United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes the Copa America Centenario will have more quality on display than the “diluted” Euro 2016 next month.
The centenary edition of the Copa America and Euro 2016 both get underway within a week of each other in June.
Hosts France, Germany, Spain, England and Italy will be in action at the expanded 24-team European Championship, starting June 10, while home nation the USA will feature alongside defending Copa America champions Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay when the showpiece tournament kicks off a week earlier.
And as the USA step up their preparation for the Copa America with an international friendly against Ecuador in Dallas on Wednesday, Klinsmann is in no doubt as to which tournament is superior.
“If you compare this Copa America with these 16 nations compared to 24 going into the Euros, then I almost think you have more quality in this Copa America than you have with a diluted kind of 24-team version of the European championship,” Klinsmann said.
“Because in Europe, you have several kind of levels, but they open it up to 24 teams [from 16 teams].
“I think 16 teams [in Copa America], six CONCACAF nations that are very good, very strong, and obviously the South Americans are all powerhouses.
“So what you’re going to see now in this upcoming Copa America is very special and easily can compete with the European Championship. That’s big, and you want your players to realize that. I think they can do that.”
Klinsmann, whose team will face Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in Group A next month, added: “When you get now an opportunity like this, and half a year ago we didn’t even know if this Copa America would happen or not, then you really just want your players to realize how big of an opportunity this is.
“This is the biggest showcase you can have besides a World Cup in South and in North America.”
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