Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Future looks bright – 2016 Copa Libertadores

Now that the Copa América has finished, the focus in South America (and Mexico) shifts back to club football. Many leagues have finished their season already and others like Argentina or Brazil are in the middle of it. We will take a look forward at who is already qualified for the next, the 2016, edition of the Copa Libertadores.


Trujillanos FC celebrating their first ever national title in Venezuela.

The first of all teams that made it into the group stages is the 2014 Apertura winner of Venezuela: Trujillanos FC. It has been 20 long years since they last made it into the intercontinental competition. In that one and only time they featured they got smacked and finished with one point from six games. Admittedly they were only founded in 1981, so this has to count as moving forward.

Following them is the countries Clausura champion, a more well known club in Deportivo Táchira. As you well know, they were eliminated from this year’s edition’s group stages. Semifinalist Guaraní, Racing Club and Sporting Cristal were one level too strong. It will be the 19th time they enter the group stages, the biggest success a quarter final appearance in 2004.

The third Venezuelan spot is occupied by Caracas FC. They have participated 14 times and will have to go through a qualifying round to reach the groups.


Bolívar after winning the Apertura in 2014. They went on to win the other half of the season as well half a year later.

Bolivia send three teams that could not be much more famous. Club Bolívar had an outstanding year, winning both the Apertura and Clausura title. After missing out on the Copa this season, they will be back next year for the 30th time.

The Strongest will once again join them. The club with the popular tiger in the logo qualified for the fifth straight time. Their best result from 21 seasons of Copa Libertadores remains the round of 16. They will most certainly look to reach more again next year.

Finally, Oriente Petrolero fills the third Bolivian spot and joins the competition early to play qualifiers. Maybe against Caracas?


Cobresal: Back in the Copa Libertadores after 30 years of absence.

The league of new Copa América winner Chile still has two berths to give away. One has been taken and it is a really cool story. After CD Cobresal have won their first ever championship, they will return to the Copa for the first time since 1986. The longest wait any team of next year’s competition had to endure. Back then, they were eliminated in the group stages, but just reaching them again is a huge achievement for the club founded in 1979.


Campeones, campeones: Deportivo Cali celebrating the title.

Colombia has distributed just one spot so far as well and it went to Deportivo Cali. They will feature in the competition for the 20th time and have quite the resume in it. They have reached the final twice, lost in 1978 to Boca Juniors and again in an extremely unlucky fashion in 1999. They had the advantage on penalties but could not bring it across the finish line against Brazilian club Palmeiras. In 2016, they will not count as a favorite, but maybe they can surprise again?


6 time Copa semifinalist Cerro Porteño celebrate their Paraguayan Apertura title.

From Paraguay, Cerro Porteño have reached the prestigious tournament for the 38th time. Their position (1 or 2) is not certain yet, as the Apertura winner has to wait for the Clausura to finish to determine which team got the most points in 2015.


Champions of Uruguay: Club Nacional for the record 45th time.

Fans of traditional football teams will be even happier by who qualified from Uruguay. Three time Copa Libertadores winner Club Nacional ended the season as champions of the smallest South American country (behind Suriname, who do not play in the Copa) for the 45th time. An incredible achievement and after failing to get by Palestino this year, they are qualified for the group stages without any qualifying duties this time around.

The second direct berth is taken by CA Peñarol. They have won the competition even more times (five) and qualify for the 43rd time. Having won the Clausura that just finished a short while ago, they will look to build on that success and go far in the 2016 of the Copa Libertadores.

Finally, River Plate will make its debut in the qualifying round. They were the best team on points that did not yet qualify.


One last time: Cuauhtémoc Blanco lifts the Copa MX into the sky.

Last but not least, to Mexico we go. Puebla FC is the name of the cup winner up in Central America after beating CD Guadalajara 4-2 in the final. This was at the same time the last professional match from Mexican football legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco. They are one of two clubs that will make their debut in the competition.


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