5 key players for Chile at the Copa America
Hosting the Copa America for the first time in over two decades, Chile will be hoping that home support can help them clinch their maiden international trophy. This is perhaps the first time that Chile that have had a squad capable of winning a tournament and in Jorge Sampaoli, they have a manager who knows how to adapt to different situations and get the best out of the players.
With a fanatic home crowd behind them, a squad packed with stars throughout the side and a manager who knows how to win, Chile are undeniably favourites. So who are their main men? Who needs to shine for them to have a chance of winning the tournament?
Here are the 5 key players for Chile at the Copa America 2015:
5. Charles Aranguiz
While all the pre-tournament talk about Chile's midfield has been about Arturo Vidal, it is another midfielder, who will play an important role if La Roja are to clinch their maiden international trophy on home soil. Midfielder Charles Aranguiz, who had a highly successful spell under manager Jorge Sampaoli at Universidad de Chile is now a regular fixture in the side after an impressive World Cup in Brazil where he caught the eye of plenty of European clubs.
The 26-year-old has been a match made in heaven for Sampaoli's high energy, high-pressing approach which has yielded so many great performances since he took over in 2012. His combination with Vidal makes an imposing engine room in the centre of the park and allows for flexibility as well. Positionally aware, precise with his passing and a willing forward-runner when in possession, Aranguiz has become an integral part of this Chile side, and one which must function perfectly, if La Roja are to win the title.
4. Gary Medel
Despite not having the greatest of seasons with Inter Milan, Gary Medel will come into the tournament as one of South America's finest defenders. The 27-year-old former Cardiff City man is one of Chile's pillars in the centre of defence and along with Gonzalo Jara are the two most important defenders, who will need to have a good tournament if the hosts are to claim the Copa America.
The 27-year-old, nicknamed the Pitbull, is the tough tackling, no nonsense defender that every side needs. While not always the most conventional when it comes to clearances or blocks, Medel gets the job done and that is what is important. With Chile's attack struggling to find the net recently, the onus will be on the defence to keep things tight and as the leader of the defence, it will be Medel's responsibility to make sure that La Roja keep enough clean sheets to win the title.