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Copa America 2015: Group A Preview - Chile, Mexico, Equador and Bolivia

Sucheth R
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Preview
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 05:45 IST
Vidal Bravo
Juventus’ Arturo Vidal could be the decider of Chile’s fortunes

Hosts Chile will be the main focal point of Group A, they will be expected to make the semifinal at least. With CONCACAF Gold Cup coming up, Mexico has decided to send an alternative side to Chile. Ecuador is coming into the tournament with a team hampered by injuries to some of the main members of the team. Bolivia is not expected to do well, their squad is considered by many as the worst in South America.

Group A Schedule

Match No. Fixture Date Time (IST) Venue
1 Chile v Ecuador June 12 5:00 AM Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Santiago de Chile
2 Mexico v Bolivia June 13 5:00 AM Estadio Sausalito, Viña del Mar
7 Ecuador v Bolivia June 16 2:30 AM Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander, Valparaíso
8 Chile v Mexico June 16 5:00 AM Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Santiago de Chile
13 Mexico v Ecuador June 20 2:30 AM Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua
14 Chile v Bolivia June 20 5:00 AM Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Santiago de Chile

Venues

All of Chile’s matches will be held at the capital city of Santiago at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Paradanos which is Chile’s national stadium.The other 3 matches are scheduled to be held at Valparaiso, also known as ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, Rancagua city which has one of the largest copper mines in the World and Vina del Mar which is the fourth largest city of Chile.

Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos,Chile
Estadio Nacional, the National stadium of Chile will play host to all their group stage matches
Stadium Capacity
Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Santiago de Chile 48,665
Estadio Elías Figueroa Brander, Valparaíso 20,575
Estadio Sausalito, Viña del 18,037
Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua 15,252

The temperature is allmost similar in all the cities except Vina Del Mar which will be colder than the rest, the average will 15-18 degree Celsius. It will be mostly sunny and pleasant in Santiago, Vina Del Mar and Rancagua, but you can expect thunderstorms or overcast conditions in Valparaiso over the next month or so.

The conditions will pretty humid in all the 4 cities, normally during this time of the year it would be around 80%-90%. The average temperature in Vina del Mar is expected to be around 6-14 degree Celsius.

Team Guide

Chile (FIFA Ranking - 19)

Given the strength of their squad and the home advantage it would be a surprise if Chile did not finish first in the group
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Jorge Sampaoli’s men had a good World Cup where they knocked out Spain and gave Brazil a scare. But since then, they have run of steam a bit, losing to Brazil and Iran in friendlies which cost them 3 places in the World rankings but they still remain in the top 20. They have a talented and settled squad and with home support egging them on, they have a big chance to go all the way to the final.

Chile has never won the tournament before but this Chilean team is widely regarded as the best ever and they might not get a better chance to claim the Copa America.

The star of the forward line will be Alexis Sanchez, after a near perfect season at Arsenal he will be very much up for this challenge. He will joined by the experienced likes of Vargas and Pinilla.

Manchester United youngster Angelo Henriquez will be looking forward to use this tournament to create an impression on Louis van Gaal. In midfield, Juventus‘ indomitable engine, Arturo Vidal will be joined by Diaz and Aranguiz. The mercurial Valdivia will be playing as the attacking midfielder.

Defence consists of Inter Milan’s power packed defender Medel, who will be joined experienced likes of Jara, Isla and Mena. And in goal, they have Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo coming after phenomenal success.

They should qualify from their group with relative ease, as it is a pretty weak one. They play quick, aggressive, high energy attacking game. You can be assured that they will give their everything. But winning the competition might be a bit too much as they lack the killer instinct in front of goal and they are vulnerable to the opposing counter-attack. Though Alexis Sanchez is in the awesome form and he is very well capable of destroying defences single handedly.

Key Player – Alexis Sanchez


Mexico (FIFA Ranking - 19)

Jesus Corona and Rau Jimenez will have to play a major role if they are to progress
Ones to function watch out for Jesus Corona and Raul Jimenez

It is difficult to say how Mexico will perform at the Copa America as they are bringing an alternative squad for the Copa America as the first choice team are preparing for CONCACAF Gold Cup. Big names like Guillermo Ochoa, Javier Hernandez, Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera are not in the squad instead Coach Miguel Herrera has called upon younger players with less international experience – with the notable exception of defender Rafa Marquez of Italian side Verona.

But Coach Miguel Herrera will be going with same 5-3-2 system which they have been following for a while. All eyes will be on Atletico Madrid youngster Raul Jimenez and he will be starting as one of the two strikers along with Eduardo Herrera.

They will reliant on FC Twente’s playmaker Jesus Manuel Corona and veteran defensive specialist Juan Carlos Medina in midfield joined with Marco Fabian who will be playing in an advanced midfield role.

Adrian Aldrete and Efrain Velarde will be playing as wing backs and Rafael Marquez, the captain will be accompanied by Hugo Ayala and Julio Cesar Dominguez in a 3-man central defence.

This Mexico side might just be an alternative team, but it would be unwise to rule them out. In a weak group like this they could very well finish second and qualify for the next stage.

Key Player – Jesus Manuel Corona


Ecuador (FIFA Ranking - 34)

Jefferson Montero has the talent to take Ecuador to the next round
Jefferson Montero has the talent to take Ecuador to the next round

The Ecuador team is suffering from a number of unexpected injuries that have left their key stars out of the tournament, including RCD Espanyol striker Felipe Caicedo, who recently suffered muscular injuries, as well as Manchester United winger and National team captain, Antonio Valencia. Emelec striker Angel Mena and America forward Michael Arroyo are also out of the lineup due to injuries. So it will be very difficult for them to manage a decent challenge and may qualify for the next round.

They will sit back and try to counter against teams like Chile and Mexico, Jefferson Montero of West Ham will be their talisman. He will expected to shoulder a lot of the goal scoring responsibilities along with the Hammers forward Enner Valencia.

Fidel Martinez will play in place of Antonio Valencia and he has been impressive of late.

In midfield, Renato Ibarra will be one to watchout for along with experienced PAOK midfielder Noboa. Scouts will be keen to see young and talented Juan Cazares who has been getting a lot of rave reviews.

They don't have any consistent names in defence and this would be the major issue for their coach Gustavo Quinteros to address. It will be Librado Azcona who will probably start in goal.

Despite being a relatively weak group  on paper they have the chance to qualify for the next round, but that is about it, progressing beyond that  looks very tough with the squad they currently have.

Key Player – Jefferson Montero


Bolivia ( FIFA Ranking – 92)

Striker Marcelo Moreno Martins is the undoubted star of Bolivia
Striker Marcelo Moreno Martins is the undoubted star of Bolivia

They are the lowest ranked team in the tournament and not much is expected from them. Their coach, Mauricio Soria, has vowed to lift Bolivia's play.

Bolivia are expected to employ a defensive strategy. For goal scoring will mostly depend on Marcelo Moreno Martins, the star of their team. He has played for Shakhtar Donetsk   previously, now he plays for Chinese side Chanchung Yatai.

Experienced trequartista Pablo Escobar is their main man in midfield and wingers like Lizio and Campos playing on the flanks. Martin Smedberg and young Sebastian Gamarra are the ones to look for, the former is coming after a good season in Sweden and the latter is AC Milan player and has played quite often for Milan’s reserve teams.

Veteran Ronald Raldes is  the best defender of the team and will have the responsibility to organize and guide his fellow defenders. Romel Quiñonez is their number 1, he is a decent shot stopper and he will have his hands full especially against Chile.

If they manage to get into the next round, it will be a big achievement for Soria. As most of the players are from the Bolivian league this tournament could provide an opportunity for them to shine and attract offers from abroad.

Key Player – Marcelo Moreno Martins

Key Fixtures

  1. Mexico v Ecuador : This game will decide who will finish second behind Chile. It will be an interesting game to watch as Mexico’s possession based game can hurt Ecuador’s weak defence. But Ecuador has speedy wingers which means they will get chances to hit Mexico on counter.

Prediction

Chile should go through with Ecuador finishing second. Mexico will able to to qualify as one of the best third placed teams if they are able to score a few past Bolivia.

Published 10 Jun 2015, 17:06 IST
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