Spain will play at the European Championship in Germany while Morocco will be looking for their second CAF

From the Africa Cup of Nations to the Olympics: the big sporting events of 2024

Aficionados del Wydad ondean banderas durante el partido de fútbol de la segunda ronda de la Copa Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA entre el Wydad AC marroquí y el Al-Hilal saudí en el estadio Príncipe Moulay Abdellah de Rabat el 4 de febrero de 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/FADEL SENNA
Wydad fans during the FIFA Club World Cup second round football match between Morocco's Wydad AC and Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat on February 4, 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/FADEL SENNA

The year 2024 will be a special year for world sport. A full calendar of events with the Olympic Games in July and August, but which will start with the Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d'Ivoire from 11 January to 13 February. The America's Cup in the United States, the Asia Cup in Qatar and the Oceania Cup in Vanatu will be other major events in 2024.   

The first major tournament to open the new year will be the Africa Cup of Nations, where Morocco will be seeking its second title. On this occasion, Regragui's team is one of the favourites alongside Egypt and Senegal, the last champions in 2021. The Atlas Lions want to go all the way because in 2025, Morocco will be the host country for this tournament on its glorious road to the 2030 World Cup, which it will share with Spain and Portugal.   

From 12 January to 10 February, the Asian Cup will be held in Qatar. A tournament that was supposed to be held in China, but the Asian country's Covid policy meant that it had to be rescheduled due to the high temperatures and Qatar's participation in the Gold Cup. Qatar themselves, champions in 2019, Japan and Iran are the teams with the best chance of lifting the title at the grand final on 10 February in Lusail.   

The Spanish Super Cup takes place in Riyadh on 10 January. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet in the first semi-final. In the second match, Barcelona and Osasuna will face each other before the final on 14 January in the Saudi Arabian capital.   

PHOTO/FILE - Riad, Arabia Saudí
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - PHOTO/FILE

For the next big international tournament, the European Championships in Germany will kick off on 14 June and run until 14 July. One of the few tournaments that can be compared to a World Cup and which returns after the 2020 experiment where the tournament was held in different venues across Europe. Italy is the current winner of the tournament, a team in decline, but always in the pools against the powerful France and hosts Germany. Under Luis de la Fuente, Spain will have to prove that the youngsters are ready to take on such an important tournament.

The Oceania Nations Cup will be held from 15 to 30 June, but with less significance in the rest of the world. Eight teams from the smallest and perhaps quirkiest confederation in world football will gather on a small chain of islands between Australia and Fiji to host the region's international championship for the first time in eight years since the pandemic forced the 2020 edition to be cancelled for good. The favourites are New Zealand who have won five of the previous ten editions of the tournament and are defending their title on the back of their 2016 success in Papua New Guinea.  

PHOTO/REUTERS - Fotografía de archivo, el jugador de la selección argelina Riyad Mahrez levanta el trofeo mientras celebra la victoria de la Copa Africana de Naciones
File photo, Algeria's Riyad Mahrez lifts the trophy as he celebrates winning the Africa Cup of Nations - PHOTO/REUTERS

From 20 June to 14 July, the Copa America will be held in the United States. After the massive success of the Copa America Centenario on US soil in 2016, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF decided to repeat it eight years later, with the 10 member nations of the South American confederation again alongside six qualifiers from North America. MLS stadiums in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City and Orlando are among the venues, with the championship final to be held at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.  

Canada, Mexico and the United States will co-host the 2026 World Cup, so this tournament is key to test their management of a major tournament.   

PHOTO/WILLIAM VOLCOV/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS VÍA AFP - El Trofeo de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA se muestra en el terreno de juego en la final de la Copa Mundial de Qatar 2022 entre Argentina y Francia en el Estadio Lusail en Lusail, al norte de Doha, el 18 de diciembre de 2022

Then comes the big event of 2024, the Olympic Games to be held in Paris from 26 July to 11 August. In this case, all eyes will be on how France will be able to manage the security of a major event after the racial problems in the capital and the insecurity of Real Madrid and Liverpool fans at the 2022 final. In terms of sports, the EOC sought to revamp the sporting spectrum to make it more youthful and contemporary with break dancing as a discipline, along with sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding, which have just made their debut at Tokyo 2020. On the other hand, the decision to exclude disciplines such as karate and baseball and softball, which were present at the previous Olympics, was controversial.   

Then comes the big event of 2024, the Olympic Games to be held in Paris from 26 July to 11 August - PHOTO/FILE

Morocco has participated in fifteen editions of the Olympic Games. Its first appearance was in Rome in 1960. The country has won a total of 24 medals with seven gold, five silver and twelve bronze. Spain, on the other hand, has a more complete medal haul since it began collecting medals in 1900 in Paris. Until 2020 it has a total of 174 medals, divided into 49 gold medals, 73 silver medals and 52 bronze medals.  

These are the major sporting events to which we can add Formula 1, the various tennis tournaments such as Roland Garros and Wimbledon, although the special date will be in March at the exhibition tournament between Nadal and Alcaraz in Las Vegas with the big question of whether 2024 will be the year of the Mallorcan's farewell to tennis.