The current Copa Centroamericana official logo, in use since 2011
|Founded||February 19, 1991|
|Region||Central America (UNCAF)|
|Number of teams||7|
|Current champions||Honduras (4th time)|
|Most successful team(s)||Costa Rica (8 titles)|
|2017 Copa Centroamericana|
The Copa Centroamericana ([ˈkopa sentɾoameɾiˈkana], Spanish for "Central American Cup") is the main association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Unión Centroamericana de Fútbol (UNCAF), the sport's Central American governing body. Held every two years since 1991, in the years before and after the FIFA World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UNCAF Nations Cup (Spanish: Copa de Naciones de la UNCAF), changing to the current name in 2011.
The tournament consists of two stages. In the group round of the tournament finals, the seven teams compete in two round-robin groups, one of four teams and the other of three, for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These four teams qualify for the semifinal stage of the final round, where the winners advance into the final while the losers dispute a third-place match. The fifth-place match is disputed between the third-ranked teams of the group stage. Depending on their performance in the Copa Centroamericana, teams then go on to participate in other competitions, such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Copa América.
The 14 Central American Championship tournaments have been won by four different national teams: Costa Rica are the most successful national team of the competition with eight victories. Honduras have won four titles. Guatemala and Panama have one title each. To date, Costa Rica and Honduras are the only sides in history to have won consecutive titles, with the former winning an unprecedented three titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Honduras are the current champions, having won the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, in Panama.
Due to the success of the Costa Rica national football team at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and the approaching 1994 FIFA World Cup to be hosted in the United States, the CONCACAF Congress in Kingston, Jamaica decided to stage a continental championship itself; the CONCACAF Gold Cup was ratified on August 18, 1990. Costa Rica were given a bye into the competition due to its first place placing at the 1989 CONCACAF Championship, which also served as a qualification phase for the World Cup hosted by Italy. However, due to mainly economic reasons, the United States were chosen as the venue for the continental tournament.
During that same conference, the qualification format for the Central American associations were also decided on. The final qualification round of the Central American zone had two bids: the United States and Costa Rica. Costa Rica, now three-time CONCACAF champions and to celebrate their anniversary of the nation's World Cup performance by its team, was named by CONCACAF and UNCAF as the host country of the inaugural UNCAF Nations Cup tournament on February 19, 1991.
Teams reaching the top four
|Team||Titles||Runner-up||Third place||Fourth place|
|Costa Rica||8 (1991*, 1997, 1999*, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013*, 2014)||4 (1993, 2001, 2009, 2011)||—||2 (1995, 2017)|
|Honduras||4 (1993*, 1995, 2011, 2017)||3 (1991, 2005, 2013)||2 (1999, 2009)||2 (1997, 2003)|
|Guatemala||1 (2001)||5 (1995, 1997*, 1999, 2003, 2014)||3 (1991, 2005, 2007)||—|
|Panama||1 (2009)||2 (2007, 2017*)||3 (1993, 2011*, 2014)||2 (2001, 2005)|
|El Salvador||—||—||6 (1995*, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2013, 2017)||7 (1991, 1993, 1999, 2007*, 2009, 2011, 2014)|
Records and Statistics
All-time Copa Centroamericana Table
|This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- "Torneo de Naciones de CONCACAF: Costa Rica busca la ratificacion de sede" [CONCACAF Nations Cup: Costa Rica looks for ratification on host bid] (Web). La Nación (in Spanish). January 25, 1991. p. 39A. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- "En Julio Copa de Naciones" [Nations Cup in July] (Web). La Nación (in Spanish). January 27, 1991. p. 42A. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- "Torneo de Naciones Inicia el 26 de Mayo" [Nations Cup starts May 26] (Web). La Nación (in Spanish). February 20, 1991. p. 29A. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- UNCAF's official site for the Copa Centroamericana (Spanish)
- CONCACAF's official site for the Copa Centroamericana (English) (Spanish)