20.30 ET, 24 June 2015
Estadio Nacional, Santiago
The hosts take on the record champions, as both teams look to re-establish themselves with unconvincing group stage performances
Team news and Tactical brief
Having advanced through the skin of their teeth, Uruguay look like a spectre of the side that won the tournament’s previous edition, in addition to being the record champions.
Oscar TabA?reza s side have underwhelmed so far, scoring just twice in the absence of Luis SuA?rez. Edinson Cavani has failed to continue his stunning late season form with PSG into the summer. Their defensive pairing of Diego God n and Jos Gimenez have been key to their progress a the Atl tico Madrid duo have picked up Uruguaya s two highest average ratings to date, with 7.70 for God n and 7.62 for Gimenez.
However, they will face their ultimate test in the form of Chile, who’s 5-0 routing of Bolivia, re-affirmed their supporters’ faith after a facile opening victory and a tense 3-3 draw against Mexico.
Like Brazil however, Uruguay will have to show themselves as the sum of all parts, and not simply the head of the snake. Without Neymar, Brazil played arguably, their best football in the entire tournament, combining counter attack with steely defence, to see them go through as group winner.
A shift to midfield five, with a central striker might pay-off for La Celeste, however, head coach Oscar Tabarez is dogged with his formation, choosing to use a midfield diamond with two strikers, in the absence of Luis Suarez.
Despite a worrying 3-3 draw against Mexico, the hosts fired back with a vintage display of attacking football, routing Bolivia 5-0 in the process. Without a loss to their name, Chile still carry the tag of tournament ‘favourites’. However, their conduct off the field remains suspect.
Arturo Vidal, after crashing his Ferrari F430, and being found guilty of Driving Under the Influence, was remarkably let go off police custody, as well as retaining his place in the starting line-up. While Vidal’s contributions and merit are without question, his actions worry those, who feel like his cavalier behaviour might translate onto the pitch and hurt Chile when they need him the most.
Continuing on from a brilliant debut season at Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez wrecked havoc on the Bolivian defences, carving them open en route to a goal. With the returning Godin, Sanchez will face tougher, more dogged opposition, and will need to rely on more than just pace and trickery to open up the wall of sky blue.
Midfielder Marcelo Diaz believs that his side are firm favourites going into the clash, and for the rest of the tournament. Regarding Chile’s progression, he remarked, “The statistics are clear, I think Chile did very well in the group stages, Uruguay are a very tough opponent, and we know how they play. They have a totally different style to us, which doesna t mean ita s better or worse. We know their strengths, and we are working on that. We know that we also have our strong points and we have to use them to complicate a team that is very organised defensively.”
- Heading into the tie, Uruguay hold the historic edge over Chile, Having won a 6-4-2 Win-Loss-Draw record over La Roja . in 12 games
- Chile have scored 11 times in their last 4 games, with Uruguay managing only a paltry 6 in comparison.
Player to watch out for (Chile)
Valdivia’s ability to pass the ball through scarcely perceptible gaps in the opponent defensive line as well as his creativity and awareness is the difference between a potentially static team and one which is creating chances for fun.
“We hope that Jorge is on a good day as he has been throughout the Copa,” said midfield colleague Marcelo Diaz of the Uruguay game. “We are a team and each player depends on one another.”
Twelve months ago, Valdivia was a starter for Jorge Sampaoli in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, scoring the first Chile goal of the tournament in Cuiaba against Australia. As the games wore on though and Chile’s irrepressible style of play took its toll, the 30-year-old faded and lost the trust of the coach. He had to settle for a place on the bench in their most impressive performance, that 2-0 win over Spain. The defeat to Brazil in the last 16, too, saw Valdivia edged out of the starting XI and on the bench he remained for all 120 minutes.
Chile 2 Uruguay 1
While Chile remain lethal in front of goal, their lapse in concentration, as witnessed against Mexico, shows complacency, which will be taken full advantage of by Uruguay.
Despite Godin returning to marshall both the back-line and the Starting XI, Chile’s attack remains far too lethal for any defense to contain for long periods of time.
Blast From the Past