A Golden Year 2024


Get ready for a blitz of international tournaments in 2024.

We might have to wait another couple of years for the World Cup, but we will be blessed in 2024 with the African Cup of Nations, Asian Cup, Copa America and European Championship.

  • AFC ASIAN CUP - Qatar - 12th Jan - 10th Feb - 24 teams - 5 host cities
  • CAF AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS - Cote d'Ivoire - 13th Jan - 11th Feb - 24 teams - 6 host cities
  • CONMEBOL COPA AMERICA - USA - June - 16 teams
  • UEFA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - GERMANY -14th Jun-14th Jul - 24 teams - 10 host cities

For those of us who love international football, we could not be more thrilled.

AFC Asian Cup.
Qatar will host another big tournament

January kicks off with the African and Asian Championships. Qatar defend their Asian Cup on home soil, bringing back memories of last year's successful FIFA World Cup in the Gulf state.

24 nations will scrap it out across five cities and nine venues.

At the same time, Cote d'Ivoire hosts the African Cup of Nations where 24 countries will compete across six cities. Senegal will be defending their 2021 crown and first AFCON title.

CAF African Nations.
AFCON kicks off in January 2024

I have always liked the African Nations as it arrives from a warm place in the heart of the European winter and we only see that continent's football otherwise at World Cups. Add to that the perennial underdog status that accompanies African football on the world stage and outsiders like me can enjoy without prejudice.

I also find the contrast between North African and sub-Saharan football fascinating so a final like last one's between Senegal and Egypt was just the ticket. Maybe Mo Salah can lift gold this time.

Then in June we have the big beasts of the Copa America and European Championship. The former will take place not in South America but in the USA, as it did in 2016.

The Copa, despite boasting perennial giants Argentina and Brazil, has always had a little less prestige than the Euros, probably because there are only ten nations in CONMEBOL and no qualification process. Yet this year, CONCACAF will add six teams to make 16 finalists, which makes it more of a tournament.

North and Central America still have the Gold Cup to determine their regional champion (Mexico won it in 2023) but merging tournaments with the Copa America in the future is a distinct possibility.

With next summer's Copa America played in the USA and presumably with Canada and Mexico participating as well, it should also help ratchet up interest in the 2026 World Cup finals, which those three countries will host.

Messi will skipper Argentina at Copa America 2024

There is also the matter of Lionel Messi, who has been making waves at Inter Miami, playing on American soil for his country and seeking to repeat Argentina's 2021 Copa victory, his first international trophy.

Lastly we have Euro 2024, which refreshingly has a sole host. Germany is ideal - well located, well ordered with great infrastructure and football heritage. The 2006 World Cup was a model tournament for fans and the chaotic and violent end to Euro 2020 at Wembley will surely not happen in Berlin.

Der Mannschaft, with two consecutive World Cup first round eliminations and a second round Euro exit, has been stuck in a rut for a while on the international stage. On home soil they have the chance to return to high table next summer but with a still modest squad, the Germans may go no further than they did in 2006 - the quarter finals.

England still feel they have a golden generation in need of silverware, but World Cup finalists France, Euro holders Italy, as well as Belgium, Spain and Portugal will also have something to say.

Euro 2024 Germany.
Berlin's Olympiastadion will host the final on the 14th of July next year

So mark your calendars and clear your schedules now, because 2024 is going to be a really busy year for international football.

Best Euro 2024 Cities

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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