He may be biased, but US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has no doubt as to which of the two major international tournaments will pack the most punch this summer.
Both the Copa America Centenario (June 3 to June 26 in the USA) and a new expanded edition of Euro 2016 (June 10 to July 10 in France) are taking place this summer and especially given the overlap, the comparisons were bound to be made between the two. And Klinsmann has already thought through his head-to-head.
"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 in a Tuesday press conference ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Ecuador in Dallas (8 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás, UDN). "Because in Europe, you have several kind of levels, but they open it up to 24 teams [from 16 teams]. And I think 16 teams [in Copa America], six CONCACAF nations that are very good, very strong, and obviously the South Americans are all powerhouses."
To highlight just how competitive the South American scene is, Klinsmann pointed out how Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Paraguay occupy spots No. 4 through No. 7 in the current World Cup qualifying standings, with only the top four winning automatic qualification to Russia 2018. Surprise outfits Uruguay and Ecuador lead the table.
"What you’re going to see now in this upcoming Copa America is very special, and easily can compete with the European championship," Klinsmann said. "That’s big, and you want your players to realize that. And I think they’re going to do that."