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Copa Interamericana

Copa Interamericana
Interamerican Cup
Copa Interamericana trophy.png
The trophy given to champions
Organising bodyCONCACAF & CONMEBOL
Abolished1998; 22 years ago (1998)
RegionNorth America
South America
Number of teams2
Related competitionsCopa Libertadores
CONCACAF Champions League
Last championsUnited States D.C. United
(1st title)
Most successful club(s)Argentina Independiente
(3 titles)

The Copa Interamericana (English: Interamerican Cup) was an annual club football competition organized by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) since 1969. It was discontinued in 1998 after CONCACAF clubs, particularly those from Mexico, began participating in CONMEBOL competitions. The Interamerican Cup was founded as a result of the refusal from CONMEBOL and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) of allowing CONCACAF clubs, as well as those from other confederations, to participate in the European/South American Cup, later known as the Toyota Cup and informally called the Intercontinental Cup.

The competition was supposed to be contested between the winners of the North American CONCACAF Champions Cup and the South American Copa Libertadores tournaments although the participants have varied at times. The format of the competition was extremely sporadic. From its formation, the competition was usually contested over a two legged tie, with a playoff if necessary until 1968, and penalty kicks later. However, it was common for several consecutive editions to go undisputed. Of the 18 competitions played, four of them were disputed over several matches in just one venue. Two others were held in a single match. Another two editions had participants that had not qualified outright to dispute the competition. Most of the editions were disputed one, and sometimes two, years after the participants had qualified to dispute it. This was the result of the lack of financial incentives and the low relevance of the competition[1] usually view with little appeal from the South American teams (unlike the Intercontinental Cup, which was considered a club world cup until 2004).[2][3] The 18 Interamerican Cup tournaments were won by 13 club teams. Argentine side Independiente won a record three titles. The last winner of the cup was American side D.C. United, defeating Brazilian side Vasco da Gama 2-1 on aggregate in 1998. Argentina was the most successful national league with seven titles, while Uruguayan outfit Nacional and Independiente share the record for the most appearances with three each.


In 1969, an agreement came between the confederations of South America (CONMEBOL) and Central and North America (CONCACAF) to dispute an annual competition, the Interamerican Cup, which pitted the champions of those two confederations in a format similar to the Intercontinental Cup. The first edition was disputed between Estudiantes and Mexican club Toluca in which each team won 2-1 in their away legs. The playoff in Montevideo proved to be the tie-breaker as Estudiantes won a violent match 2-0. This promising start did little to help the competition; due to the difference in interests between the clubs involved, the Interamerican Cup had an even more sporadic lifeline than the more prestigious Intercontinental Cup; sometimes, years would go without it being played. The second edition was played four years later, in 1971, which saw Nacional edge Mexican side Cruz Azul 3-2 on aggregate. Independiente would become the only club to win the competition three times in a row, from 1972 to 1974, after seeing off Honduran club Olimpia, Guatemalan club Municipal and Mexican side Atlético Español, the last two after a penalty shoot-out. Mexico's América broke the South American hegemony after beating Boca Juniors in a play-off match in 1977. As a result of this victory, the Mexican squad argued that it had the right to participate in the Intercontinental Cup of that year; however, they were denied the opportunity. Paraguay's Olimpia returned the trophy back south in 1980 with a victory over El Salvador's FAS but Club Universidad Nacional of Mexico City defeating Uruguay's Nacional to win CONCACAF's second title.

The competition entered a state of hiatus again, this time for five years. In 1986, Argentinos Juniors would defeat Defence Force of Trinidad and Tobago in a single-match final. River Plate would keep the trophy in Argentina, for the second year running, defeating Costa Rican side Alajuelense. Uruguay's Nacional would trounce Honduras' Olimpia 5-1 on aggregate the following year. Colombia's Atlético Nacional made short work of Club Universidad Nacional; however, South America hegemony would once again be broken by América after defeating Paraguay's Olimpia. Compatriots Puebla failed to retain the trophy in Mexico after being routed by Chile's Colo-Colo. The importance of the competition decreased significantly after two Brazilian clubs, Copa Libertadores winners São Paulo (1993) and Grêmio (1995) declined to participate out of disinterest; both times, the Copa Libertadores runners-up, Chilean side Universidad Católica and Atlético Nacional took their place; each of them were pushed to the limit by Costa Rica's Saprissa. Vélez Sársfield beat Costa Rican club Cartaginés in 1994 while the last Interamerican Cup, held in 1998, saw American club D.C. United beat Vasco da Gama.

The Interamerican Cup was abolished in 1998 when Mexican clubs began to participate in the Copa Libertadores and other CONCACAF teams participated in the Copa Sudamericana. Since 2000, when FIFA adopted the Club World Championship format clash between the champions of all continental confederations, the champions of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL again have the opportunity to meet.



Match decided by a penalty shootout after extra time *
Match playoff


Year Country Winner Agg/Score Runner-up Country 1st leg 2nd leg Playoff
1969  ARG Estudiantes 3–3 Toluca  MEX 2–1 1–2 3–0
1972  URU Nacional 3–2 Cruz Azul  MEX 1–1 2–1
1973  ARG Independiente 4–1 Olimpia  HON 2–1 2–0
1974  ARG Independiente 1–1* Municipal  GUA 1–0 0–1
1976  ARG Independiente 2–2* Español  MEX 2–2 0–0
1978  MEX América 1–3 Boca Juniors  ARG 0–3 1–0 2–1 (a.e.t.)
1980  PAR Olimpia 8–3 FAS  SLV 3–3 5–0
1981  MEX UNAM 4–4 Nacional  URU 3–1 1–3 2–1
1986  ARG Argentinos Juniors 1–0 Defence Force  TRI 1–0
1987  ARG River Plate 3–0 Alajuelense  CRC 0–0 3–0
1989  URU Nacional 5–1 Olimpia  HON 1–1 4–0
1990  COL Atlético Nacional 6–1 UNAM  MEX 2–0 4–1
1991  MEX América 3–2 Olimpia  PAR 1–1 2–1
1992  CHI Colo-Colo 7–2 Puebla  MEX 4–1 3–1
1994  CHI Universidad Católica 6–4 Saprissa  CRC 1–3 5–1 (a.e.t.)
1996  ARG Vélez Sársfield 2–0 Cartaginés  CRC 0–0 2–0
1997  COL Atlético Nacional 3–2 Saprissa  CRC 3–2
1998  USA D.C. United 2–1 Vasco da Gama  BRA 0–1 2–0


By team

Team Winner Runner-up Years won Years runner-up
Argentina Independiente 3 0 1973, 1974, 1976
Uruguay Nacional 2 1 1972, 1989 1981
Mexico América 2 0 1978, 1991
Colombia Atlético Nacional 2 0 1990, 1997
Paraguay Olimpia 1 1 1980 1991
Mexico UNAM 1 1 1981 1990
Argentina Estudiantes 1 0 1969
Argentina Argentinos Juniors 1 0 1986
Argentina River Plate 1 0 1987
Chile Colo-Colo 1 0 1992
Chile Universidad Católica 1 0 1994
Argentina Vélez Sársfield 1 0 1996
United States D.C. United 1 0 1998
Honduras Olimpia 0 2 1973, 1989
Costa Rica Saprissa 0 2 1994, 1997
Mexico Toluca 0 1 1969
Mexico Cruz Azul 0 1 1972
Guatemala Municipal 0 1 1974
Mexico Atlético Español 0 1 1976
Argentina Boca Juniors 0 1 1978
El Salvador FAS 0 1 1980
Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force 0 1 1986
Costa Rica Alajuelense 0 1 1987
Mexico Puebla 0 1 1992
Costa Rica Cartaginés 0 1 1996
Brazil Vasco da Gama 0 1 1998

By nation

Nation Winners Runners-Up Winning Clubs Runners-Up
 Argentina 7 1 Independiente (3), Argentinos Juniors (1), Estudiantes (1), River Plate (1), Vélez Sársfield (1) Boca Juniors (1)
 Mexico 3 5 América (2), UNAM (1) Español (1), Cruz Azul (1), Puebla (1), UNAM (1), Toluca (1)
 Uruguay 2 1 Nacional (2) Nacional (1)
 Chile 2 0 Colo-Colo (1), Universidad Católica (1)
 Colombia 2 0 Atlético Nacional (2)
 Paraguay 1 1 Olimpia (1) Olimpia (1)
 United States 1 0 D.C. United (1)
 Costa Rica 0 4 Alajuelense (1), Cartaginés (1), Saprissa (2)
 Honduras 0 2 Olimpia (2)
 Brazil 0 1 Vasco da Gama (1)
 El Salvador 0 1 FAS (1)
 Guatemala 0 1 Municipal (1)
 Trinidad and Tobago 0 1 Defence Force (1)

By confederation

Confederation Winners Runners-Up Winning Nations Runners-Up
CONMEBOL 14 4 Argentina (7), Chile (2), Colombia (2), Uruguay (2), Paraguay (1) Argentina (1), Brazil (1), Paraguay (1), Uruguay (1)
CONCACAF 4 14 Mexico (3), United States (1) Mexico (5), Costa Rica (4), Honduras (2), El Salvador (1), Guatemala (1), Trinidad and Tobago (1)

See also

  • International club competition records


  1. ^ "COPA INTERAMERICANA: A 45 AÑOS" (Press release). November 2011.
  2. ^ "Copa Interamericana de Futebol" (Press release). August 2013.
  3. ^ "Goodbye Toyota Cup, hello FIFA Club World Championship" (Press release). December 2004.