Socceroos land Messi, Suarez Copa stumbling blocks

A Lionel Messi-shaped bullet awaits the Socceroos, who have been drawn against co-hosts Argentina at next year's Copa America.

Australia have also been pitted against Luis Suarez's Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay after being drawn in the South Zone for their first appearance at the continental championship to take place in June and July.

It means they will play all five pool matches in Argentina, with the top-four nations from each six-team group progressing to the quarter-finals.

Qatar, the other guest nation, were added to the North Zone to be played in Colombia and featuring the hosts, Neymar's Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The draw, conducted in Colombia on Wednesday morning (EDT), maps out a frenetic 2020 for Graham Arnold's national team, who will juggle the prestigious South American tournament with World Cup qualifiers, with the final four fixtures in the first phase - three at home - scheduled before the Copa begins.

The appearance offers a chance for Socceroos players to gain valuable big-tournament experience leading into the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup.

It's the first time Australia have been invited, with the Copa America previously offering places to countries from North America and Asia since 1993.

No guest nation has ever won it, with Mexico coming the closest on two occasions by reaching the final in 1993 and 2001.

Qatar also took part in 2019's edition but failed to progress further than the group stage despite an impressive 2-2 opening-game draw with Paraguay.


Copa America groups

South Zone: Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Australia

North Zone: Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Qatar

News Corp Australia

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