Copa America 2024: How Can Canada Qualify?

Copa America 2024: How Can Canada Qualify?
By Jim Tomlin
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

This weekend, Canada faces Trinidad and Tobago in what amounts to a consolation game in the CONCACAF Nations League – which does not sound like much of a prize. But for Canadian soccer and for Ontario sportsbooks, that game on Saturday could be a very big deal indeed.

The Canada Copa America 2024 bid comes down to that match against T&T in Frisco, Texas. Whichever team wins will advance to its first Copa America appearance and be placed in Group A for this summer’s 16-team tournament in the United States.

Copa America is the biggest national team competition in CONMEBOL, the South American confederation. However, North and Central American teams have earned invites in several Copa America tournaments over the years and this year provides a major opportunity for those teams.

At Pinnacle Ontario Sportsbook, Canada is an overwhelming -1050 favorite to win on Saturday. Trinidad and Tobago is at +2533, with +907 odds on a regulation draw (after 90 minutes, of course, the match would go to extra time, followed by penalties if needed).

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How Canada Got Here

The 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League also served a second function: As qualifying to determine the six teams from CONCACAF (the confederation for North and Central America plus the Caribbean) to make the Copa America tournament this summer. The four quarterfinal winners would be confirmed for Copa America 2024; the losing quarterfinalists would have to endure a playoff in March to determine the final two slots in that tourney.

In November 2023, the four teams that received byes into the CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinals – Canada, the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica – faced off in that round against teams that had come through qualifying earlier in the fall.

Canada, no doubt drawing backers at Ontario sportsbook apps, faced Jamaica in the quarterfinals. The two-leg series was 4-4 on aggregate but Jamaica advanced to the Nations League semifinals (and Copa America) on the away goals rule. Canada’s 2-1 win in Jamaica on Nov. 18 was offset by a stunning 3-2 loss to the Caribbean side at BMO Field in Toronto, sending interim coach Mauro Biello’s team to this weekend’s playoffs.

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Copa America 2024 Odds

This summer’s Copa America tournament will cross-cross the USA, featuring some of the world’s most famous stars, and organizers must be hoping that this will include Lionel Messi of Argentina. 

Argentina, the reigning World Cup champions, are the favorites to win Copa America 2024, with +180 odds at Caesars Ontario Sportsbook as of March 21. Messi also led Argentina to the most recent Copa America title, in 2021. Brazil is close behind at +230 odds, followed by Uruguay (+450), then the USA and Colombia (each +1200).

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Lionel Messi At Copa America?

It is an open question whether Messi, the eight-time Balloon D’Or winner as World Player of the Year, will participate in this year’s Copa America. Messi will turn 37 on June 24, in the middle of the tournament, and he now plays for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, which will be in the middle of its season by then.

In any event, any Canadians wishing to venture south to catch Argentina are in luck – the closest tournament venue to Canada is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and that’s where the Argentines face Chile on June 25 in the second game of Group A.

Even better? If the Canadians make the Copa America field, they would open Group A play against Argentina on June 20 in Atlanta.

In addition to Canada vs. T&T at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Frisco will also host the final Copa America qualifying game, Costa Rica vs. Honduras, at 7:15 that night. The winner of that match will take the final spot in Copa America, in Group D. DraftKings Ontario Sportsbook lists Costa Rica as a slight favorite with +105 odds; Honduras is +250 with odds of a regulation draw at +215.



Jim Tomlin

Jim Tomlin is an editor and writer specializing in sports, gambling and the intersection of those industries. He has 30+ years of journalism experience and his work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturday Down South and Saturday Tradition.

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