their history. On recent form, however, some may argue they've been displaced by Chile, considering the latter nation has produced some impressive players in the last few years.
Aside from a flourish at the start of the previous decade, where they finished as runners-up in 2011 and then reached the semi-finals in 2015, Paraguay hasn't had much to shout about since their last victory in 1979. Paraguay haven't actually played an international fixture since November of last year, but have a couple of World Cup qualifier lined up before their bid to become kings of their continent.
Star player: Marcelo Moreno
One to watch: Jaume Cuellar
2019 Copa América: Group Stage
Bolivia are known for their high altitude home games – they're proud custodians of one of the most elevated stadiums in the world, a factor which has padded their home record, as superior teams on paper struggle with the conditions.
With the games being played in Argentina and Bolivia slumping to the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group, pundits are giving them little chance of making it out of their Copa América one, too. The last time Bolivia won their continental competition was way back in 1963, and it'll take a real shock for them to emerge victorious in 2021.
Star player: Alexis Sanchez
One to watch: Carlos Palacios
2019 Copa América: Semi-finals
Chile had never won the Copa América before 2015 – and then won it two years in a row, scooping up the main prize at the 2016 centenary tournament on top of an impressive victory against Lionel Messi's Argentina side, themselves runners up in the World Cup just two years before. It was a fantastic achievement and after a fourth-place finish in 2019, La Roja will be looking to get back into the final this time around.
Chile has been graced with some amazing players over the past few years, including Inter Milan's Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, Bayern Leverkusen's Charles Aranguiz, and Monaco's Guillermo Maripan. Their manager, however, is pretty new on the scene, having only taken charge for two games – so it's anyone's guess how Chile will play during Copa América.
Star player: Luis Suarez
One to watch: Federico Valverde
2019 Copa América: Quarter-finals
Uruguay, despite only having a population of around 3.5 million, has won the most Copa Américas in the history of the competition. The fact they've been able to compete with Brazil – a country with a population sixty times larger than their own, and for more than a century too – is extremely impressive.
The aging but deadly forward duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani – both now 34 – have shown that class is timeless this season with a string of excellent performances in La Liga and the Premier League respectively, with Suarez winning the title for Atletico Madrid with his 21st goal of the season. They'll both be expecting to play a pivotal role when the tournament kicks off in a few weeks.
Group B: North Zone
Star Player: Neymar Jr.
One to watch: Vinicius Jr.
2019 Copa América: Winners
Brazil currently sit third in the Fifa World Rankings and will go into this tournament full of confidence having won the competition last time around in 2019, hosting it for the first time in over three decades. They did, however, lose to Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals in 2018 – but no South American team got further along in the competition.
The squad is littered with talent, with the cohort soon to be named likely to include PSG's Neymar Jr. and Marquinhos, Liverpool's Fabinho, Real Madrid's Casemiro, and Vinicius Junior. Their 2019 victory was, however, the first time they've won the competition in 12 years – but the Brazilians do have a habit of winning two on the bounce, having done so in 1997 & 1999 as well as in 2004 & 2007.
Star Player: Salomon Rondon
One to watch: Josef Martinez
2019 Copa America: Quarter-finals
Venezuela have been at every Copa América since the tournament's inception in 1975 but, unfortunately, failed to win a single game until 2004.
Venezuela's all-time top goalscorer Salomon Rondon – who plies his trade with CSKA Moscow after spells at West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle – is certainly one to watch, despite never really hitting a truly purple patch of form during his time in England. Cristian Casseres Jr., an exciting young talent who plays for New York Red Bulls, is also worth a look at.
Star Player: Paolo Guerrero
One to watch: Marcos Lopez
2019 Copa América: Runners-up
Peru left last year's Copa América feeling pretty hard done by. Despite not being the flashiest team in South America, they managed to drag themselves all the way to the final only to lose to Brazil by three goals to one. Manager Ricardo Alberto Gareca Nardi – who has been in charge since 2015, when Peru finished fourth in the competition – continues at the helm and has been a hugely popular figure since during his tenure as boss.
Considering their strong showing in 2019 and the relative weaknesses of teams such as Ecuador and Venezuela, the Peruvians will likely feel confident that they'll get through the group and reach the knockout stages, Although Colombia could have something to say about that.
Star Player: Luis Muriel
One to watch: Alfredo Morelos
2019 Copa América: Quarter-finals
Colombia were due to host the tournament up until recently when a bout of civil unrest denied them the opportunity. That won't dull expectations of the national team, however, who will certainly be expected to progress through the group and head into the knockout stages – they are, after all, ranked 15th in the World, the fourth-highest position occupied by a CONMEBOL team.
Their squad is full of well-known faces – Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez and Everton's Yerry Mina will likely feature in defense in front of Napoli keeper David Ospina, and both Atalanta's Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata gunning for starting births. In Midfield, Juan Cuadrado of Juventus will be expecting to start, but Everton's James Rodriguez has missed out on the squad after an injury-blighted and underwhelming season. Colombia have the quality to go the distance in the tournament, so only time will tell if they live up to expectations.
Star Player: Enner Valencia
One to watch: Moises Caicedo
2019 Copa América finish: Group Stage
One of the only two teams competing who've never won the Copa América, Ecuador are on the hunt for their first continental cup victory. Strangely, they had Jordi Cryuff – Johan Cryuff's son – at the helm during 2020, but he resigned after just seven months having never visited the country or met the team.
Gustavo Alfaro – who coached Boca Juniors to a cup and league win in his short spell as manager before being handed the reins of the Ecuadorian national team. Enner Valencia – one of the team's top talents – is currently tied with the retired Augustin Delgado as all-time top scorer with 31 goals. Just one in this year's Copa América will confirm his place as the countries greatest ever goalscorer.