Copa America guests Japan to face hosts
© AFP

Special guests Japan drew hosts Argentina as well as Colombia and Bolivia in Thursday's draw for Copa America 2011 to be played next July.

Holders Brazil were paired with Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela in Group B while Group C contains 2010 FIFA World Cup™ semi-finalists Uruguay, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The Argentinians will be hoping for some better luck on home soil having not landed any senior silverware since a home Copa triumph in 1993. Brazil won the last two editions in 2004 and 2007. Argentina and Uruguay have won a record 14 editions ahead of eight for Brazil.

Japan will be competing in the event for the second time after their debut in 1999 in Paraguay, where they failed to win a game.

The top two in each group and the two best-placed third teams will go forward to the quarter-finals. The tournament starts on 3 July and the Monumental stadium at Buenos Aires will host the final three weeks later.

Playing in Argentina is extra pressure on us but we have to prepare ourselves to go out and win it.
Argentina coach Sergio Batista

Argentina coach Sergio Batista, having taken over from Diego Maradona after a 2010 FIFA World Cup thrashing at the hands of Germany, said on hearing the draw: "We will do everything we can to win the Copa America - it's been a while since Argentina won anything and so it's an important tournament for us."

He added: "All the teams are tough - including Japan, who have come on a great deal as they showed at the last World Cup. Playing in Argentina is extra pressure on us but we have to prepare ourselves to go out and win it."