The Spanish Language Blog

Soccer in South America is just as important as soccer in Europe. Almost all countries participate in it intensively. For example, there are two, very famous, leagues of South America and two more famous national leagues of the great and soccer-powerful countries Argentina and Brazil.

The most important soccer tournament in Latin America is similar to the European Champions League and is called "Copa Libertadores". Its literal translation would be "Cup of Liberators of the Americas." It is an annual tournament set up by Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL), the soccer federation of South America. All South American countries except Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana, which are members of CONCACAF in North America, are members of CONMEBOL. The tournament is played with the national South American soccer clubs. The countries participating are: Chile, Brazil, México, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and last but not least Argentina. Each country provides a number of clubs to compete in this cup competition. Argentina and Brazil are the biggest countries in this, they provide 5 clubs where the rest of the countries provide 3. The current champion of this tournament is the Brazilian club 'Corinthians', they won the final from Argentina's 'Boca Juniors' in 2012.

In addition to the soccer tournament specific to Latin America, South America also has another popular tournament. Since 1916, CONMEBOL has organized the "Copa América. This tournament can be compared to the Africa Cup and the European Football Championship, among others. The participating countries are the members of CONMEBOL (as mentioned above) with, starting in 1993, two host countries from other continents each time. To date, México has hosted 7 times, but Costa Rica, the United States and Japan have also participated in the tournament.

The two largest countries in South America are Brazil and Argentina, so it is not surprising that they both have their own league; a national league. Brazil is a large country with many strong soccer teams. The best clubs are "Santos," "Palmeiras" and "São Paulo. Leagues are held from May through December among the 20 national clubs. There are home and away matches for each club. The national league used to be divided into state championships. Not because they did not know of each other's existence, but because at that time travel was difficult in such a large country like Brazil. Nowadays, of course, this is easier and all clubs can play against each other. Nevertheless, Brazilian state championships are still important because of tradition and local rivalries.

Not only Brazil has its own competitions, Argentina is also a big country with strong teams and has its own league. In Argentina, they have "Primera División. In this there are two leagues: the Torneo Final and the Torneo Inicial. There used to be the Apertura and the Clausura, but from these it was not clear who the real champion was. You will not see this system easily in Europe, but it does occur in other countries in South America. This newer format of the Torneo Inicial and the Torneo Final resulted in one winner instead of two. The champions of Inicial and Final would then compete for the title. In the end, the Argentine federation AFA still found it difficult to declare one winner and the winners of Inicial as well as Final are considered champions. However, it gets even crazier; the winner of the final between Inicial and Final can call himself the big winner of Argentina and so it seems that the AFA does not want to opt for the new system quite yet and so there are three champions every year.

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