The national soccer teams of China and Qatar were invited to attend the 2020 Copa América, to be held in Argentina and Columbia from June 12 and July 12, globoesporte.com reported on Wednesday.
Qatar is the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the country's Qatar Airways is one of the major sponsors of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). The Gulf state and Japan have already accepted the invitation to participate in the 2019 Copa América in Brazil.
As another promising, big soccer market in Asia, China was also invited to Brazil in 2019 but declined. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) said it wanted the national team to focus on the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Though the CFA has not accepted or declined this year's invitation yet, it is highly unlikely that the answer will be yes. Currently, China ranks No. 74 on FIFA's world rankings, lower than No. 63 Bolivia, which already ranks lowest among all South American countries. By contrast, Qatar ranks No. 55. This means that China may become the biggest underdog of the event and face multiple disastrous losses.
The other reason that might let the CFA hesitate is the FIFA world ranking points. The recent disappointing performances of the country's national team already endangered China's seeded spot in the World Cup qualifiers. As Iraq is catching up fast, China cannot afford to lose too many games for the sake of the future.
If China does not go to Argentina (or Columbia), South Korea or Iceland are potential candidates for the trip.