Copa America vs Euros: Which is the bigger and better football competition?

Copa America vs Euros: Which is the bigger and better football competition?

Kenneth Mwenda
June 16, 2024 at 10:26 PM
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CONMEBOL Copa America logo
CONMEBOL Copa America
UEFA European Championship logo

The debate of Copa America vs Euros has been longstanding and created a rift in the football community for years. It is a common practice that both championships attract viewers from all around the world who fervently follow the matches.

 Copa America and Euro trophies
The Copa America trophy in Bogota, Colombia, on May 7, 2019. (The Euro trophy at the IBM in the Leipzig exhibition hall on June 11. Photos: Juan David Moreno Gallego, Jan Woitas (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Table of Сontents:

Will Copa America or Euros bring more excitement and competency? The two tournaments take place in June and July 2024, and fans are gearing up for spectacular action, watching some of the best players from the continents. Sports Brief compares the two competitions and their history.

Copa America vs Euros: Which is bigger and better?

Both tournaments offer unique and exciting football experiences, from the exciting but unpredictable nature of the Copa America to the high-stakes, high-quality games of the Euros.

The upcoming 2024 Copa América marks its 48th edition and will run from June 20 to July 14, 2024, in the United States. Germany will host the other tournament from June 14 to July 14, 2024. The champions from both tournaments will vie in the 2025 CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions.

Copa America vs Euros history and origins

The Copa America is the oldest international football competition, first held in 1916. It features teams from South America, a continent known for its passionate football culture and producing players like Lionel Messi, Pelé and Maradona.

Officially known as the UEFA European Championship, the Euros began in 1960. The tournament has featured some of the biggest names, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini, and many others. It features teams from Europe, a continent with a rich football history and powerhouse teams like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.

Teams comparison

Lionel Messi with the Copa America trophy
Lionel Messi of Argentina holds the trophy with teammates after winning the Copa America Brazil 2021 at Maracana Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Buda Mendes
Source: Getty Images

The Copa America includes 10 teams from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and sometimes invites teams from other continents to participate. As of 2024, it has six teams from the CONCACAF region, comprising 16 teams.

The Euros feature 24 teams from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). This larger number of teams means more matches and more excitement for fans.

Copa America vs Euros quality of competition

The Euros are often seen as more competitive due to the presence of top-tier national teams and the long qualification process. This makes it more enjoyable for viewers, as the matches are usually closely contested and exciting.

Is Euros the toughest tournament?

The World Cup is arguably the most competitive and challenging football event. The European Championship also ranks among the toughest tournaments after the World Cup. Some players, like Kylian Mbappé, believe the Euros is the most challenging competition. According to Fox Sports, the Frenchman said,

"The tournament is complicated. For me, it is more complicated than a World Cup, even if there is more pressure at the World Cup. All the teams know each other, and we play against each other all the time. Tactically, it is very similar."

Player composition

Harry Kane and teammates in Germany
Harry Kane and teammates during a training session at Spa & Golf Resort Weimarer Land on June 13, 2024, in Blankenhain, Germany. Photo: Richard Pelham
Source: Getty Images

European players often play against each other in domestic leagues or play for the same club. This frequent interaction means they better understand each other's games.

For example, the England national team, coached by Gareth Southgate, typically includes only a few players from outside the Premier League. These are Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane.

The squad might also feature John Stones and Kyle Walker, both defenders from Manchester City. They could play against their club teammates like Rúben Dias and Bernardo Silva from Portugal. This widespread talent in Europe creates a level of parity where it is hard to predict who will advance.

This is in contrast with Copa America. For example, the Argentina national team often includes players from around seven countries. You might have no chance if a team has better stars than yours because no one knows their game.

This diversity has been an advantage for South American countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, which have players in top clubs. This also makes it simple to predict the tournament's winner.

Copa America vs Euro Cup winners

Uruguay and Argentina have dominated the Copa America, both winning 15 times. Brazil follows closely with nine titles. In contrast, the other tournament has seen more diversity in winners, with Germany and Spain leading with three titles each, followed by France with two titles.

The difference between Euro cup and Copa America on prize money

Leonardo Bonucci with the Euro 2020 trophy
Leonardo Bonucci lifts the trophy as the Italian team celebrates victory after the Italy v England Euro 2020 final match at Wembley Stadium on July 11th 2021 in London. Photo: Tom Jenkins
Source: Getty Images

The Euro is second only to the FIFA World Cup with impressive viewing figures across Europe and lucrative rewards. According to Aljazeera, the prize money pool for Euro 2024 is $360 million, the same as for 2020. This pool is shared among the 24 teams based on their performance, with a maximum potential win of $30.31 million.

In comparison, the Sun reports that CONMEBOL awards $72 million for Copa America, with each team getting $2 million just for qualifying. While Copa America's prize money is lower, it still offers a significant financial boost for the teams and players involved.

Popularity and viewership

The Euros generally attract a larger global audience. According to The Hindu BusinessLine, 37 million viewers tuned in to watch the first 21 group stage matches of UEFA Euro 2020 from June 11 to June 18, 2021.

Copa America also has a broad audience, particularly in the Americas. The tournament's unique South American flair appeals to many fans but has less global reach than the Euros. In the 2021 Copa America, matches on Univision linear networks averaged 980,000 viewers per game after the first ten games.


Lionel Messi in Florida
Lionel Messi (L) and teammates participate in a training session at Florida Blue Training Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 5, 2024, ahead of the Copa America. Photo: Chris Arjoon
Source: Getty Images

Is Copa America equivalent to the Euro? In terms of history and regional importance, yes. Both are the top football tournaments in their respective continents.

But when it comes to "is Copa America better than Euro" or "Copa America or Euro Cup, which is bigger," the Euros usually come out on top because of their larger scale, higher quality of competition, and broader global appeal.

Is Copa America and Euro Cup the same?

No, they are distinct tournaments with different histories, formats, and styles. But both are celebrated for their contribution to football and ability to unite fans worldwide.

Which country has never won Copa America?

Eight of the ten CONMEBOL national teams have won the tournament at least once in its 47 stagings since the event's inauguration in 1916, with only Ecuador and Venezuela yet to win.

Is the Euro harder than the World Cup?

Some players and analysts consider the Euros harder than the World Cup because the competition is more evenly matched, with all participating teams from strong European football nations.

Final word

In the Copa America vs Euros debate, each has its unique appeal and significance. Whether you prefer the passionate, unpredictable nature of Copa America or the high-stakes, high-quality matches of the Euros, there is no denying that both are essential parts of the beautiful game.

READ ALSO: Most Euro Cup winners: Which country has won the Euros the most times, and how did they do it?

Sports Brief published an article about Most Euro Cup winners. The UEFA European (Euro) Championship is among the most viewed soccer competitions after the FIFA World Cup.

The event, held every four years since its inception in 1960, has seen several European soccer giants lift the trophy. Germany and Spain top the list of the most Euro Cup winners with three titles each. Click the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.