Colombia and Chile will renew their rivalries this weekend, when they go head to head at Estadio Jose Rico Perez on Saturday evening.
We are set to reach the midway point of the second international break of the season, and Saturday is set to serve a mouthwatering fixture. Two South American giants Colombia and Chile will lock horns at Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Alacant, with both teams desperate to return to winning ways.
Colombia endured a difficult Copa America campaign this past summer, bowing out at the Last Eight stage at the hands of Chile, to end a campaign wherein they struggled for goals. Since then, Los Cafeteros have played out two successive draws – a 2-2 stalemate with Brazil and a goalless draw against Venezuela.
Chile, on the other hand, were handed a shock 2-1 loss by Honduras last time around, meaning they have failed to win a match inside 90 minutes since Matchday 2 of the Copa America Group Stage. With Colombia being their next opponents, Reinaldo Rueda & co. will be hoping for a win at long last.
Colombia and Chile had played out a goalless draw the last time they met each other, with La Roja narrowly winning on penalties. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
The major absentees for Colombia for the second international break of the season are James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao. While there were rumours that James Rodriguez asked to be omitted from the squad to concentrate on his Real Madrid career, Carlos Queiroz has rubbished such suggestions.
Falcao, on the other hand, has been left out, as he is deemed to be in a “difficult moment” by the Colombia head coach after joining Galatasaray. The duo’s absence means Duvan Zapata is likely to lead the line for Los Cafeteros, with Juan Cuadrado expected to be deployed on the right side of the attack.
Luis Muriel will complete the attacking unit, taking his place on the left side of the Colombian attack against Chile. Queiroz should name an experienced trio in the midfield, with Wilmar Barrios playing the Anchor Man role in front of the defence, while Jefferson Lerma and Mateus Uribe will provide the legs to support him.
Luis Orejuela is slowly growing into the Colombian national side and should start as the right-back. On the opposite flank, Johan Mojica is expected to start, with Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina expected to form the central defensive partnership. David Ospina, who will don the captain’s armband for Colombia, will take his place between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ospina; Orejuela, Sanchez, Mina, Mojica; Lerma, Barrios, Uribe; Cuadrado, Zapata, Muriel
The big news heading into the game against Colombia is that experienced stars Claudio Bravo and Arturo Vidal are a part of the squad. But, Chile head coach Reinaldo Rueda has lost the services of Charles Aranguiz and Diego Valdes due to injury.
The absence of Aranguiz, in particular, can hurt and to compensate for his loss, Rueda could move Gary Medel into midfield, using his experience to good effect in the middle of the park. Erick Pulgar will partner Medel in the midfield double pivot, with Vidal likely to be deployed in a free role behind the central striker.
The aforementioned striker is expected to be Diego Rubio, with Alexis Sanchez and Fabian Orellana flanking the 26-year-old from either side. Vidal will play off Rubio, using his guile and experience to good effect to create chances for Chile.
At the back, the space vacated by Medel should be taken up by Guillermo Maripan, who will be Paulo Diaz’s central defensive partner. Oscar Opazo and Alfonso Parot are expected to be the two full-backs, with Bravo taking his place in goal for Chile.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Opazo, Maripan, Diaz, Parot; Medel, Pulgar; Orellana, Vidal, Sanchez; Rubio
- Chile are unbeaten in six fixtures against Colombia, although they have managed to win just two of those games (D4).
- The last two meetings between the Colombia and Chile have both ended goalless.
- Colombia have failed to win each of their last three games, with each of the fixtures ending in a draw after 90 minutes.
- Chile have failed to win each of their last five matches inside 90 minutes, although one of those games ended with them triumphing in a penalty shootout.
- None of the players in the Colombia squad have managed to reach double figures for goals scored in international football. Their top scorer is Juan Cuadrado, with 8 goals.
Player to Watch
With James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao not a part of the latest Colombia squad, Duvan Zapata will have the onus on him to supply the attacking firepower. The 28-year-old has been in fine form at club level for Atalanta for well over a season now.
With the transition under Carlos Queiroz being a slow one, goals from the star striker are of utmost importance. Therefore, it is imperative that Zapata starts firing on international level as well and if he can add to his three international goals, Colombia will be in good stead when they take on Chile.
Colombia 1-1 Chile
The game pits two sides that have been rather shy in front of goal lately. But, both Colombia and Chile have players who have shown good form at club level and will be raring to deliver in international football as well.
However, goalmouth action is unlikely to come aplenty, with both sides poised to play out another evenly contested affair. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between Colombia and Chile, with Duvan Zapata and Alexis Sanchez likely to get their names on the score sheet.