Copa America Final – Chile V Argentina | Preview
In the Red Corner – Chile have been the champions in waiting of South America for a very long time. Defeated at the semi-final stage on 15 occasions and in the final on 4 occasions they will be hoping to stop this losing habit on their 5th appearance in the Copa America Final.
Their FIFA ranking of 19th is not a fair indication of how full of talent their squad is recently. La Roja boast a star-studded squad of pacy and skillful passers with an eye for goal, most of whom are plying their trade with the elite clubs of Europe. On their trip to the Copa Final they have scored an impressive 13 goals, whilst only conceding 4. They can defend, pass, hold onto possession and run at teams. They are worthy of the Championship.
Their management team is made up of Argentinians. Jorge Sampaoli is aiming to take the title from the grasp of his native land after he was appointed Chile manager after a successful run with Universidad de Chile, where he helped the club capture three league titles and the Copa Sudamericana.
…and In the Blue Corner – Argentina are ranked 3rd in the world, not many football fans or experts would doubt their ranking was far off. Argentina have not lost a competitive game since the World Cup Final last year, where they lost to a superbly organised German side that beat them 1 – 0 after extra time.
Their path to the Copa Final was not as fruitful as that of their opponents tonight. They started with a draw with Paraguay, then two 1 – 0 victories over a poor Jamaican side and Uruguay. This was followed by a scoreless draw in the quarter-finals against Colombia (before winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4). However, something changed between that and the semi-final. Argentina were rampant as they tore Paraguay to shreds in a 6-1 mauling of the same team that held them to a draw only two weeks previous.
Interestingly, in that game their talismanic captain, Lionel Messi, was absent from the score sheet, but was the man of the match. His only goal in the tournament was in the first game against Paraguay when he scored a penalty to put Argentina 2 – 0 ahead.
One interesting fact regarding ‘Leo’ in his last year of football is illustrated below….
In the last 12 months Messi has been involved in four Cup competitions – He has been in the finals of all four.
The hosts will obviously be given a huge boost by their vociferous supporters. The local fans have been boisterous during the tournament, but adverse reaction to this by the national team has not been evident. They have stayed true to their fine blend of football for the entire tournament and showed patience where other teams would have crumbled.
So, will it be the playmaker supreme and his fine supporting cast or will it be the hometown heroes to break the run without a trophy? I’m expecting a Chile win and a very entertaining game. What do you think?
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