Copa America 2016: Team Battle - Argentina vs Chile
Everything you need to know about the Copa America 2016 final between Argentina and Chile
After a month of free-flowing, attacking and attractive football, the Copa America Centenario is set for a blockbuster finish with last year’s finalists , Argentina and Chile, again making it to the final clash. Both these teams have put in some amazing displays of attacking football so far in the tournament and the final promises to be an absolute thriller.
Let us take a detailed look into the history, head-to-head record, current squads and key players of both the teams before they face off against each other on Sunday.
It has been 23 years since Argentina last won the Copa America, but there is no doubt as to which team has the greater history. The Albiceleste always have some of the greatest players in the world playing for them, and it is no surprise that they have won a host of major international trophies.
Argentina have won 2 World Cups, 14 Copa America titles, 2 Olympic gold medals and 6 Pan American Championships. However, it is also true that they have struggled for international success in the recent past, falling at the final hurdle in the last two occasions.
This Lionel Messi led Argentina side has been widely tipped for glory and after suffering heartbreaks in the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America final, the number 1 ranked international team will be going all out to win the trophy this time around
Although Chile was one of the four founding members of CONEMBOL along with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, it is fair to say that this current generation of football players are easily the most successful Chile side in history.
Compared to Argentina, Chile have won almost nothing. However, it will give them great satisfaction that their solitary Copa America triumph came against the same opponents they will be facing on Sunday.
Head to Head Record
The overall head-to-head record is ridiculously one sided with Argentina predictably dominating Chile. In 87 previous meetings between the two sides, Chile has managed to beat Argentina only 7 times with Argentina winning 57 times and the remaining 24 meetings ending as draws.
The last 5 head to head matches also favour Argentina, with the Albiceleste winning 3, drawing 1 and losing one. Although their solitary loss against Chile in this 5 match period came in the Copa America 2015 final, they will be confident of avoiding another loss.
Their most recent meeting was in this year’s group stage where Argentina prevailed 2-1. Although a final is a whole different matter, Argentina will be taking confidence from their earlier win in Copa America 2016.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi has lit up this edition of the Copa America but it has not been a one man show for the Albiceleste. Although the spotlight will be on the Argentine maestro, the game might very well be decided by how the midfield duo of Ever Banega and Augusto Fernandez contribute to the defensive cause for Argentina.
Also, Funes Mori has had an excellent campaign so far, and Gerardo Martino will be hoping that the relatively inexperienced Everton man keeps his cool and puts in another mature performance against Chile in the finals.
For Chile, the huge news will be the return of Arturo Vidal. Vidal is a crucial cog in the Chile midfield machine and the return of his all action displays in the centre of the park will definitely provide a boost to the defending champions.
Alexis Sanchez has had another stunning tournament and his tireless and energetic displays have driven Chile forward. After an indifferent start to the tournament, Chile have really hit their stride and it is largely thanks to the form of their star man Alexis Sanchez.
Another player who has performed at a very high level, but gone under the radar is Chile's right winger Fuenzalida. Fuenzalida's tireless running and willingness to sacrifice for the team played a crucial role in Chile's 2-0 triumph against Colombia in the semi-final and his performance in the final will be crucial to Chile's hope.
Althoguh Chile have looked strong in the previous few matches and are the defending champions, Argentina seem to have a bit too much quality in their squad for them. Any side boasting attacking talents of the like of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero will be favourites to win.
The only way Argentina can lose is if they self-implode, but one can never discount the fiery fighting spirit and quality of Chile. All in all, in the end, we predict Argentina and Lionel Messi to put their recent heartbreaks to rest and win the Copa America Final 3-1.
Argentina 3-1 Chile