Two of the tournament favourites will clash in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night, as Chile take on Uruguay in their final 2019 Copa America Group C encounter.
Chile will be aiming to continue their perfect start to the defence of their Copa America title, when they face off against fellow contenders Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium in their last group encounter.
Chile, the winners of the last two editions of the Copa America, have had a strong beginning to the competition. La Roja beat Japan 4-0 in their opening fixture, and followed it up with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Ecuador, which has put them on top of Group C and sealed their place in the quarter-final.
Chile will be aiming to extend their winning run and build more momentum ahead of the knockout stages of the competition as they look to successfully defend the Copa America trophy for a second time in a row.
Uruguay, on the other hand, find themselves in the second spot in Group C, with four points from two matches. Oscar Tabarez’s men kicked off the tournament in fine fashion with a 4-0 win against Ecuador, but were held to a 2-2 draw by Japan last time out.
A point against Chile will be enough for La Celeste to confirm their place in the Last Eight stage, although they will push for a win in the hope of clinching the top spot.
Team News & Tactics
Manager Reinaldo Rueda is unlikely to tinker with the combination that has worked so well for him in the competition so far. So expect no changes to the side that has defeated Japan and Ecuador when Chile take the field at the Maracana on Monday night.
Gabriel Arias will continue to man the goal for the reigning champions, and will be shielded by a back four comprising of Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour as the full-backs, with Gary Medel and Guillermo Maripan lining up as the two centre-halves.
Erick Pulgar will sit in as the holding midfielder and provide further security to the backline while Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal will take up the remaining two midfield slots and look to get more involved in the attacking side of things for Chile.
Alexis Sanchez has begun the Copa America in fine fashion, having scored the winning goal against Ecuador and is a guaranteed starter on the left-side of the attacking trident for La Roja. On the opposite flank, Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, who scored the opening goal in the previous game, should hold on to his place with Eduardo Vargas leading the line.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Arias; Isla, Medel, Maripan, Beausejour; Aranguiz, Pulgar, Vidal; Fuenzalida, Vargas, Sanchez
Oscar Tabarez has a few injury concerns ahead of the game against the current trophy holders in Rio. Uruguay will be without midfield mainstay Matias Vecino, who has pulled out of the squad after picking up an injury, while versatile left-back Diego Laxalt is also set to miss out, after coming off injured in the game against Japan.
Uruguay are expected to stick with the 4-4-2 formation against Chile, but there could be some personnel changes on cards. No alterations are expected in goal though, with Fernando Muslera set to continue between the sticks.
The right-back slot will be manned by Martin Caceres, while Laxalt’s absence could see Giovanni Gonzalez fill in at left-back. Captain Diego Godin is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the defence and will once again be paired up with Jose Maria Gimenez, who scored one of the two goals for Uruguay in the draw against Japan last time out.
Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira should feature from the kick-off again and look to keep an eye out on Chile’s midfield runners, while midfield partner Rodrigo Bentancur will be tasked with providing the creativity. Threat from the wide areas for Uruguay will come from Nahitan Nandez and Nicolas Lodeiro.
Seasoned campaigners Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who has scored two goals in two matches in the Copa America, will spearhead Uruguay’s attack against Chile, with Cristhian Stuani and Maxi Gomez providing quality options from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Muslera; Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Gonzalez; Nandez, Bentancur, Torreira, Lodeiro; Suarez, Cavani
- This will be the 81st meeting between Uruguay and Chile. La Celeste have the clear upper-hand when it comes to head-to-head record, having won 44 of the previous 80 meetings, while La Roja have emerged victorious on just 17 occasions.
- The last six encounters between the two teams have seen both Uruguay and Chile pick up three victories each. Their most recent meeting came in November 2016, in which Chile beat Oscar Tabarez’s men 3-1.
- Uruguay haven’t been able to beat Chile in their previous two meetings in the Copa America (D1 L1).
- Luis Suarez has been directly involved in three goals for Uruguay in the 2019 Copa America (2 goals, 1 assist), same as Alexis Sanchez for Chile.
Player to Watch
After a forgetful 2018-19 campaign with Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence with Chile in the Copa America. The 30-year-old has been in fine form in the opening stages of the competition, finding the back of the net in both the games, the latest of which proved to be the match-winner against Ecuador as La Roja sealed their spot in the quarter-final.
Amid uncertainties over his future at Manchester United, the Chilean international is showing that he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level. Should he continue in this vein of form, Sanchez could help Chile go a long way in the tournament, while also helping himself with his club situation as it might change United’s stance of selling him or at least attract interest from top clubs.
Chile 1-1 Uruguay
With their place in the quarter-final already confirmed, Chile will want to keep building momentum and finish as Group C winners, which would earn them a favourable draw in the knockout stage. Uruguay too are ascertained a place in the knockout stages, although they will be hoping to clinch the top spot for themselves with a win on Monday night.
It will be a tightly-contested affair in Rio de Janeiro, with both attacks showing signs of form in the last two games, while the defences have also performed reasonably well. There is very little to separate these two experienced units and that is why we at The Hard Tackle are predicting this one to end in a 1-1 draw, with points getting shared.