HOSTS Chile will be looking to end a 99-year wait for Copa America glory this summer but can La Roja cope with the pressure? Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) and Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) talk you through their chances of success.
- Outright Winner: 9/2 (Bet365)
- Group A Winner: 4/7 (Bet365)
- Group A Top-Two Finish: (1/6 SkyBet)
- Highest Scoring Team: 4/1 (SkyBet)
- Form Post-World Cup: W4-D2-L3
Tim Vickery's View[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206849798?secret_token=s-V4d9V” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Mark O'Haire's View
Ninety-nine years and waiting. Chile were one of the founding CONMEBOL nations and contested the first ever World Cup but despite 19 Copa America semi-final appearances, all La Roja have to show for their troubles is four silver medals.
Unlike their tournament rivals, Chile are focussing all their energies on securing gold this time around. The World Cup qualifiers can wait; the hosts, led by Jorge Sampaoli, are expected to mount a serious challenge but the biggest puzzler remains unsolved – can La Roja cope with the pressure? After all, this is by popular opinion the country’s best ever crop of players.
Sampaoli has continued the excellent work of Marcelo Bielsa and Chile will continue to take a swashbuckling approach – it’s intense. There’s energy, drive, rotation, high-pressure and a sprinkling of world class talent to call upon. Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal burden the responsibility but again, are La Roja too reliant on Alexis’ magic and Vidal’s knee surviving the rigours of tournament football?
Defence also remains an area for contention as displayed in a recent 2-2 friendly draw with Group A outsiders Bolivia. Sampaoli’s side managed to concede twice against a team that barely crossed the halfway line and their lack of height in that back three/four (depending which system is in place) can be exposed by more direct opponents.
Including their final two World Cup fixtures, Chile have W4-D2-L5 in their past 11 outings, losing three of their most recent four friendlies. Victories came in non-competitive ties against USA, Venezuela, Haiti and Peru and since last summer’s World Cup the locals are becoming increasingly frustrated by Sampaoli's resistance to change.
So how will La Roja fare? It would be a catastrophe should Chile fail to reach the quarter-finals and top spot (4/7 Bet365) should be achieved. However, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride and a potential semi-final showdown against Brazil or Colombia could be a step too far. The goals have dried up (Chile have scored one or zero goals in seven of their past 11 outings) and this current crop may have to wait another year to taste top South American honours, disappointing punters at 9/2 (Bet365).
The View From The Inside
“I think Chile could get as far as the semi-finals, but that would be a stretch. Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have all got the better of them in recent years and I haven't seen anything of late to make me think they could challenge one of them for the title.
“Vidal's knee is always an interesting topic and other concerns include Alexis Sanchez suffering from burnout, as well as Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas having had terrible seasons in England. Heart says finalists on home soil but we’ll see…”
– Matias Grez (@Matias_Grez)
- Chile vs Ecuador | 12th June 2015 | 00.30 | Premier Sports
- Chile vs Mexico | 16th June 2015 | 00.30 | Premier Sports
- Chile vs Bolivia | 20th June 2015 | 00.30 | Premier Sports
Chile Form & Stats
|Last 10 Competitive Games||W7-D2-L1||Last 20 Competitive Games||W11-D2-L7|
|0-0 Draw||0/10||0-0 Draw||0/20|
|Over 1.5 Goals||10/10||Over 1.5 Goals||19/20|
|Over 2.5 Goals||6/10||Over 2.5 Goals||12/20|
|Over 3.5 Goals||3/10||Over 3.5 Goals||8/20|
|Over 4.5 Goals||1/10||Over 4.5 Goals||3/20|
|Both Teams To Score||6/10||Both Teams To Score||11/20|
|Fail To Score||1/10||Fail To Score||3/20|
|Clean Sheet||3/10||Clean Sheet||6/20|
|HT Draw||2/10||HT Draw||5/20|
|Over 1.5 Team Goals||8/10||Over 1.5 Team Goals||12/20|
|Win + Both Teams To Score||4/10||Win + Both Teams To Score||5/20|
*All stats and form correct until 30 May 2015*