Argentina coasted to the final of the Copa America last night with a comfortable 4-0 success over the USA. Lavezzi and Messi were on target in the first half and Higuain added two more second half goals to knock the hosts out of the competition. Both of our bets landed on the win market and on Messi to score at any time, with his superb free kick a goal worthy of taking him to the top of the goal scoring charts for his country.
Tonight’s other semi sees Colombia take on Chile in a much more even affair, with the latter intent on defending the trophy they won last year. Indeed, it could well be a repeat of the final which they won on penalties from Argentina, but Colombia will certainly make life difficult and will fancy their own chances of Copa America glory.
Chile’s Emphatic Win
Chile started the tournament with a 2-1 defeat to Argentina as the pair contested group D, but a 2-1 win against Bolivia and a 4-2 victory over Panama saw them safely through to the quarter finals. A draw against a very strong Mexico side set up arguably the game of the round with most pundits expecting a close game. Chile simply made a mockery of recent form against the side that topped pool C, thrashing the Mexicans 7-0 to record a historic victory.
This was versus a Mexico team that was on a run of 22 games unbeaten and were quietly fancied to go far in the competition, so the manner of defeat was an incredible shock. Eduardo Vargas netted four goals in the encounter, with Puch adding a couple and Sanchez adding one to his tally.
Colombia Through on Penalties
Colombia’s quarter final could hardly have contrasted more, as they were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn Peru side. The Colombians had the better of the play in what was a low-key match, but Peru could have snatched it at the end through Ramos. Instead the game petered out to a penalty shoot out and Colombia prevailed. Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina was the hero as he saved from Miguel Trauco, before Christian Cueva missed to hand Colombia a 4-2 spot kick win.
Overall Colombia have had a mixed record. They beat USA 2-0 in the first game of group A and followed up with a 2-1 victory over Paraguay, but they were turned over 3-2 by Costa Rica in the final group game which put them into second place behind USA. They rested players for that last group match, having already qualified, but that decision may have interrupted momentum and they were not in full flow against Peru.
Chile are one of the most attacking sides in international football and the high press against Mexico worked to devastating effect. It will be a similar approach against Colombia and they have more than enough quality to score the goals to take them through.
Players to Watch
The Chilean targetman plays his club football in Germany with Hoffenheim, and on the international stage he has been nothing short of clinical. In 58 appearances for his country he has netted an excellent 31 goals – at a rate of better than 1 in every 2 games.
His four-goal haul against Mexico may not be repeated in a hurry, but it will give him huge confidence going into this game, and as the man at the tip of Chile’s attack he is the one most likely to get on the end of chances and opportunities. With six tournament goals already he will also be eyeing up the prize of Copa America top scorer for the second year in a row, after he won it last year as Chile won the title on home soil.
Chile to beat Colombia
Thursday 23rd June, 01:00 GMT
Eduardo Vargas to score first
Thursday 23rd June, 01:00 GMT