Top 5: Biggest Copa America shocks this century

We have compiled a defined list of what we think have been the top five biggest Copa America shocks this century in terms of results. The 2024 Copa America starts on Friday, and is being hosted by the USA.

Our top five list takes into account the gap in quality between the favourites and the underdogs on paper, as well as past history in the competition. Read on to see our picks…

Brazil look deflated after losing 1-0 to Peru in the group stage at the 2016 Copa America Centenario – LixMuzi – Photo by Imago

Biggest Copa America shocks this century – Our top 5

5. Brazil 0-1 Peru (Group Stage, 2016)

Kicking off the list is a surprise result in the group stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario, where Brazil lost 1-0 to Peru. The Brazilians are traditional powerhouses not just in South American football, but on the world stage, having won a record five FIFA World Cups. They have also won the Copa America nine times, while their opponents this time around Peru have only won the competition twice, and last in 1975.

In the 2016 tournament, Brazil were drawn from Pot One and were ranked 6th in the FIFA World Rankings, while Peru were drawn from Pot Four and ranked 47th in the world. Peru's 1-0 win over Brazil in the final group match knocked the Brazilians out of the competition, but they themselves were knocked out at the quarter-finals by Colombia via a penalty shootout.

Venezuela players celebrate after beating Uruguay 1-0 at the group stage of the Copa America Centenario – Dennis Schneidler/Icon Sportswire – Photo by Imago

4. Uruguay 0-1 Venezuela (Group Stage, 2016)

Another shock result came in the group stage in 2016, as Venezuela beat Uruguay 1-0. To put this into context, Venezuela have never won the Copa America, with their best finish being fourth place in 2011. In contrast, Uruguay have won the competition a joint-record 15 times with Argentina, with their last triumph only five years prior to this match in 2011.

Going into the 2016 tournament, Uruguay were drawn from Pot Two and ranked 11th overall in the world, while Venezuela were in Pot Four, and were the lowest-ranked team in the competition (83rd). Venezuela's win ensured they qualified for the knockout stages ahead of Uruguay, but were ultimately thumped 4-1 by Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Chile players celebrate one of their goals in their 7-0 win vs Mexico in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario – Allan Hamilton/ICON Sportswire – Photo by Imago

3. Mexico 0-7 Chile (Quarter-finals, 2016)

Another game from the 2016 archives saw Chile thrash Mexico 7-0 in the quarter-finals, a result that showed that the Chileans really meant business. They would go on to win the whole competition, having already emerged victorious a year earlier in 2015. Perhaps they were capable of such an emphatic result, but the Mexicans were no slouches themselves.

Indeed, they were actually in a higher pot than Chile when the draw was made, in Pot One compared to Pot Two. Mexico were also ranked a respectable 22nd in the world, and had topped their group on route to the knockout stages, whereas Chile only finished in second place behind Argentina. However, they were no match in the quarter-finals with an emphatic 7-0 triumph, and it is even more special to do it in the knockouts as opposed to the group stage.

Honduras fans witnessed a special 2-0 win vs Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2001 Copa America – Icon749140529002 – Photo by Imago

2. Brazil 0-2 Honduras (Quarter-finals, 2001)

Our runners-up spot goes to Honduras, who famously beat Brazil 2-0 in the quarter-finals in 2001, on their way to a third-placed finish in their one and only appearance in the Copa America. They were not even in the original pool of teams to compete, but got called up at late notice along with Costa Rica as both Argentina and Canada withdrew from the competition.

What made Honduras' victory even more special was that Brazil were also the reigning Copa America champions, and arrived just a few hours before the first game with barely enough players available. The tournament was won by the hosts Colombia, despite reports of potential security issues after a sudden reversal in original plans.

Chile won their first-ever Copa America title in 2015 by beating Argentina 4-1 on penalties in the final – XuxZijian – Photo by Imago

1. Chile 0-0 Argentina (4-1 pens) (Final, 2015)

Our biggest Copa America shock this century has to go to Chile, who won their first-ever Copa America title in 2015 by beating the favourites Argentina 4-1 on penalties in the final, after a 0-0 draw in normal time. They would then subsequently go on to win the 2016 Copa America Centenario, in what was a truly memorable two years for all Chilean supporters.

There were four teams ranked higher than Chile (13) in the world rankings before the tournament began, including usual suspects Argentina and Brazil as well as Uruguay and Colombia. Having never won the competition before either, it made their achievement even more special, coupled up with the fact that they were also the hosts, and so could lift their maiden trophy in front of the home faithful.


Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.