Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chile vs Ecuador – Opening match preview

The Copa América will finally start in two days (Friday morning 1:30am MEST for you Central Europeans). How would you start the huge continental competition better than with the hosts being involved? Chile will start off their campaign against Ecuador in Santiago’s Estadio Nacional.

15 times have these two nations met in history and the statistics could not be much more even: Six wins for each Chile and Ecuador, along with three draws. The last match ended in a 2-1 win for the Chileans in October 2013.


Alexis Sánchez is the superstar of the Chilean team and will be one of this year’s Copa América in his home country.

This time around, the signs look pretty clear. Chile have a team that can compete for the first title, backed by their enthusiastic home fans. Ecuador meanwhile are dealing with injury trouble, as they miss their best player, Manchester United right winger Antonio Valencia. Another attacking minded midfielder, Michael Arroyo, also misses the tournament, like Valencia through an ankle injury. The hosts line up with superstar Alexis Sánchez and Arturo Vidal, who just recently played (and lost) the Champions-League final with Juventus.

Nevertheless, Ecuador will most likely not come into the game short on confidence. On Saturday, Panama played sparring partner and got destroyed 4-0. Gustavo Quinteros’ team played in a 4-4-2 system with two defensive midfielders, a tactic that will likely reoccur in this first Copa match. Enner Valencia and Miler Bolaños meanwhile provide danger up front, that Chile will have to deal with.

The hosts themselves had more trouble in their own recent friendly, managing only a 1-0 win over El Salvador. Goalscorer Jorge Valdivia will play a key part in Chile’s 4-3-3 as the central striker between Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez. This trio can take apart any opponent by themselves. If you then take into account, that Vidal will join them along with treble winning goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (behind a traditionally strong defense), you can see why Chile is counted into the circle of strong favorites.

What to expect in the opening match? Chile will dictate the game, try to score early if possible. Ecuador have the means to counter attack efficiently, the question remains whether the hosts will give them any room to do so. It might be a close game with added pressure to perform well on Chile, it might as well set free additional energy though. The chance to be part of the first Chilean team that wins the Copa América would motivate anybody even a bit more, don’t you think?


Chile: Bravo – Isla, Medel, Jara, Beausejour – Vidal, Díaz – Aranguíz – Sánchez, Valdivia, Vargas.

Ecuador: Domínguez – Paredes, Erazo, Achilier, Ayoví – Martínez, Lastra, Noboa, Montero – Bolaños, Valencia.

Stadium: Estadio Nacional in the capital Santiago de Chile. Capacity: 47.000.



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