Few events on the football calendar can compete with the Copa Libertadores. This prestigious event brings together the best club teams from South America, attracting millions of spectators worldwide. It is not only a spectacular spectacle for football fans, but it is also extremely popular amongst South American bettors and even those who play real money slots. The current Copa Libertadores season is already in full swing, with clubs vying for a position in the next round. In this article, we will give you a comprehensive overview of the competition’s format and insights into some of the major contestants.
How The Copa Libertadores Works?
The premier football club tournament in South America got underway in early February, with teams looking to book their spot in the main competition. In total, there are three qualification campaigns that teams will need to navigate to reach the group stage proper, which is where the real serious nature of the competition heats up.
The 32 teams that qualify for the group stage are then drawn into eight groups of four. Each team in the group will come up against the other sides located in their group on two occasions, playing once at home and once on the road. After all the matches have been played, the top two teams in the standings progress to the knockout round. Meanwhile, the team that finishes third will play the remainder of the season in the Copa Sudamericana.
In the knockout round, teams that finish top of their respective group standings will compete against teams that finished second in the group stage. The team that finished higher in their group standings will have a home advantage in the second leg. Teams will then compete over two-legged ties before only two sides remain, and those sides will compete in the Copa Libertadores final.
Leading Copa Libertadores Contenders
The group stage campaign is nearly concluded, which means that the teams that will compete in the knockout stage are close to being determined. The leading contenders to win the Copa Libertadores this term are Palmeiras. As one of Brazil’s top clubs, they will be expected to go deep in the competition this term, but they could face a fight when the knockout stages get underway, as they look set to finish Group C in second place after winning three of their four matches.
Last season’s champions Flamengo are also among the leading contenders this season, but they face a nervy two final rounds of matches before their spot in the next round is concerned. They currently sit second in Group A and have won just once in their opening four matches. They could yet finish down in fourth in the standings, as they are five points adrift of the team at the top of the standings.
One of the most impressive sides throughout the group stages comes in the form of Fluminense, who sit top of the Group D standings. The Brazilian club has won three of their opening four matches in the competition, having scored an impressive nine goals and allowed just three. However, they will need a victory in the penultimate round of games in the group to secure their spot in the round of 16 as group winners.
History & Winners
The Copa Libertadores has been one of the most celebrated soccer events in South America since its inception in 1960. It is most similar to the Champions League, with the competition being staged between January and November. The winning team will secure their spot in the FIFA Club World Cup, and the Recopa Sudamericana in the following season.
The most successful team in the history of the event is Argentina’s Independiente, who has claimed victory on seven occasions. Teams from Argentina have also picked up the most victories with 25 victories, while Brazil is the second most successful nation with ten victories. Last season, Brazilian team Flamengo landed a third title in the history of the event which marked the fourth straight year in which a team from the nation has won the Copa Libertadores.
The Copa Libertadores is one of the most exciting footballing competitions on the calendar, and that is certainly the case once again in 2023. There will be no shortage of leading contenders to land the prestigious prize, and it will make for compelling viewing for all football fans when the knockout stages of the tournament get underway later in the year.