Chile Copa America Centenario Predicted Lineup: Probable Starting 11 for La Roja
The beauty of the Chile side that won the 2015 Copa America is that it won the tournament with relatively few stars. Apart from Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal, Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich and Claudio Bravo of Barcelona, the majority of the Chilean side is made up of good-but-not-great players that have placed team cohesion above all else in their quest for glory.
However, with manager Jorge Sampaoli having left the national side, Juan Antonio Pizzi opted for a few changes when he named his lineup, with the most notable omission being playmaker Jorge Valdivia. Here are the 23 men from which he will pick his final 11:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Claudio Bravo (Barcelona, ESP), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile, CHI), Christopher Toselli (Universidad Católica, CHI)
DEFENDERS (7): Jean Beausejour (Colo-Colo, CHI), José Pedro Fuenzalida (Universidad Católica, CHI), Mauricio Isla (Marseille, FRA), Gonzalo Jara (Universidad de Chile, CHI), Gary Medel (Inter Milan, ITA), Eugenio Mena (São Paulo, BRA), Enzo Roco (Espanyol, ESP)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Charles Aránguiz (Bayer Leverkusen, GER), Marcelo Díaz (Celta de Vigo, ESP), Matías Fernández (Fiorentina, ITA), Pedro Pablo Hernández (Celta de Vigo, ESP), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich, GER), Erick Pulgar (Bologna, ITA), Francisco Silva (Chiapas, MEX)
FORWARDS (6): Nicolás Castillo (Universidad Católica, CHI), Fabián Orellana (Celta de Vigo, ESP), Mauricio Pinilla (Atalanta, ITA), Edson Puch (LDU Quito, ECU), Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal, ENG), Eduardo Vargas (Hoffenheim, GER)
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo
When it comes to goalkeepers, Pizzi is faced with an easy choice – Claudio Bravo is Chile’s beating heart, and the Barcelona custodian is quite possibly one of the first names on the team-sheet. The 33-year-old recently celebrated becoming Chile's most experienced player of all time, notching up 100 appearances with an appearance against Argentina.
Bravo enjoyed a fantastic 2015, becoming the only player to win seven major trophies, but has seen his form taper off in the latter half of the season. Despite that, Bravo is still considered among the best goalkeepers of the 2015/16 season, although he has faced some questions regarding his penchant to punch long range strikes back into dangerous areas.
However, Bravo will get the nod ahead of Johnny Herrera and Christopher Toselli, despite the latter starting for Chile in a 1-0 loss against Mexico a few days back. The backup pair have totalled 19 appearances for Chile between them, thus making Bravo an obvious pick in goal.
The veteran custodian’s penalty save against Ever Banega that won Chile the 2015 Copa America is one that Pizzi hopes to call upon again, were the situation to arise in a tournament that will eschew extra-time in the knockout stages.