Sports Mole previews the Copa America quarter-final between Colombia and Chile, including team news and predicted lineups.
Colombia will take on defending champions Chile in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Copa America on Friday.
Chile have won each of the last two editions of the tournament. Colombia, though, have been impressive at this summer’s competition and are seen by many as the favourites to progress from this particular last-eight tie.
Colombia have only ever won the Copa America on one occasion, with their sole success coming back in 2001. They have only reached the final twice in history, meanwhile, but have been very impressive at the 2019 competition.
Indeed, Carlos Queiroz‘s side won all three of their group matches, opening with a 2-0 win over Argentina on June 15 before recording back-to-back 1-0 victories over Qatar and Paraguay. Colombia were the only team to win all three group-stage matches and as mentioned, are seen as the favourites for this game.
Former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz is now in charge of the national team, having taken control back in February. The Portuguese has led the South American nation to six wins from his seven games at the helm, conceding just twice in the process, which is some run of results.
Colombia have actually only lost once since being eliminated by England in the last-16 stage of the 2018 World Cup – that was a 2-1 loss to Korea Republic in an international friendly towards the end of March. Since then, they have beaten Panama, Peru, Argentina, Qatar and Paraguay to put five straight victories on the board.
Los Cafeteros were extremely impressive in their tournament opener against Argentina, who had no answer to the team’s counter-attacking threat. They struggled slightly against Qatar in their next match but still managed to get the job done before a much-changed XI overcame Paraguay last time out.
The winner of the third quarter-final between Colombia and Chile will take on either Brazil or Paraguay in the last four. There is every chance that the Selecao will be waiting in the semi-finals and Colombia would certainly enter the match full of confidence if they managed to progress past Chile in this game.
Chile have only lost two of their last 15 Copa America matches, though, and have won the competition twice in a row. Queiroz’s side have been the outstanding team at the tournament thus far, however, and an XI which is strong all over the field are certainly capable of challenging the title.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether Radamel Falcao continues at the head of the attack, particularly as Duvan Zapata, who had an excellent season on loan with Atalanta BC last term, has scored twice at the competition thus far. Falcao’s experience should just prevail but Zapata’s expected presence on the bench is another indication of the strength that La Tricolor possess.
Recent form: WWW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWW
After falling in the quarter-finals of both the 2007 and 2011 Copa America, Chile landed the 2015 crown before making it back-to-back titles 12 months later. Few expect them to make it three straight titles but they have managed to progress to the last eight despite losing one of their group-stage matches.
Chile opened their 2019 tournament with an impressive 4-0 win over Japan, before beating Ecuador 2-1 on June 22. Reinaldo Rueda’s side did lose their final group game against Uruguay but it did not impact on their spot in the next round, ultimately finishing second in Group C on six points.
Finishing ahead of Uruguay would have given them an easier last-eight tie, though, with Peru waiting instead of Colombia. It would also have given them potentially an easier semi-final, although Argentina are still a very dangerous team despite only winning one of their three matches in the group stages.
Alexis Sanchez had a rotten 2018-19 campaign for Manchester United and is believed to be available for transfer this summer. The attacker has been in impressive form for Chile at the Copa America, though, scoring against Japan and Ecuador in addition to providing one assist.
Chile are far from the most talented team in the competition on paper. The holders have plenty of experience through the likes of Gary Medel and Arturo Vidal, though, and they have won seven of their 11 games against Colombia at the Copa America, suffering just two defeats in the process.
What’s more, La Roja have lost only two of their last 15 Copa America games and have been beaten just once by Colombia in their last eight games in all competitions. Three of their last four encounters have finished level, though, suggesting that Friday’s affair will be extremely tight.
Chile disappointingly failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after reaching the round of 16 in both 2010 and 2014. Rueda was actually appointed as head coach following their failure to make last summer’s tournament in Russia and the 62-year-old has won five of his 15 games at the helm.
The fact that Colombia are fancied by many to reach the semi-finals might help Chile – it is sure to be a tough game for the defending champions, though, and the winner will then potentially face the mighty Brazil in the last four.
Recent form: LDWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWL
Colombia will again be without the services of Luis Muriel, who picked up an injury in the early stages of the win over Argentina. Queiroz otherwise has a full list to choose from but he has a potential selection issue in the final third.
Indeed, as mentioned, Zapata has been excellent form off the bench and is putting pressure on Falcao when it comes to the starting spot. The latter should just get the nod, though, playing alongside James Rodriguez and Roger Martinez as part of a 4-3-3 formation.
There will be a Premier League pairing at the heart of the defence, meanwhile, with Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez and Everton’s Yerry Mina preparing to line up.
Elsewhere, Wilmar Barrios will start in midfield alongside Juan Cuadrado. Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma is another option, although Mateus Uribe should ultimately get the nod.
As for Chile, Medel picked up a muscular injury against Uruguay and is seen as a huge doubt. Arturo Vidal is said to be far from fully fit, meanwhile, but the Barcelona midfielder should start in the middle of the park.
Sanchez will be supported in the final third by both Eduardo Vargas and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, with Charles Aranguiz, who provided three assists in the group stages of the competition, also keeping his spot.
Guillermo Maripan, who has been linked with West Ham United this summer, will also start for Chile in central defence and he could be joined by Gonzalo Jara if Medel fails to pass a late fitness test.
Colombia possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Tesillo, D Sanchez, Mina, Medina; Cuadrado, Barrios, Uribe; Rodriguez, Falcao, Martinez
Chile possible starting lineup:
Arias; Isla, Maripan, Jara, Beausejour; Aranguiz, Pulgar, Vidal; Fuenzalida, Vargas, Sanchez
Head To Head
These two South American nations have locked horns on 38 occasions, with Chile leading the head-to-head 15 wins to Colombia’s 10.
The last match between the two teams, which came during qualification for the 2018 World Cup, finished 0-0. However, Chile beat Colombia 2-0 in the semi-finals of the 2016 Copa America.
Colombia’s only win over Chile since 2006 was a 3-1 victory during qualification for the 2014 World Cup back in September 2012. Meanwhile, Los Cafeteros have not beaten Chile in the Copa America since the 2001 competition.
We say: Colombia 2-1 Chile
The recent history certainly favours Chile. Colombia have been excellent at this summer’s competition, though, and we fancy Queiroz’s side to have enough to advance into the semi-finals at the expense of the holders.