AAP Soccer

Socceroos to play in 2020 Copa America

By AAP Newswire

The Socceroos will play in next year's Copa America, in what could be Argentina legend Lionel Messi's international swansong.

The head of South America's football confederation confirmed on Thursday Australia will take part in the tournament along with fellow Asian confederation member Qatar as guest nations.

The 2020 tournament will be held jointly in Colombia and Argentina and will feature the 10 South American nations as well as the two guests.

Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold said taking part in the tournament will be a huge boost to his preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

"We crave these opportunities as players and coaches," Arnold said.

"The experience we will gain from playing in this tournament will be incredible and I know by speaking to our players, they are equally excited about being part of one of the world's most prestigious football tournaments."

Australia will play World Cup qualifiers in June next year before heading to South America, in what looms as a massive month for the national team.

One of the guest nations will be drawn in the Colombia-based northern section along with Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

The other will be drawn in the Argentina-based southern section along with Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile.

Many are speculating the tournament could be 31-year-old Messi's last for Argentina.

It would also be the third regional championship Australia has participated in after playing in the Oceania Nations Cup before the switch to join the Asian confederation in 2006.

Asian champions Qatar and Japan are taking part in this year's Copa which starts on Friday (Saturday AEST).