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What is the best international competition outside the World Cup?

the best international competition

Indisputably, the FIFA World Cup is the best international competition in soccer. Frankly, it is the best competition regardless of sport on the planet.

However, the beauty of soccer is that it does not just revolve around the World Cup. International teams go head-to-head with their neighbors from their continent every four years, more or less.

Each of the six FIFA confederations has its own continental tournament. For example, South American confederation CONMEBOL has the Copa America. Or, many casual fans can recognize the European Championship, or Euros, in UEFA.

There are also newer tournaments like the Nations League, which basically provides more passion for friendlies in between qualifying or more established tournaments.

These tournaments all follow a similar structure depending on the size of the competition. Every team in that confederation has an equal chance to win the tournament, at least on paper. Of course, fans of these competitions know that some teams are actual competitors to win, and some are just there for a good time.

What is the best international competition outside the World Cup?

We want to know which international competition you look forward to watching the most.

You could base your take on the talent at the competition. Certainly, UEFA houses the highest quantity of talented teams, and many of the world’s best players represent France, Germany, England, Spain and Italy. Similarly, CONMEBOL sides Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are also World Cup winning nations.

Or, you could take the most excitement out of the passion in the competition. In CONCACAF, the Nations League Final and the Gold Cup Final between Mexico and the United States were both full of drama in 2021. These are energetic games often basked in controversy due to the rivalry.

Personally, my favorite international competition is the Copa America. Living in the U.S., one of my favorite parts about international tournaments is the fans. The passion of each nation in South America is unrivaled in my eyes. While I would have loved to see Argentine and Brazilian fans at the Copa America Final in 2021, it is also a treat to watch those two storied nations play with Neymar and Messi at the top of their game.

Let us know your opinions in the comment section below.

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  1. Jack

    May 4, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    International: World Cup > Euro > UEFA Nations League >>> Copa America > Gold Cup

    Club: UEFA Champions League > Premier League

  2. Leo

    May 4, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    ESPN+ did a fantastic business buying LaLiga. It will end up being a bargain for ESPN+. Madrid and Barcelona are brands as worth each as the whole EPL.

    • Ra

      May 4, 2022 at 8:28 pm

      I agree. Also, the Latino soccer population is bigger than the English-speaking it the US.I am certain they’ve taken that into account.
      It is not obvious on this site, but the site is not appealing to Latinos in general- too UK-centric.

  3. Michael F

    May 4, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Since the ranking of which stream service is the best, may very easily be related to personal taste of what league or competition anyone is following… I choose to rank based on QUALITY and FEATURES of the stream service, on ones I use:

    1) ESPN+ Reason: Tremendous video quality with great features (multi-screen views of simultaneous matches, start from beginning of a live match in progress etc)

    2) Peacock Reason: Very good video quality and nice features (ability to start from beginning of a live match in progress, live and on-demand Goal Zone – which is live look-ins on Saturday AM matches etc). The obvious down side for complete ‘cut the cord’ folks is some matches live on USA cable network is delayed 24 hours for on-demand.

    3) Paramount+ Reason: This is a distant third from the first two above… because their video quality is average to sometimes terrible, and no feature to start a live match already in progress from the beginning.

    As you can see, video quality and features is TOP priority for me… and in this day and age of maturing streaming technology, it is a big FAIL when a stream service doesn’t place priority on this – when they carry a top international sport competition. I cannot stress this point enough.

    • Michael F

      May 4, 2022 at 4:28 pm

      Hello Chris… I made an error and posted my above comment to the wrong article. I tried to re-post this to the article it was intended for, which was ‘best soccer stream services… but could not. I apologize… can you please post it to that one. Thank you!

      • Michael F

        May 4, 2022 at 4:30 pm

        That is… ‘what’s your favorite stream services for soccer’. Thanks.

  4. Michelangelo

    May 4, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    World Cup
    Nations League
    Gold Cup
    Copa America
    Follow me for my podcast today @mschiano7forlife on instagram

  5. Leo

    May 4, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Right now:
    World Cup >> EUROs >> Copa America >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Asia Cup > Gold Cup > OFC Cup.
    The UEFA Nations League 2024/25 that includes the UEFA and CONMEBOL countries will be the best international competition. Very close to a World Cup.

  6. Jasinho

    May 4, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    I thought the recent edition of the Euros is every bit as competitive as a World Cup to a point where it negated the notion that the expansion of the Euros would dilute the tournament quality.

    And to echo the previous posters, a combined CONMEBOL-CONCACAF Copa America will have serious potential to challenge the Euros as the premier non-WC Football tournament but it still remains to be seen if CONCACAF is willing to forego the Gold Cup to make it happen. Until that day comes, they are sitting on a gold mine.

    A Pan-American Football Confederation could arguably configure the Libertadores into separate regional competitions for North and South America the same way the Asian Confederation has their Champions League for the Middle East and Far East Asia with the Championship match consisting of the finalist from their respective region.

    • Leo

      May 4, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      Copa Libertadores have a large tradition and don’t need CONCACAF. Financially, Libertadores has earned more profits since Mexican teams left the competition.

  7. Ra

    May 3, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    Libertadores. I’d say UCL, but the workdays afternoon matches really kill my enjoyment. Libertadores has it all – great atmosphere, beautiful and bizarre plays. The best of the best, and the best of the worst. I am watching the Estudiantes match now; a fun watch.

  8. Mercator

    May 3, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Euros. Generally the highest quality across the board, UEFA is big enough that there is always an unexpected runner (Greece won lol) and the timing is perfect falling 2 years before and after each WC. Its also usually a great tournament in person, easy travel, good hosts and good atmosphere – on TV always has the best production and coverage.

    CONMEBOL is just too small, its the same 10 teams who also play in WCQ. I’m sorry but its a joke – they have invitees every tournament because they aren’t enough teams to fill out a simple 12 team bracket. It’s not covered well on TV/Media in English (never been in person). Hopefully they have the timing right and will do it every 4 years, 2 years before and after each WC. I’m adamant that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF should be a single federation though (abolish OFC while you are at it). An FCA (Football Confederation of the Americas) tournament would be excellent and a real step closer to competing with UEFA.

    • locofooty

      May 4, 2022 at 9:34 am

      Copa America IS every 4 years. Hilarious how it’s always the concacaf people wanting to merge. South American fans could give a crap about them joining, except federation and conmebol officials who only care about $$$.

      • Mercator

        May 4, 2022 at 10:22 am

        NOW it is every 4 years (until they find some reason to change that), it was very recently not the case. The Euros has been quite consistent in timing for a while now. I know most South American fans don’t care – most don’t think and are content to dominate their small pool because they could never even consider they could dominate a much larger pool. This is why the region is consistently behind Europe despite the immense talent it produces. A 16 team Copa America, with Concacaf nations, would almost certainly result in all 10 CONEMBOL nations qualifying, and one winning, a much bigger tournament. This is better than inviting random nations like Qatar or Japan to fill out a 12 team tournament. That’s more recognition and money for South American clubs and NTs, which can be used to develop the game and talent in South America more. It’s not a badge of pride to have youth players dying in dormitory fires, that’s the stuff the money from a bigger stage helps prevent.

        I say this as someone deeply annoyed that global football culture is now swarmed with people drinking warm beers and talking about Stoke. It’s not good for the game that UEFA is so dominant.

        • dave

          May 4, 2022 at 10:55 am

          @Mercator, what do you mean by “This is why the region is consistently behind Europe despite the immense talent it produces”?
          CONMEBOL and UEFA teams that qualify for the World Cup perform similarly (aggregated and averaged across all entrants). UEFA have ~3x as many entrants as CONMEBOL and earn roughly ~3x as many points (using 3-1-0, 1 each for ET/shootout) in knockouts
          I would not see adding Chile and Paraguay to the World Cup as making any meaningful change in the probability of CONMEBOL winning the 2022 World Cup. If CONCACAF and CONMEBOL ever were to merge, money would be the more likely driver, I suspect

          • Mercator

            May 4, 2022 at 5:18 pm

            Behind may not have been the best term – the point is Europeans basically run the game. FIFA is run by them, UEFA the dominant conference, the best leagues and player are all in Europe. It wouldn’t be this lopsided given the immense tradition and talent in SA if CONEMBOL was more than a 10 member organization. I don’t think COPA is an equal to the Euros right now – add in North America and it would be much closer (and functionally the tournament wouldn’t change, the late rounds would be all SA teams plus a CONCACAF team here and there).

            I see arguments against it for CONCACAF (especially USA/MLS fans), but for south America it just seems like a bigger set of tournaments (and more money) that will be dominated by South American teams anyway. I legit think the reason so many are against it in SA is because not everyone does thing above board and America prosecutors are quite aggressive. The government went to town on CONCACAF leaders, took on FIFA… I don’t think the higher powers in CONEMBOL want that sort of scrutiny from up north.

            • Ra

              May 4, 2022 at 6:13 pm

              I don’t see any benefit for a South American soccer fan. Most National teams are already getting heat from playing too many matches far from home.
              I recently heard the Brazilian FA official say that they will prioritize matches at home. They are trying to stop the declining popular appeal.

  9. daniel

    May 3, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Obviously the best football competition is the UEFA Champions League. I would even argue that the Europe League would be the 2nd best competition in the world. Because all the best players play in Europe. And not always the best players play in the World Cup. At least not until they go to 64 teams in the World Cup. Maybe in the future when the Gold Cup,Copa America,AFCON,Euros and Asia Cup all expand to 32 teams they might get close.

  10. jason

    May 3, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    If the COMENBOL and Concacaf created a 24 team COPA America that runs at the exact same time as the Euros. Then the two together could be almost as big as the World Cup.

    • Leo

      May 4, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      Right now:
      World Cup >> EUROs >> Copa America >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Asia Cup > Gold Cup > OFC Cup.
      The UEFA Nations League 2024/25 that includes the UEFA and CONMEBOL countries will be the best international competition. Very close to a World Cup.

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