Socceroos withdraw from Copa America

The rescheduling of a host of World Cup qualifiers has led to Australia withdrawing from the Copa America.

The Socceroos have withdrawn from this year’s Copa America due to a backlog of 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Australia had been invited to take part in the South American nations tournament, which is taking place in Argentina and Colombia in June and July.

The tournament had been delayed by a year because of COVID-19.

With the pandemic also having led to several of Australia’s World Cup qualifiers being postponed and rescheduled, Football Australia has made the decision to pull out of the Copa America.

“It is with great disappointment that Australia cannot feature at the Copa America in 2021,” FA chief executive James Johnson said.

“Regrettably, the international football calendar, including our FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification schedule, has been significantly disrupted over the past 12 months by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of the Australian football community, I would like to thank CONMEBOL for their warm invitation to the tournament, as well as their continued dialogue regarding our participation over the past year.

“We would also like to thank AFC and FIFA which supported our invitation to the tournament.

“To have participated in such a prestigious competition and to experience the unique South American football culture would have been a thrill for Australian players, staff and fans alike.

“We wish CONMEBOL every success in the delivery for the Copa America and remain hopeful for an opportunity to participate in future editions of the competition.”

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said his team been greatly looking forward to the unique opportunity of playing in the Copa America”.

“It is unfortunate that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to attend in 2021,” Arnold said.

“On behalf of the team I thank CONMEBOL for the invitation, which would have presented our team with a fantastic opportunity to test itself against some of the world’s best.”

Australia was to have been in Group A with Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Qatar, who had also been invited to the Copa America, have also withdrawn from the tournament.

The Socceroos’ next World Cup qualifier is on March 30 against Nepal in Kathmadu.

In June, the Australians continue their qualifying campaign with home matches against Kuwait, Chinese Taipei and Jordan.

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