Why are Qatar and Japan at Copa America 2019?

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 09:25, Jun 20, 2019 | Updated : 09:33, Jun 20, 2019

Copa America Brazil 2019 - Group B - Colombia v Qatar - Morumbi Stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil - June 19, 2019 Colombia`s Juan Cuadrado in action with Qatar`s Boualem Khoukhi REUTERSAs the South American football federation (Conmebol) only has ten members, additional invitees are required to create a workable tournament structure, reports the Sun.

Initially, six extra teams - three from North America and three from Asia - were set to be invited in order to create a 16-team tournament.
This was the format in 2016 when six teams were invited from North America to make four groups of four.
But instead, in May 2018, Conmebol decided the tournament should follow the structure of all other competitions since 1993 and have 12 teams, with Qatar and Japan those invited.
Generally, North American teams have previously been invited, but they are participating in the Concacaf Gold Cup this summer, so would only be able to send reserve squads to the Copa America.
Qatar and Japan happen to have been invited to the Copa America.
Qatar faces a daunting match against Lionel Messi and Argentina.
They also take on Colombia and Paraguay in Group B.
Qatar has never played in the Copa America before and will be using the competition to get used to a higher standard of football ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which will be hosted in their country.
Japan have been drawn in Group C alongside Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador. Blue Samurais have played in one previous Copa America, appearing at the 1999 tournament in Paraguay.
In that competition, they finished bottom of a group containing Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia as they picked up just one point - a 1-1 draw with the Bolivians.
In 2015, Mexico and Jamaica were the two teams invited to participate in the Copa America.