Argentina will take on Chile in a fierce South American duel at the LA Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Friday.
Chile will seek retribution against Argentina when the two nations meet in Los Angeles on Friday, in an international friendly. These two teams last met in the Copa America match for 3rd place, where the Albiceleste secured a narrow 2-1 win. Chile, therefore, will be keen to take revenge, albeit in an international friendly.
This will be Chile’s first game following their Copa America campaign. They were embarrassed by Peru in the semi-final, losing the game 3-0. They also had to edge Colombia on penalties in the quarter-finals while they lost against Uruguay in the group stage.
Argentina, on the other hand, are not in a great vein of form either, despite a 2-1 win over Chile. They will also be playing their first match following their Copa America debacle that saw them lose 2-0 to arch-rivals and eventual champions Brazil in the semi-final.
However, it was their only defeat in the last five matches. Besides, the South American giants have only lost thrice under Lionel Scaloni so far, which is a decent record given the team’s performances in recent years. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their fascinating match-up on Friday.
Tactics & Team News
Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda is likely to experiment with the less experienced players in the squad. Speaking of experience, however, Gary Medel and Arturo Vidal will miss the encounter.
Medel was utilised mainly as a centre-back by Rueda and will likely be replaced by Igor Lichnovsky, who could be rewarded for his performances at Cruz Azul in Mexico. The 25-year-old will be partnered by Francisco Sierralta, who is the only other central defensive option in the current squad.
Ignacio Jeraldino will likely replace Eduardo Vargas as the leader of the Chile attack. The 23-year-old has already netted ten goals in 19 matches in Chilean top division with Audax Italiano. As for Alexis Sanchez, he will likely miss out, paving the way for Jean Meneses to start.
In midfield, Charles Aranguiz is a guaranteed starter, having already played a key role behind Bayer Leverkusen’s promising start to the campaign. Aranguiz is expected to be partnered by the uncapped Claudio Baeza and the prolific Felipe Gutierrez.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Diaz, Sierralta, Lichnovsky, Vegas; Baeza, Aranguiz, Gutierrez; Meneses, Jeraldino, Pinares.
Much like Rueda, Argentine head coach Scaloni has called up several home-based players and is likely to test them against an aggressive opponent like Chile.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are both missing, meaning Lautaro Martinez is favourite to lead the attack, although Adolfo Gaich also deserves a chance. Paulo Dybala will likely start alongside Martinez in the 4-4-2 setup, and both the attackers are set to play a key role in the first line of press.
Rodrigo de Paul has become a pivotal part of the Argentina attack. He is, therefore, a guaranteed starter in attack. The uncapped Lucas Ocampos, however, has backed out after an injury, meaning Joaquin Correa could receive an opportunity to start at left-wing. This, in turn, will force to de Paul to feature on the opposite flank.
River Plate star Exequiel Palacios might get the nod ahead of Giovani Lo Celso in central midfield. Lo Celso has had a difficult start to his Tottenham Hotspur career. Palacios, meanwhile, will form the double-pivot alongside PSG star Leandro Paredes.
In defence, Leonardo Balerdi could be given his first start, after impressing for Borussia Dortmund in the pre-season. The experienced Nicolas Otamendi will partner the young defender at the heart of the four-man backline.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Andrada; Montiel, Otamendi, Balerdi, Tagliafico; de Paul, Paredes, Palacios, Correa; Dybala, Martinez.
- Chile made it to the Copa America semi-finals despite struggled to turn clashes their way
- Argentina’s only loss in last five outings came to Brazil (2-0) in semi-finals
- Albiceleste earned four wins in last five head-to-head clashes, including a Copa America 3rd place Play-off win in July (2-1)
- Chile have won only one of their last five games within ninety minutes.
- After a prolific start to their Copa America campaign, Chile have scored only two goals in their next five matches.
Player to Watch
Although it remains to be seen whether or not Scaloni opts to start with Balerdi in defence on Friday, he could be a player to watch out, if he starts. As mentioned earlier, the exciting defender has impressed in the pre-season Borussia Dortmund, which convinced the Bundesliga giants to sell Abdou Diallo in favour of giving him a more prominent role in the first-team.
The 20-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance with Dortmund. But, a solid performance against Chile could go a long way in convincing Lucien Favre to provide him with an opportunity in the next game, especially considering how awful the Dortmund defence fared in the recent defeat to Union Berlin.
Balerdi has the talent to become a top-class defender. And if he can play to his potential, the youngster could become the face of the Argentina defence alongside Juan Foyth in the coming years.
Chile 1-1 Argentina
This will be an exciting contest as both the teams lack significant quality. Argentina, however, have considerable depth and are the better side, on paper. But, they have often faltered against Chile. Hence, we expect these two teams to share the spoils this week.