Jamaica's Reggae Boyz have fallen six places in the latest FIFA global rankings, following a dismal performance in the 2024 Copa America. The recent rankings, released on Wednesday, also saw drops for other CONCACAF teams, with the USA and Mexico slipping down the order.

The Reggae Boyz, now ranked 59th globally after slipping six places, faced a string of defeats in the tournament, losing 1-0 to Mexico, 3-0 to Venezuela, and 3-1 to Mexico, finishing at the bottom of Group B. This poor showing prompted immediate repercussions, with Head Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson resigning post-tournament. Hallgrímsson has since accepted a new role as the head coach of the Republic of Ireland.

The Jamaica Football Federation are currently in an advanced stage of hiring a new head coach, who is expected to reverse the team's flagging fortunes.

Mexico, now ranked 17th, experienced a downturn as well, falling two places in the rankings after their struggles. They were defeated 1-0 by Venezuela and held to a goalless draw by Ecuador. The USA, previously the highest-ranked CONCACAF team, slipped five places to 16th. Their Copa America campaign started promisingly with a 2-0 victory over Bolivia, but subsequent losses to Panama (2-1) and Uruguay (1-0) saw them finish third in Group C, leading to the dismissal of Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.

In contrast, Canada saw a significant boost, climbing eight places to 40th after an impressive run that saw them finish fourth in the Copa America. Coached by Jesse Marsch, Canada's journey in the tournament included a second-place finish in Group A, with a win, a loss, and a draw. They advanced to the knockout stages and eliminated Venezuela 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation. Although they lost 2-0 to Argentina in the semi-finals and succumbed to Uruguay in the third-place playoff, their performance was enough to propel them up the rankings

Mexico have dismissed head coach Jaime Lozano following an underwhelming Copa America campaign.

Mexico finished third in Group B, scoring just once in the group stage as they finished with one win.

Lozano, who was in charge for just under a year, reportedly turned down a demotion to stay under a new head coach, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) said in a statement.

"Following the Copa America, the FMF has begun an analysis to determine mistakes, and successes and evaluate areas for improvement in the process," the FMF said on Tuesday.

"Jaime Lozano was offered a contract until 2030 in which, during the period 2024-2026, he will accompany a more experienced manager towards our World Cup.

"Lozano has informed us that he does not wish to continue. We respect his decision, we recognise his great professionalism, capacity and dedication."

Lozano led Mexico to the 2023 Gold Cup title and also reached the Concacaf Nations League final earlier this year, losing to the USA.

It is reported that Javier Aguirre, who coached the side at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, is set to replace him.

Argentina are Copa America champions once again.

They were the pre-tournament favourites according to Opta's supercomputer, and they lived up to the billing in the United States, retaining their title and winning the Copa America for a record 16th time.

Lionel Scaloni's team beat Colombia 1-0 in Sunday's final, despite Lionel Messi going off injured and in tears, with Lautaro Martinez sealing victory in extra time.

Martinez was one of the standout positives from the Copa America, but who were the others, and which teams and players failed to impress?

THE TOPS

Argentina

Let's start with the champions. They won the Copa America while only conceding one goal in their six matches, with Scaloni's success built on a mean defence, rather than just the magic of Messi.

Indeed, Messi's magic was in somewhat short supply. He was a creative fulcrum in Argentina's opening win over Canada, and then scored his only goal of the tournament against Jesse Marsch's team in a semi-final reunion, but injuries plagued his campaign.

He was in tears as he made his way to the bench in Sunday's final, but nevertheless bowed out of what will surely be his final Copa America as a back-to-back champion.

Argentina were not always pretty, but with the now-retired Angel Di Maria and Golden Boot winner Martinez picking up the slack, along with Emiliano Martinez in fine form between the sticks, they got the job done.

Lautaro Martinez

Argentina's hero was not Messi in the end, but instead it was Martinez, who completed something of a redemption arc after he endured a poor World Cup on a personal level in Qatar, where he failed to convert any of his 14 attempts at goal.

Indeed, Martinez headed into the Copa America without having scored for Argentina in World Cup 2026 qualifying, and he was not going to be a regular starter.

Well, he wasn't a regular starter, playing only 221 minutes, but he scored five times to clinch the Golden Boot, matching the best tally by Argentine players at the Copa America since the turn of the century (Messi in 2016, Juan Roman Riquelme in 2007).

Martinez scored every 44 minutes on average, having 11 shots and outperforming his 3.26 xG.

 

James Rodriguez

Messi might have been unable to take a starring role, but James Rodriguez ensured there was one number 10 who took centre-stage at this edition of the tournament.

James was not picked for Colombia's squad in 2021, yet he has been made his team's main man again by Nestor Lorenzo, who was rewarded by some quite sensational displays.

The 33-year-old provided six assists, breaking the record Messi set in 2021 (five), while creating a tournament-leading 20 chances, six more than any other player.

James wanted the ultimate prize, but ultimately had to settle with being named the Copa America Player of the Tournament.

 

Marcelo Bielsa

El Loco is back in business, and even though Uruguay didn't reach the final, falling short in the semis, they are a team moulded in their coach's profile.

Bielsa has his side playing front-foot, fast-paced football, but they are also stern defenders, as they proved in a goalless draw with Brazil, which they then won on penalties despite having gone down to 10 men.

The future is bright with Bielsa at the helm.

Jesse Marsch and Canada

Not much was expected of tournament debutants Canada, but two years in advance of co-hosting the World Cup, the Reds went on a great run to the semi-finals.

Sure, they only won one match in normal time, but a penalty shoot-out victory over Venezuela in the quarters teed up a rematch against Argentina and the champions just had too much quality (again).

Jesse Marsch's stock was low after he was sacked by Leeds United, but after a spell out of the game, this job looks to be the perfect fit for the confident American.

And with Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David spearheading Canada's hopes in 2026, perhaps something special is on the cards.

THE FLOPS

Brazil

Dorival Junior, who took over as Brazil head coach in January, has asked for time and patience to complete a rebuild, having left several big names out due to a lack of form or fitness. Neymar, of course, was also absent, having missed pretty much all of last season due to injury.

But the Selecao really did flop at this Copa America.

Their only win came against Paraguay (4-1) in the group stage, and their failure to top Group D meant they went up against Uruguay in the last eight.

Vinicius Junior scored a double against Paraguay but then got himself suspended for the clash with La Celeste. If he had been available, maybe matters might have been different, but as it was, the nine-time Copa America champions crashed out.

 

United States

The USA were meant to go far at what was a dress rehearsal for the 2026 World Cup. Instead, they slumped out in the group stage and Gregg Berhalter was fired.

It is the first time the Stars and Stripes have failed to advance after winning their opening group-stage match of a tournament, having previously advanced all 23 times they had won their opener.

After beating Bolivia, USA lost to Panama and Uruguay in a damp squib of a campaign.

US Soccer must now try and move on from the Berhalter era. They have a talented squad at their disposal, but a golden generation could be wasted if they do not get their next appointment right.

Jurgen Klopp has reportedly been approached, and reportedly turned that offer down, too.

The organisers

From poor pitches to poor organisation, CONMEBOL did not come out of this tournament well.

Bielsa and Marsch both lambasted the governing body during their final press conferences, while Messi and Scaloni were critical of the quality of the playing surfaces.

And then, before the final, crowd trouble outside Miami's Hard Rock stadium forced the postponement of the showpiece. Oh, and there was also that matter of fighting in the stands between Uruguay players and Colombia fans.

There's work to do on that front.

Mexico 

Only twice in 10 previous participations at the Copa America had Mexico gone out in the group stage, failing to win a game in back-to-back editions in 2011 and 2015.

El Tri did manage a victory this time around, beating Jamaica 1-0 in their Group B opener, but that was as good as it got as a 1-0 loss to Venezuela and a goalless draw with Ecuador saw them edged out on goal difference, finishing third in their pool.

Mexico scored just once from chances totalling 4.86 xG, their forwards letting them down as they recorded the second-worst underperformance at the tournament (behind Canada, - 4.36).

Darwin Nunez

Nunez was wasteful for Liverpool throughout the 2023-24 season, and things did not change for him at the Copa America despite Uruguay entertaining en route to the semi-finals.

His two goals, both of which came in the group stage, came from a total of 21 shots worth 2.68 xG, and only five of those efforts saw him hit the target.

His figure of 1.93 expected goals on target (xGoT), meanwhile, demonstrated the way in which his sub-par finishing made opportunities less likely to result in a goal.

Nunez's tournament then ended with the forward being involved in violent clashes with Colombia fans after La Celeste's semi-final defeat. 

 

Jaime Lozano is unsure over his future as Mexico coach after his team exited the Copa America with a whimper.

Mexico were the favourites to progress from Group B at the start of the tournament, yet instead the 2026 World Cup co-hosts find themselves as the biggest casualty so far.

Ecuador held out for a 0-0 draw on Sunday that sent them through at the expense of Mexico on goal difference.

And Lozano, who led Mexico to the Gold Cup title last year, conceded a decision on his future is out of his hands.

"Whenever an objective is not meant, there is certain discomfort and doubts, that's only natural, no matter who's here," Lozano said.

"But the players kept believing until the very end, that's not easy. It's not easy to play that strong union and the commitment that they showed ... over the whole tournament.

"That decision about my future is not up to me."

Mexico had 19 shots but only got three on target, accumulating just 0.89 expected goals (xG) against Ecuador, who will face Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Ecuador coach Felix Sanchez said: "We know it is an unmatched opponent, and we know how tough it's going to be, but our players are happy that they've moved to the next round, and we'll see how that unfolds," he added.

"It is another final for us, and we will try to compete against the world's champion and the world's best team.

"I believe that our team is going to be extremely motivated with a very high morale and trying to play a good match.

"I have full confidence in our players. I know they are going to give their best as they've done in the three matches. We know how tough it is, but it is 11 against 11, and we're going to do whatever we can to win it."

Venezuela, meanwhile, stayed perfect by hammering already-eliminated Jamaica 3-0 in Austin.

They will take on Canada in the last eight.

Venezuela are savouring a famous win after defeating Mexico 1-0 to reach the Copa America quarter-finals.

Mexico's hopes of progression from Group B will now rest on the final matchday, with Ecuador still in the mix to advance after defeating Jamaica 3-1 in Wednesday's other game.

Jamaica are now the first team to be eliminated from the tournament, as Venezuela celebrate joining defending champions Argentina in the last eight with a game to spare.

Salomon Rondon converted a second-half penalty to secure the crucial victory, sending Mexico goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez the wrong way.

It was the veteran striker's 42nd international goal, extending his record tally for the country having also hit the post earlier in the contest.

Mexico had a huge opportunity to level the match from the spot, but Venezuela keeper Rafael Romo repelled a spot-kick from Orbelin Pineda three minutes from time.

Romo is the seventh keeper, and the first from Venezuela, to save a penalty in the competition since 2011 (excluding shoot-outs). 

"Sometimes we were not in possession of the ball, but we never gave up," Venezuela coach Fernando Batista said. "They give it their all and that makes me very proud."

Mexico play Ecuador in Arizona on Sunday to determine who will progress with Venezuela.

Venezuela will still be targeting at least a point in their last match against Jamaica, as that would ensure they top the group and likely avoid a clash with Argentina in the quarters.

Romo was the star man for Venezuela, making five saves including the penalty, and Mexico can consider themselves unfortunate not to have scored, racking up an expected goals (xG) total of 2.52 from their 18 total shots.

Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said: "If you generate opportunities as we did, if the man of the match is the opponent's goalkeeper, then yes, things weren't as we expected.

"But there are 90 minutes ahead. No one is getting off this ship. And we will make it. I am sure we will make it."

But Ecuador go into that clash with Mexico on a high. They went ahead against Jamaica courtesy of a Kasey Palmer own goal and were two up before the break after Kendry Paez scored from the spot.

Ecuador will be excited about Paez, whose goal at the age of 17 years and 53 days made him the youngest Copa goalscorer since Johnnier Montano, who netted for Colombia against Argentina in 1999 as a 16-year-old. 

Paez attempted the second-most shots (six) by an Ecuador player in a Copa match since Opta began recording this data in 2011. Only Enner Valencia, with seven against Mexico in 2015, has had more attempts in a game.

Jamaica did score their first-ever Copa America goal thanks to West Ham striker Michail Antonio, but Alan Minda made sure of the win for Ecuador by capping a late counter-attack with a goal.

Mexico captain Edson Alvarez will miss the remainder of the Copa America after suffering a hamstring injury in their opening match against Jamaica.

Alvarez was in tears as he left the pitch just 30 minutes into El Tri's 1-0 victory in Houston on Saturday, having gone down clutching his right hamstring.

It has now been confirmed that the West Ham midfielder will play no further part in Mexico's campaign, which continues against Venezuela on Wednesday.

In a video posted to the team's social media accounts, Alvarez said: "I had that dream just like my team-mates but sometimes these things happen in football and I will have to learn and grow from all this.

"I have made the decision to stay with the team until the end, to support and encourage them, as I always have done. 

"Now it will be my turn off the field. It will also help my rehabilitation and I will return as soon as possible."

After facing Venezuela, Mexico round off their Group B campaign versus Ecuador on Sunday. 

For Shamar Nicholson, Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz 1-0 loss to Mexico in their Copa America opener was a bittersweet occasion, as that encounter marked his 50th international appearance for the country.

Though Nicholson would have loved to celebrate the significant milestone in victory, but it was not to be. As such, he was left ruing what could have been, as he reflected on his career journey which started at Trench Town High school, blossomed at Boys' Town Football Club, and he is now bearing fruit as one of Jamaica's top-rated strikers.

Across those 50 games, Nicholson has so far tallied 19 goals and won three medals –silver and the 2017 Caribbean Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, and an historic bronze at 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League.

"Yeah, it was special moment," Nicholson declared in a recent interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

"It's just a pity that we didn't get to win to make it more special, but it was a proud moment for me and my family, my friends, coaching staff, and everyone, who have supported me along the way during bad time and good time. So it was really a proud moment," he added.

Shamar Nicholson (right) and rising sensation Keheim Dixon.

Nicholson’s rise to becoming one of Jamaica's key players has been marked by determination and hard work. Though a man of few words, the 27-year-old's achievements on the international stage is a testament to his dedication and talent, as his true personality comes to light when the ball is at his feet.

Since making his debut in 2017, the towering striker has become a mainstay in the senior Reggae Boyz team, especially giving his scoring prowess and physical presence on the field, which makes him a constant threat to opponents.

In fact, it is for that reason why Nicholson has made the rounds at clubs in Slovenia, Belgium, Russia and now France. In Slovenia he scored 18 goals for Domzale, and later tallied 30 goals for Belgian outfit Charleroi. He later moved to Spartak Moscow, where he had eight goals and won the Russian Cup, before being loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Clermont, where has four goals to date.

Each league and club offered a different challenge, but for Nicholson, the experiences were worthwhile contributions to his development.

"Yes, I will say culture wise (France and Belgium are somewhat similar), but I think it was also a good experience, you know, because the level is high and really physical, and it also challenges you mentally. So I think it was a good experience and I learned a lot," Nicholson shared.

Despite the defeat to Mexico in keen contest where Michail Antonio had a goal ruled out for offside and the Boyz generally squandered a few good half chances.

While that result was not in their favour, Nicholson believes there were positives to take from the game, and, as such, he remains optimistic and focused on the challenges ahead, particularly the upcoming clash against Ecuador.

Shamar Nicholson celebrates with Reggae Boyz teammates.

He emphasized the importance of staying positive and focused, as the Heimir Hallgrimsson-coached Boyz hunt an historic first goal and, by extension, point at the prestigious Copa America tournament 

The Reggae Boyz have shown in previous tournaments that they can bounce back from setbacks, and Nicholson is confident they will do so again. Hallgrimsson’s side is currently at the foot of Group B without a point, a statistic they could very well change with victory over Ecuador on Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium.

They will then close out the group stage against current leaders Venezuela on Sunday.

“The vibe is right, you know, everyone is positive despite the loss (against Mexico), and we all have a positive mindset. So, it's just to take things step by step. You know, we prepare in training, so it's just to go there and believe, and I think we're ready for that game,” Nicholson ended.

Mexico kickstarted their Copa America campaign with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica at the NRG Stadium, but were left sweating on the fitness of captain Edson Alvarez. 

The West Ham midfielder, who made his 80th appearance for his nation in Texas, was forced off after 30 minutes and was seen visibly upset as he left the pitch. 

Alvarez's club team-mate Michail Antonio thought he had scored Jamaica's first-ever Copa America goal five minutes into the second half, only to see his header ruled out by VAR. 

However, Mexico recovered from that earlier scare, forcing a string of saves from Jahmali Waite before Gerardo Arteaga finally broke the deadlock with a fine finish. 

The result moved El Tricolor level on three points with Venezuela, who beat Ecuador 2-1 in the other Group B clash earlier in the day, but attention quickly turned to the fitness of their captain at full-time. 

“We’re going to wait a couple of days to do some testing on him and to know well what he’s got going on,” head coach Jaime Lozano said after the match.

“He’s extremely important. He’s a leader, he understands the game well. He’s important on the pitch and in the locker room as well.

“You listen to him talk, he has a way with words and when he speaks you listen. This was a tough blow for all of us.”

Defender Cesar Montes told reporters: "It was extremely important to start on the right foot, always focussed, together, and (now) the only bad news is that our team-mate suffered an injury that we hope is not serious and can return with us.

"(But) these situations are not simple, the doctor will have to evaluate to see if he can continue with us (for the rest of the tournament). For the group he is the leader, a very important piece and it will be good to know his diagnosis in view of what is coming."

Jamaica play Ecuador in Las Vegas on Wednesday, while Mexico face Venezuela in California next Thursday. 
 

For Demarai Gray, the journey to recover from a broken collarbone in time for the Copa America has been a testament of resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to representing Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

The England-born winger, who suffered the injury earlier this year, while representing Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq, recently returned to fitness, and his joy and excitement about being back in Jamaica’s setup are palpable, as he prepares to parade his skills in one of the most prestigious tournaments in international football.

“It's good to be back; I was disappointed that I missed the World Cup qualifiers, but I'm happy the boys got the six points. I am glad to be back with the boys and excited for this tournament,” Gray said in an interview with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

“It was a difficult end (to the season) with the injury, I had about six weeks out, but over the last few weeks, I've been working and trying to get as fit as possible for the Copa. So, we've got a few more days for me to build, and hopefully I can get off to a good start against Mexico,” he added.