Nobody doubted that South American teams were much better than their CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) counterparts coming into Copa America Centenario. But few would have predicted that the gap between the two would be so wide.
When the tournament was organized, it was billed as the Championship of the Americas, marking the first time that all of the best teams from the Western Hemisphere would be in the same competition. All 10 of South America's teams would be involved, with the six best from CONCACAF. It would be a real showcase and, even if South America had the better teams, it would at least be competitive between the two regions, right? Wrong.
The gulf was made especially clear in the matches that eliminated Mexico and the United States. The two countries are CONCACAF's best and, while not among the best in the world, the thinking was that they could at least put up a decent fight. Instead, Mexico fielded a team that many thought could be their best team ever and they were throttled 7-0 by Chile in the quarterfinals. Three days later, Argentina crushed the Americans, 4-0.
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Arguably the two best teams from South America took on the clear-cut two best teams from CONCACAF and beat them by a combined score of 11-0.
Only two of the eight quarterfinal teams came from CONCACAF, and by the time all of the teams from the region went out, they had gone 6-9-2 against South American sides. And in those matches, CONCACAF teams were out-scored 41-18.
If Copa America was going to be CONCACAF's chance to prove that they had closed the gap on South America, they didn't do a very good job. If anything, it showed that the gap is bigger than it has been in a long time.
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