South American Football Confederation


The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL or CSF) is the governing body of football in the continent of South America. It excludes Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, however.

It is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations. The oldest continental confederation in the world, its headquarters are located in Luque, Paraguay, near Asunción. CONMEBOL is responsible for the organization and governance of South American football’s major international tournaments. With 10 member football associations, it has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA.

CONMEBOL national teams have won nine FIFA World Cups (Brazil five, Uruguay two, and Argentina two), and CONMEBOL clubs have won 22 Intercontinental Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. Argentina and Uruguay have won two Olympic gold medals each, and Brazil has won one Olympic gold medal. It is considered one of the strongest confederations in the world.

The World Cup qualifiers of CONMEBOL have been described as the “toughest qualifiers in the world” for their simple round-robin system, entry of some of the top national teams in the world, leveling of the weaker national teams, climate conditions, geographic conditions, strong home stands, and passionate supporters.

The body oversees the Copa America, which is the biggest international competition in South America. The Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana are the most prestigious club competitions in the continent.

The main competition for men’s national teams is the Copa América, which started in 1916. The Copa Libertadores was first held in 1960 and the Copa Sudamericana was launched by CONMEBOL in 2002 as an indirect successor to the Supercopa Libertadores (begun in 1988).


ARG Argentina

ArgentinaThe Argentina national football team is administered by the Argentine Football Association, the governing body for football in Argentina. Argentina’s home stadium is Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires.

La Selección (national team), also known as La Albiceleste, have appeared in 5 World Cup finals, including the first final in 1930, which they lost 4–2 to Uruguay. Argentina won in their next final appearance in 1978, beating the Netherlands 3-1 in extra time.

They won the World Cup once again in 1986, with a 3–2 victory over (West) Germany, inspired by their captain and legend, the late Diego Maradona. They made the World Cup finals once more in 1990, but lost 1–0 to West Germany following a controversial penalty call in the 87th minute.

La Albiceleste, led by Lionel Messi, made their fifth appearance in a World Cup final in 2014, as they lost to Germany 1–0 in extra-time, courtesy a goal by super substitute Mario Gotze.

Argentina has also been extremely successful in the Copa América, winning it 14 times, second only to Uruguay. The team also won the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy.
Argentina has a fierce rivalry with Brazil.

Javier Mascherano is the most capped player while Lionel Messi is the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer.

The national side also has massive rivalries with Uruguay, England, and Germany due to encounters throughout football history.

BOL Bolivia

BoliviaThe Bolivia national football team, also known as La Verde, has represented Bolivia in international football since 1926. It is governed by the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF).

After playing in the 1930 and 1950 World Cups, they have qualified just once more for the FIFA World Cup – in 1994 – where they lost 1–0 to the then defending champions Germany in the tournament’s opening match.

Bolivia have never advanced past the first round of any World Cup, and have only scored one goal – in 1994.

However, they have managed to win the Copa América at home in 1963, and finished runners-up in their following tournament as hosts in 1997.

At the 2015 Copa América in Chile, after defeating Ecuador 3–2, they advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997 when they ended a winless streak finally.

The national football team plays its home games at Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz. Ronald Raldes is the country’s most capped player while Marcelo Moreno has the most goals.


BRA Brazil

BrazilThe Brazil national football team is administered by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), the governing body for football in Brazil. They have been a member of FIFA since 1923 and a member of CONMEBOL since 1916.

Brazil is the most successful national team in the FIFA World Cup, being crowned champions five times – 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.

The Seleção also have the best overall performance at the World Cup. Brazil is the only national team to have played in all World Cup editions without any absence nor need for qualification through playoffs.

In FIFA’s ranking system Brazil holds the record for most Team of the Year wins with 12. Many commentators, experts and former players have considered the Brazil team of 1970 to be the greatest football team ever.

Other Brazilian teams are also highly estimated and regularly appear listed among the best teams of all time, such as the Brazil teams of 1958–1962, with honorary mentions for the gifted 1982 side.

The Selecao is the only national team to have won the World Cup in four different continents – once in Europe (Sweden, 1958), once in South America (Chile, 1962), twice in North America (Mexico, 1970 and USA, 1994) and once in Asia (Korea & Japan, 2002).

Apart from Brazil, France and Argentina are the only two teams that have achieved the feat of winning the three biggest men’s football tournaments under FIFA – the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympics. They also share the record of 35 consecutive matches undefeated with Spain.

Brazil has many rivals due to its successes, with the most notable rivalry with Argentina – known as the Superclássico das Américas in Portugal and Italy, the Clásico Mundial in Spanish and the World Derby in English.

Brazil has a massive rivalry with Uruguay as well with the infamous Maracanazo incident in 1950.

The Selecao also have a rivalry with France and the Netherlands because of their battles in previous World Cups. The also have a cultural and heritage rivalry with Portugal.

Brazil has also produced players considered as the best in the world at their time and among the best ever altogether, such are the cases of Pelé, Didi, Júlio Botelho, Garrincha, Gérson, Tostão, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Sócrates, Zico, Falcão, Júnior, Careca, Romário, Bebeto, Jorginho, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaká, Adriano and Neymar.

A common quip about football is: “Os ingleses o inventaram, os brasileiros o aperfeiçoaram” (The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it).

Cafu is the nation’s most capped player while Pele is the all-time leading goal scorer for the national side.

CHI Chile

The Chile national football team is controlled by the Federación de Fútbol de Chile which was established in 1895. The team is commonly referred to as La Roja (“The Red One”).

Chile have appeared in nine World Cup tournaments and were hosts of the 1962 FIFA World Cup where they finished in third place, which is the highest position the country has ever achieved in the competition.

Chile won their first Copa América title on home soil at the 2015 Copa América, defeating Argentina in the final. They went on to successfully defend their title in the United States of America at Copa América Centenario in 2016.

Prior to this, Chile had been runners-up in the competition on four occasions. As a result of winning the 2015 Copa América, they qualified for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they finished second, behind Germany, in their debut appearance.

Alexis Sánchez is the nation’s greatest ever footballer. The former Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United star has the most caps and goals for his country.

COL Colombia

ColombiaThe Colombia national football team is managed by the Colombian Football Federation, the governing body for football in Colombia. The team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.

Football is extremely popular and has made the national team a sign of nationalism, pride, and passion for many Colombians worldwide. Colombia is known for having an extremely passionate fan base.

The Colombian team has participated in six World Cups (1962, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2014 and 2018). In Brazil 2014, the team achieved its best World Cup performance, reaching the quarter-finals of the event and coming fifth in the final standings.

The team’s greatest international achievement is winning the Copa América, in 2001, when they hosted the event. Colombia ended up as runners-up in 1975 and semi-finalists in 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2004 and 2016.

Furthermore, the team has managed to make some outstanding appearances at the continental level, obtaining from the Central American and Caribbean Games the gold and bronze medals in 1946 and 1938 respectively, and the Bolivarian Games gold medal in 1951 and the silver medal in 1961, 1973 and 1981.

Colombia had its strongest period during the 1990s. During this era Colombia qualified for 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, but only reached the second round in 1990.

When Colombia became the champions of the 2001 Copa América as hosts, they set a new Copa América record of conceding no goals and winning each match. Prior to that success, they were runners-up to Peru in the 1975 Copa América. In total, Colombia has gained a top-four result in seven Copa Américas. Colombia was the first team to win the FIFA Best Mover award in 1993 and the second team after Croatia to win it twice in 2012.

Colombia missed the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. During the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. After a 16-year-long wait, Colombia finally returned to the World Cup in 2014, where they were able to advance to the quarter-finals, the furthest Colombia has ever made it in a World Cup. Colombian midfielder James Rodríguez won two awards – the Golden Boot for most goals (6) and the Best Goal of the Tournament.

Carlos Valderrama is the nation’s most capped player while Radamel Falcao is the all-time leading goal scorer for La Tricolor. The national team plays its home games at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez in Barranquilla.

ECU Ecuador

EcuadorThe Ecuador national football team has represented Ecuador in men’s international football since 1938 and is controlled by the Ecuadorian Football Federation (Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol). They joined FIFA in 1926 and CONMEBOL a year later.

Declining an invitation to participate in the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup held in Uruguay, Ecuador did not make their tournament debut until 2002. After finishing above Brazil and Uruguay in the standings, the qualifying campaign marked the emergence of several players, such as Agustín Delgado, Álex Aguinaga, Iván Hurtado, Ulises de la Cruz and Iván Kaviedes, who set the stage for Ecuador’s achievements in the next decade.

Having reached the Round of 16 in a memorable 2006 World Cup campaign, they were expected to do well at the 2007 Copa América but were eliminated in the group stage itself in what proved to be a major let down.

Along with Venezuela, they have not won the continental tournament. La Tri’s best performance was fourth in 1959 and 1993, both times on home soil.

Ecuador plays the majority of their home matches at the Estadio Rodrigo Paz Delgado in Quito. Iván Hurtado is the nation’s most capped player while Agustín Delgado and Enner Valencia are the country’s all-time leading goal scorers.

PAR Paraguay

ParaguayThe Paraguay national football team is controlled by the Paraguayan Football Association (Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol). The Albirroja has qualified for eight FIFA World Cup competitions (1930, 1950, 1958, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), with their best performance coming in 2010 when they reached the quarter-finals.

A regular participant at the Copa América, Paraguay have been crowned champions of the competition on two occasions (in 1953 and 1979). Paraguay’s highest FIFA World Rankings was 8th (March 2001) and they have dropped to as low as 103 (May 1995). Paraguay was awarded second place with the Best Mover of the Year in 1996 for their rise in the FIFA Rankings, which is no surprise given how low they had been ranked.

The national team’s most successful period was under the coaching of Argentine Gerardo Martino, who was awarded with the South American Coach of the Year in 2007 and took Paraguay to the quarter-finals stage of the FIFA World Cup competition for the first time in history (in 2010) and also to the final of the 2011 Copa América, where Paraguay finished as runners-up.

In Paraguay’s entire history at the FIFA World Cup, only Carlos Gamarra and José Luis Chilavert hold the distinction of being selected as part of the All-Star Team, when they managed to do so in the 1998 edition.

Paulo da Silva has the most appearances for the national team and Roque Santa Cruz is the all-time leading goal scorer. Denis Caniza, who was present with the national team from 1996 to 2010, is the only player to have represented Paraguay in four consecutive FIFA World Cup competitions (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010).

PER Peru

PeruThe Peru national football team represents Peru in men’s international football. The national team has been organised, since 1927, by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF).

Peru has won the Copa América twice and qualified for FIFA World Cup finals five times (last appearing in 2018). The nation also participated in the 1936 Olympic football competition and has reached the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The team plays most of its home matches at the Estadio Nacional in Lima, the country’s capital.

Peru has longstanding rivalries with Chile and Ecuador. The Peru national team enjoyed its most successful periods in the 1930s and the 1970s.

In the 1930s, Peru took part in the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930 and enjoyed victories in the 1938 Bolivarian Games and the 1939 Copa América, with goalkeeper Juan Valdivieso and forwards Teodoro Fernández and Alejandro Villanueva playing important roles.

In the 1970s, Peru qualified for three World Cups and won the Copa América in 1975, attaining worldwide recognition. The team then notably included defender Héctor Chumpitaz and the forward partnership of Hugo Sotil and Teófilo Cubillas, often regarded as Peru’s greatest player.

The country’s all-time top goalscorer is Paolo Guerrero and the most-capped player is Roberto Palacios. Under manager Ricardo Gareca, Peru placed third at the 2015 Copa América, reached the quarter-finals of the Copa América Centenario, participated in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, and earned second place at the 2019 Copa América.

URU Uruguay

UruguayThe Uruguay national football team is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The Uruguayan team is commonly referred to as La Celeste (The Sky Blue).

They have won the Copa América 15 times, the most successful national team in the tournament, with their most recent title coming in 2011. The team has won the FIFA World Cup twice, including the first World Cup in 1930 as hosts, defeating Argentina 4–2 in the final. They won their second title in 1950, upsetting hosts Brazil 2–1 in the final match, which received an attendance higher than any football match ever.

They have won gold medals at the Olympic football tournament twice, in 1924 and 1928, which were regarded as equivalent to World Cups back then. The world federation considers Uruguay as 4-time FIFA world champions.

La Celeste also won the 1980 Mundialito, a tournament among former World Cup champions. In total, Uruguay have won 20 official titles, a world record for the most international titles held by any country.

Their success is amplified by the fact that the nation has a very small population of around 4 million inhabitants. Uruguay is by far the smallest country in the world to have won a World Cup in terms of population, 1.75 million inhabitants in 1930.

The second-smallest country, by population, to have won the World Cup is Argentina with a population of nearly 28 million people in 1978. Uruguay is also the smallest country ever to win any World Cup medal. Only six FIFA member nations with a currently smaller population than Uruguay’s have ever qualified to any World Cup – Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Wales, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Iceland.

Diego Godín is the country’s most capped player while Luis Suárez is the all-time leading goal scorer. The Estadio Centenario in Montevideo is the home stadium for the Uruguayans.

VEN Venezuela

VenezuelaThe Venezuela national football team is controlled by the Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF), the governing body for football in Venezuela. They are nicknamed La Vinotinto (“Red wine”) because of the traditional burgundy color of their shirts.

When playing at home in official games, they usually rotate between three stadiums: The Polideportivo Cachamay in Puerto Ordaz, the Estadio José Antonio Anzoátegui in Puerto La Cruz and the Estadio Pueblo Nuevo in San Cristóbal.

Venezuela are the only CONMEBOL side to have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. Until 2011, their best finish at the Copa América was fifth in their first entry, in 1967.

Venezuela has achieved the highest position on the FIFA World Ranking of any team that has not yet qualified for the World Cup, being ranked 25th.

In spite of its lackluster senior performance, Venezuela has been notable for being the first country from outside the three traditional CONMEBOL forces of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay to reach the final of any FIFA competition, with its Under-20 team achieving the feat at 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Juan Arango is the highest capped player for his nation while Salomón Rondón is the country’s all-time leading goal scorer.