One of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments in years starts in Santiago, with the hosts facing Ecuador in Group A at 8.30pm (2330 GMT) to launch their quest for a first ever Copa crown.

A galaxy of Europe-based stars will be on show in Chile, including Argentina captain Messi and Brazil counterpart Neymar, Colombia's James Rodriguez, Chile's Alexis Sanchez and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani. Messi and Neymar arrive at the tournament less than a week after inspiring Spanish giants Barcelona to the Champions League triumph, the final act of a glittering treble-winning season.

Both number 10s are carrying a heavy weight of expectation on their shoulders, with Messi determined to finally taste glory at a major international tournament and Neymar aiming to erase the memory of Brazil's World Cup debacle.

"I feel I'm in better shape arriving at this tournament than I was at the World Cup last year," Messi told reporters at Argentina's training camp.

Messi and Argentina fell agonizingly short at the World Cup, suffering a 1-0 extra-time defeat to Germany in the final to extend a title drought which stretches back to the 1993 Copa America. Messi admitted that Argentina's richly talented squad - which includes the likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria - were determined to end the Albiceleste's long wait for a trophy.

"This generation is desperate to win a title with the national team," Messi said.

Brazil and Neymar meanwhile begin their campaign against Peru in Group C on Sunday. Brazil's biggest challenge of the first round comes three days later when they face Colombia on June 17, a rematch of the two sides' bruising World Cup quarter-final last year.

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