NEW YORK: The United States, bizarrely, will host Colombia in the Opening Match of the controversial tournament which celebrates 100 years of the South American Championship.

The Copa Centenario is being staged in the US as a joint enterprise between regional confederations CONCACAF and CONMEBOL to capitalise on the commercial and television potential.

Yet it owes much of its pre-event publicity to its role as an unwitting vehicle for indicted Latin American football bosses and marketing executives to siphon off cash which became a focus of the FIFAGate investigation by the US Department of Justice.

The US v Colombia Group A match on June 3 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, launches the event with Brazil opening Group B against Ecuador at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif, on June 4, one day before Mexico kickoff Group C against Uruguay at University of Phoenix Stadium at Glendale, Arizona.

Argentina, 14-times winners of the championship and hosts of the inaugural competition in 1916, begins Group D play against defending champions Chile on June 6 at Levi’s Stadium.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, a five-times world player of the year, has already committed to playing the tournament and organisers hope that Brazil’s Neymar, Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Chile’s Alexis Sanchez will also be among the world’s top players to compete in this Olympic year.

The final will be held on June 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The schedule:

Group stage

June 3: United States v Columbia (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)

June 4: Costa Rica v Paraguay (Citrus Bowl, Orlando)

June 4: Haiti v Peru (CenturyLink Field, Seattle)

June 4: Brazil v Ecuador (Rose Bowl, Pasadena)

June 5: Jamaica v Venezuela (Soldier Field, Chicago)

June 5: Mexico v Uruguay (Phoenix Stadium, Glendale)

June 6: Panama v Bolivia (Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando)

June 6: Argentina v Chile (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)

June 7: United States v Costa Rica (Soldier Field, Chicago)

June 7: Columbia v Paraguay (Rose Bowl, Pasadena)

June 8: Brazil v Haiti (Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando)

June 8: Ecuador v Peru (Phoenix Stadium, Glendale)

June 9: Uruguay v Venezuela (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia)

June 9: Mexico v Jamaica (Rose Bowl, Pasadena)

June 10: Chile v Bolivia (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough)

June 10: Argentina v Panama (Soldier Field, Chicago)

June 11: United States v Paraguay (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia)

June 11: Columbia v Costa Rica (NRG Stadium, Houston)

June 12: Ecuador v Haiti (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford)

June 12: Brazil v Peru (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough)

June 13: Mexico v Venezuela (NRG Stadium, Houston)

June 13: Uruguay v Jamaica (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)

June 14: Chile v Panama (Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia)

June 14: Argentina v Bolivia (CenturyLink Field, Seattle)


June 16: Winner Group A v Runner-up Group B (CenturyLink Field, Seattle)

June 17: Winner Group B v Runner-up Group A (Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford)

June 18: Winner Group D v Runner-up Group C (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough)

June 19: Winner Group C v Runner-up Group D (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)


June 21: Winner Match 25 v Winner Match 27(NRG Stadium, Houston)

June 22: Winner Match 26 v Winner Match 28 (Soldier Field, Chicago)

Third place:

June 25: Semi-final losers (University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale)


June 26: Semi-final winners (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford) (Compiled by Tim Wharnsby; Editing by Andrew Both)