Will Alexis and co. take the Copa America Trophy Home?
Yesterday, Peru confirmed themselves as the third best team in the third best team in the continent of South America following their 2-0 win over the last edition’s finalists, Paraguay. The Paraguayans were on a high after defeating Brazil on penalties but Argentina showed them no Messi (pun intended) in the semifinals to book a place against the hosts and undoubtedly the most exciting team in the tournament thus far, Chile.
Alexis might have scored only one goal in the entire tournament (even though his other goal against Mexico was unfairly ruled out), he and his teammates have been awesome from an attacking standpoint and no too bad defensively. Eduardo Vargas has been the main man offensively and his wonder strike against Peru in the semis would be a contender for the goal of the tournament. Arturo Vidal is another player that hasn’t been on the goalscoring charts lately but his all-action play has been instrumental to the Chileans. You can’t also forget the technical ability of Jorge Valdavia that makes the team tick.
Chile are coming out against the juggernaut that’s known as Argentina led by football’s greatest icon, Lionel Messi. The attacking talent at Argentina’s disposal can make opposition defenders pee on their shorts but the nation had to wait till the semis to really show how ruthless they could be from an attacking perspective.
There will be some key battles in today’s match starting with Chile’s ‘pitbull’, Gary Medel, that would be hoping to bring his A-game against Messi, because he’d need it. Medel made a rare foray forward in the game against Bolivia and scored a striker’s goal but in the last match, he suffered the ignominy of scoring an own goal for his country against Peru. Many defenders have tried to battle with the football god but they have been left for dead.
In midfield, the Vidal vs Javier Mascherano battle will be a gritty one and I expect to see a couple of tackles here and here as the game progresses. Mascherano has spent so much time as a center back in his Barcelona days but he can still put a very decent shift in midfield when the need arises.
In attack, it would be nice to see how Alexis and Vargas fare against Nicolas Otamendi and Ezequiel Garay. Argentina has been defensively astute in the tournament so far, keeping three clean sheets in their last five games with Paraguay being the only team that has managed to find the back of Sergio Romero’s net.
From a head to head basis, Argentina has defeated Chile three times in the last five meetings between both nations with Chile’s last victory coming as far back as 2008. This would be the first time both nations are meeting in the finals. Chile has reached this stage of the competition twice, losing to Paraguay in 1979 and Uruguay in 1987. As for Argentina has featured three times in the finals, beating Mexico in 1993 but losing twice to Brazil in 2004 and 2007.
It promises to be an exciting encounter and I hope the best team wins….even though I’m sentimentally attached to Chile winning it because of my Alexis.
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