Colombians win competition against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.


What makes the two young Rosario Central players Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso the players they are?


An interview with Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori ahead of Sunday's Clásico.


Taking a look at the next great Argentinian #5, the next Javier Mascherano.


Colombians win the Copa Sudamericana after penalty thriller against Huracán.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

South America’s Top Clubs – August 2015

Starting today, I am implementing a new monthly feature to the blog which took a lot of work to get done in the first place. For each South American top league club, points won from the last 15 league and/or international games are added onto each other. For a win in their domestic league, a club gains 3 points, a draw gives them at least 1. For a win in Copa Libertadores or Sudamericana (about to start), a team will get 6 points, a draw means 2. A loss in either competition – obviously – results in no points.

This table should give a good overview every month about who are the main powers in South American football at the time. The number 1 at the beginning of August might surprise you a little bit at least. It is no team from one of the big football nations, but from Ecuador. Thanks to a deep run in Copa Libertadores and good results at home, CS Emelec managed to sneak ahead of River Plate.








- CS Emelec Ecuador 38


- River Plate Argentina 37


- Santa Fe Colombia 37
4 - Racing Club Argentina 36
5 - Caracas FC Venezuela 36
6 - Boca Juniors Argentina 35
7 - Guaraní Paraguay 35
8 - Cerro Porteño Paraguay 34
9 - Atlético Mineiro Brazil 34
10 - Colo Colo Chile 33
11 - Olimpia Paraguay 32
12 - Atlético Nacional Colombia 32
13 - LDU Quito Ecuador 31
14 - Gimnasia y Esgrima Argentina 31
15 - Jorge Wilstermann Bolivia 31
16 - Huachipato Chile 30
17 - Cobresal Chile 30
18 - San Lorenzo Argentina 30
19 - The Strongest Bolivia 30
20 - Deportivo Táchira Venezuela 30

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

History will be made – but by who?

It is time for the Copa Libertadores final. The first leg will be played in the night between Wednesday and Thursday (3:00am CET). If you somehow missed it, the two clubs contesting are River Plate and Tigres UANL. A favorite is hard to predict in the meeting of of those quality teams. Interestingly enough, they already met during the group stages of the tournament. Both games ended in a draw, 1-1 in Argentina and 2-2 in Mexico. Additionally, they remained the only group matches that Tigres did not win.


Who will celebrate after the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final? The Mexicans from Tigres UANL hope it will be them again like after the semifinal win over Internacional.

Everything new nearly four months later? A little at least. Both teams have strengthened their lineups. French striker André-Pierre Gignac showed up already during the semifinals, contributing to the success over Internacional. Still, River is another team with other qualities and especially defensively they got the advantage over the Brazilian slapstick show. Centerback Funes Mori keeps the defense together nicely, protected by the midfield controlled by Matías Kranevitter. Coach Marcelo Gallardo massively builds on those players. It is up to Tigres’ Gignac, Sóbis and Damm to find a way to break down the Argentinian fort.

On the other side, Lucas Alario proved instrumental for River’s semifinal victory over Guaraní. Whether he will get the start again is at least doubtful. Due to the rotation in the league lately, a lot of players have gotten playing time and some have made the best use of it. Example? Fernando Cavenaghi has scored 5 goals in the last 2 games. 20 year old tricky winger Tomás Martínez has also looked tremendous lately, I expect him to get a good look for the starting XI.

The first leg will take place in Mexico so set your alarm for the middle of the night, if you are in Europe and want to see the game.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Roaring Into The Final – Tigres Kick Out Internacional

Tigres UANL from Mexico have reached the finals of the Copa Libertadores. They nullified a 1-2 deficit from the first leg and beat Internacional 3-1 at home. This sets up two meetings with River Plate and the chance to be the first Mexican club to ever win the competition.


French striker André-Pierre Gignac gave his Tigres the lead last night. His team will play for the Copa Libertadores title.

Last night’s success was a deserved one, as the Brazilians from Porto Alegre defended in a dreadful fashion all game long. It took Tigres until the 18th minute to get the first goal, new signing André-Pierre Gignac headed home a cross from the right which was sent into the area by Jürgen Damm. Inter left him too much space and a striker of his caliber is always going to capitalize.

The 2-0 goal was absolutely comical for a Libertadores semifinal. Geferson’s touch deflected the ball over the head of goalkeeper Alisson and into his own net. It wasn’t even Tigres that beat Internacional in those moments, it was the Brazilians themselves. On top of it all, the goal came right before halftime, making it even tougher for the visitors.

While they had the chance to regroup for 15 minutes, they must have somehow missed that opportunity. Coming out of the dressing rooms, we continued to see the same as before. In the 51st minute, Tigres got awarded a penalty, but former Inter striker Rafael Sóbis’ attempt was saved by Alisson. Six minutes later, the goal came. Uruguayan defensive midfielder Egidio Arévalo scored with a beautiful flying header, again assisted by Damm. This third goal put Tigres into full control, which they would never lose again. While the Brazilians had a few chances, they never got past Nahuel Guzmán.

When they finally did one minute from the end through Lisandro López who made it 3-1 and you expected final desperation, none of that happened. It was the Mexicans who had the final chances, even a disallowed goal by Gignac that would have made it four.

The bottom line: Tigres UANL will play the first final at home despite being the higher seed than River. That’s simply the rule which wants to see the trophy being awarded in South America instead of Mexico. River Plate themselves will play at the Club World Cup next December in Japan, whatever the outcome of the final will be.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Follow Me Down To The River – Into The Final

River Plate have reached the final of the 2015 Copa Libertadores. The two time winner of the intercontinental competition will play for the biggest title in South America for the first time in 19 years. Marcelo Gallardo can win the trophy as a coach, after having won it as a player the last time of the club last time around.


River party! After a 1-1 draw with Guaraní, one of the most famous Argentinian clubs is going to the final.

The second leg against Guaraní was a lot closer than the final score of 1-1 would suggest. Fernando Fernández gave the hosts the lead in the 61st minute, filling the Paraguayan fans with hope of a possible turnaround of the 0-2 disadvantage. They had further chances to get the second goal, that would have taken the game to penalties, but instead River hit them on the counter attack. Obviously Guaraní had left lots of spaces while attacking. In the 78th minute, substitute Fernando Cavenaghi, who scored four goals in the league last weekend, put Lucas Alario through and his lob found the back of the net over the head of Alfredo Aguilar.

It was Alario’s first goal for his new club and a pretty big one on top. The 22-year old states “it was the most important goal of my life.” Coach Gallardo concentrated on the team effort: "We had the game under control. Their goal came at an important moment and they put us under pressure but we knew how to handle it." He adds that “it's enormously satisfying to play a much-awaited Libertadores final again after so long.”

On the other side of things, there was obvious disappointment. Guaraní did not manage to become the third Paraguayan team in a row to reach the Libertadores final, but can still pat themselves on the back for an outstanding international season. After all, reaching the semifinal means tying the biggest club success from 1966. Rightly so, the great fans celebrated their team’s efforts.

Guaraní have good chances to be back in the competition in 2016, you would wish it to them after their impressive run this year that saw them knock out the likes of Corinthians, Racing and Sporting Cristal.

Tonight will be the second leg of the other semifinal, Brazil’s Internacional hold a 2-1 advantage before their trip to Mexican club Tigres UANL.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Copa Sudamericana – The Draw Of First And Second Round

Last night’s draw of the Copa Sudamericana in Paraguay has produced quite a few interesting games around South America. The procedure of the games is as follows: In the first round, the eight countries’ teams (not Brazil & Argentina) enter the competition and, split in North and South, face each other. The winners move on to the second round, where Argentinians and Brazilians take part as well. Scroll to the bottom to see the full list of matchups.


In the Northern zone, Emelec visits León de Huánuco. The Ecuadorians enjoyed a fine Copa Libertadores season which only ended after a quarterfinal loss to the strong Mexicans from Tigres UANL. For the upcoming Sudamericana, they will have to be regarded as one of the title favorites. The Peruvians from Huánuco meanwhile are clear outsiders in this matchup.

Another good first round game should take place between Zamora (VEN) and Liga de Quito (ECU). Both are some of the best teams in their respective countries.

Finally, Santa Fe (COL) will be visitor to Liga de Loja (ECU). The Colombians followed previously mentioned Emelec into the quarterfinals, only to be eliminated by Internacional. Next to Emelec and Zamora, they are the best team in the Northern zone, and you can expect them in the second barring some upset.

When looking South, we’re finding a lot of traditional teams, three of the prime matchups see a battle between Uruguay and Bolivia. Oriente Petrolero face Uruguayan champions Club Nacional in a game between two already qualified clubs for the 2016 Libertadores. Both want to go far in this competition, now we already have it in round 1.

Defensor Sporting (URU) could have a tough time with Bolívar. The Bolivian champions might indeed be early favorites to go through, but you can’t just count out a Uruguayan team that knows how to fight.

The third one sees Juventud (URU) host Real Potosí (BOL). 

Most of all, we should mention Paraguay. They have some of the most famous clubs in the competition this season. Libertad visit the Chileans from Santiago Wanderers, Nacional host Universidad de Conceptión from the same country, and finally Olimpia will play against Huachipato.

While the winners will all face each other in the second round, the other places will be filled by inter country matchups in Argentina and Brazil. The seeding in Brazil is not determined yet. Argentina sees games between Belgrano and Lanús, Arsenal and Copa Libertadores record champions Independiente as well as Tigre and Huracán.

Here are all the games that have been determined (winners of each line to face each other):

Olimpia vs Huachipato / Águilas Doradas vs Unión Comercio

Oriente Petrolero vs Nacional (URU) / Liga de Loja vs Santa Fe

Zamora vs Liga de Quito / Nacional (PAR) vs Universidad de Concepción

Carabobo vs Deportes Tolima / Junior vs Melgar

Universidad Católica vs Danubio / Santiago Wanderers vs Libertad

Defensor Sporting vs Bolívar / Universitario vs Deportivo Anzoátegui

León de Huánuco vs Emelec / Juventud vs Real Potosí

Universidad Católica vs Deportivo La Guaira / Aurora vs Sportivo Luqueño

Belgrano vs Lanús

Arsenal vs Independiente

Tigre vs Huracán

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Semi final successes – River Plate and Internacional hold advantages

The first semifinal of this year’s Copa Libertadores was a pretty one sided affair. River Plate dominated Guaraní to a big extent, the visitors did not manage a shot on goal during the full 90 minutes. Second half goals from Gabriel Mercado and Rodrigo Mora lifted River to a comfortable 2-0 victory. The players from coach Marcelo Gallardo did everything they could to extend the advantage even further, which wasn’t rewarded though. By the time the final whistle blew, the Argentinians had collected 17 shots in an ecstatic El Monumental.


Rodrigo Mora celebrating his 2-0 goal in the game between River and Guaraní.

An interesting note is that River Plate is the current holder of both Copa Sudamericana and Recopa (played between Libertadores and Sudamericana champion), giving them the possibility to hold all three big South American titles at the same time. As if it needed extra motivation to win the big one?

Here are the highlights of River vs Guaraní:

In Wednesday night’s game, we saw the clash between Brazilian giants Internacional and Mexican team Tigres UANL.

The goals were all scored by the 25th minute, two for Inter, one for Tigres. Captain Andres D’Alessandro opened the scoring early in the 5th minute, putting a low shot into the bottom right corner. Only five minutes later, Valdivia profited from an ugly deflection that put the ball high in the air and bounce over goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán. Despite the early double shock in an away game, the Mexicans came back and brought the game within one, when Hugo Ayala headed home a cross from Rafael Sóbis.

Inter were the better team throughout the game when it comes to possession (65%) and shots on target (5-4), but the visitors did a good job countering. They had multiple chances to tie the game up, predominantly through summer transfer André-Pierre Gignac. The French striker had a fine outing in his first ever Copa Libertadores game.

Ayala, Mr. Goalscorer himself, was later sent off with his second yellow card of the night after a bad foul in midfield. It would complicate Tigres’ mission for the rest of the game, but they held on to the narrow loss. For the second leg at home, they don’t have the worst imaginable position. Since away goals count, a 1-0 win would be enough to see them through to the final of the competition.

Here are the highlights of the second game:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Semifinal preview – Copa Libertadores

With the Copa América set and done, we are back to club football and as the official calendars want it, the decisive stage of the Copa Libertadores is right upon us. It is semifinal time. By now you will surely know the games, but if not here is a short reminder: River Plate await Paraguay’s Guaraní while Internacional face UANL Tigres from Mexico. Both matchups are quite intriguing and could easily result in a final without the previously dominating nations Argentina or Brazil.

Tigres still have the opportunity to be the first ever non South American team to win the trophy, making it somewhat of a national mission for them. Internacional have other worries right now. Their star players are being chased by European clubs, for example Charles Aránguiz, who German club Bayer Leverkusen has showed interest in. The Brazilians made it clear that they will not sell before the semifinal is over. The transfer window comes at an unfortunate time for all the clubs still present in the competition, since these rumors may also be a distraction for the players and their respective teams. Like that was not enough, the Brazilians are dealing with injury problems to a few important players. Goalkeeper Alisson, defenders Juan and Réver as well as midfielder Eduardo Sasha might be out. We will see who gets back in time for Wednesday’s clash in Porto Alegre.


Brazilian striker Rafael Sobis returns to Porto Alegre with his new team.

A very special story will be written in this semifinal: Rafael Sobis, an Inter legend, returns to the place of his biggest victories. In 2006 and four years later, he won the Copa Libertadores twice with the team that he now faces with his new club Tigres. "It's an important game because it's a Libertadores semifinal. As for the Inter team where I played all my life, this is important, but I want to make history with Tigres”, says the Brazilian striker. He adds what he thinks will be key to advancing: “We showed everyone that we have quality, we have many chances. The mentality must be to think game by game.”

As for the game itself, I expect a very open battle between the two clubs. Naturally you would give the slight edge to the Brazilians, but Tigres have the advantage of playing at home in the second leg.

River Plate celebrated the return to Argentina from Javier Saviola and Lucho Gonzalez last weekend. The game itself did not go according to plan as River dropped two points in the title race by drawing 1-1 with Temperley, in which the contender to be fair rested quite a few starters. Nevertheless, both players will be in the squad for the first semifinal leg against Guaraní.


Javier Saviola (left) and Lucho Gonzalez after the weekend’s disappointing 1-1 draw.

The current holder of the Copa Sudamericana and the Recopa will have to be on their toes against the Paraguayans from Guaraní who enter the game on the best run of the club history. After knocking out teams like Corinthians or Racing Club, they want more. Their leader is 36 year old Julio César Cáceres, who previously played for River himself. “It is a very nice moment for me. It is not easy to reach this stage, but I enjoy it a lot”, the centerback says, only to add: “This year we want to break the ice and get further than ever before, by winning the title. I said to the guys that champions will have their place in history forever.”

While their defense will have to do well to have a chance of advancing, they took a big blow by losing Federico Santander this summer after he signed a contract in Copenhagen to play in Europe. With six goals, the 24 year old was their best goalscorer in the tournament so far.

River Plate have got to be the favorite of this semifinal. They have the better quality players than Guaraní in basically every position. But so did Corinthians and Racing. It might be a little close, but still, I will go with River ending the Paraguayan’s fabulous run.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Future looks bright – 2016 Copa Libertadores

Now that the Copa América has finished, the focus in South America (and Mexico) shifts back to club football. Many leagues have finished their season already and others like Argentina or Brazil are in the middle of it. We will take a look forward at who is already qualified for the next, the 2016, edition of the Copa Libertadores.


Trujillanos FC celebrating their first ever national title in Venezuela.

The first of all teams that made it into the group stages is the 2014 Apertura winner of Venezuela: Trujillanos FC. It has been 20 long years since they last made it into the intercontinental competition. In that one and only time they featured they got smacked and finished with one point from six games. Admittedly they were only founded in 1981, so this has to count as moving forward.

Following them is the countries Clausura champion, a more well known club in Deportivo Táchira. As you well know, they were eliminated from this year’s edition’s group stages. Semifinalist Guaraní, Racing Club and Sporting Cristal were one level too strong. It will be the 19th time they enter the group stages, the biggest success a quarter final appearance in 2004.

The third Venezuelan spot is occupied by Caracas FC. They have participated 14 times and will have to go through a qualifying round to reach the groups.


Bolívar after winning the Apertura in 2014. They went on to win the other half of the season as well half a year later.

Bolivia send three teams that could not be much more famous. Club Bolívar had an outstanding year, winning both the Apertura and Clausura title. After missing out on the Copa this season, they will be back next year for the 30th time.

The Strongest will once again join them. The club with the popular tiger in the logo qualified for the fifth straight time. Their best result from 21 seasons of Copa Libertadores remains the round of 16. They will most certainly look to reach more again next year.

Finally, Oriente Petrolero fills the third Bolivian spot and joins the competition early to play qualifiers. Maybe against Caracas?


Cobresal: Back in the Copa Libertadores after 30 years of absence.

The league of new Copa América winner Chile still has two berths to give away. One has been taken and it is a really cool story. After CD Cobresal have won their first ever championship, they will return to the Copa for the first time since 1986. The longest wait any team of next year’s competition had to endure. Back then, they were eliminated in the group stages, but just reaching them again is a huge achievement for the club founded in 1979.


Campeones, campeones: Deportivo Cali celebrating the title.

Colombia has distributed just one spot so far as well and it went to Deportivo Cali. They will feature in the competition for the 20th time and have quite the resume in it. They have reached the final twice, lost in 1978 to Boca Juniors and again in an extremely unlucky fashion in 1999. They had the advantage on penalties but could not bring it across the finish line against Brazilian club Palmeiras. In 2016, they will not count as a favorite, but maybe they can surprise again?


6 time Copa semifinalist Cerro Porteño celebrate their Paraguayan Apertura title.

From Paraguay, Cerro Porteño have reached the prestigious tournament for the 38th time. Their position (1 or 2) is not certain yet, as the Apertura winner has to wait for the Clausura to finish to determine which team got the most points in 2015.


Champions of Uruguay: Club Nacional for the record 45th time.

Fans of traditional football teams will be even happier by who qualified from Uruguay. Three time Copa Libertadores winner Club Nacional ended the season as champions of the smallest South American country (behind Suriname, who do not play in the Copa) for the 45th time. An incredible achievement and after failing to get by Palestino this year, they are qualified for the group stages without any qualifying duties this time around.

The second direct berth is taken by CA Peñarol. They have won the competition even more times (five) and qualify for the 43rd time. Having won the Clausura that just finished a short while ago, they will look to build on that success and go far in the 2016 of the Copa Libertadores.

Finally, River Plate will make its debut in the qualifying round. They were the best team on points that did not yet qualify.


One last time: Cuauhtémoc Blanco lifts the Copa MX into the sky.

Last but not least, to Mexico we go. Puebla FC is the name of the cup winner up in Central America after beating CD Guadalajara 4-2 in the final. This was at the same time the last professional match from Mexican football legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco. They are one of two clubs that will make their debut in the competition.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


The air could not get much more electric. Chileans were chanting along to their national anthem, waving the flag, and if the stadium had a roof, it would have long flown away. The few Argentinians that had gotten a ticket were just as passionate. The recipe for a special final. Who would take it: Chile for the first time ever or Argentina for the 15th, but first time since 1993?

The first half of the big final was pretty even and very entertaining. Argentina had more structure in their game and additionally the best chance. After a Messi freekick from the right, Agüero was able to head the ball on target, just to be denied by Claudio Bravo. Before, Chile had an opportunity, that never went as it could have. Their best man in the first half, Valdivia, was wide open in the penalty area all of a sudden and instead of shooting tried to find a striker in the middle.

La Roja tried to find success predominantly over the right flank, long balls behind the Argentinian back four found Isla more than once. Argentina’s Rojo continued to be a liability at leftback for his team. After all, the hosts could not profit from it. Especially the main figures like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal were too cute too often and gave the ball away easily. That led to counters, but not in the decisive breakthrough for the Albiceleste. Messi was contained well for the most part, di Maria was the player that stood out the most. That soon ended due to an injury after he sprinted down half the pitch and pulled a muscle. The Manchester United player was replaced with Lavezzi, who had the last chance of the first half, firing a shot right onto the keeper’s fists.

Despite many wasted chances, the game was fast, and especially in the opening stages I feared I would miss something if I looked elsewhere for too long.

Chile came back out on fire in the second half, very offensive with good forechecking which made them win back a lot of balls early and in dangerous areas for their opponents. Pretty much exactly what people had paid for. Still huge chances remained non existent, a blocked Vidal shot probably the biggest. The clock already showed 70 minutes and if something would not change soon, we were heading straight to extra time. Strangely enough, Chile coach Sampaoli took his biggest creative element in Valdivia out of the game right after. Nevertheless, La Roja had one of its best pressure periods right after, Alexis Sanchez beat the Argentinian offside trap but his nice volley landed wide. Like in the first half, the guests had the biggest opportunity at the end, Messi with a nice ball to the left brought Lavezzi into play, who crossed it low to the far post, but substitute Higuain could only direct it into the side netting.

What counts remain the goals though and since there weren’t any after 90 minutes, this match needed 30 more. One has to conclude that the game lost quite a bit of its quality from the first half. What always remained was sheer endless effort with a lot of heart from both teams.

The general trend of the second half meanwhile continued: Chile were the slightly better team, without using their advantage to any extent. They simply need too many chances to score a goal which is usually fatal against the big sides. Proven again by Alexis Sanchez who used an awful error by the Argentinian defense only to fire the ball over the crossbar. You guessed it, even 120 minutes were not enough to determine a winner, penalties would decide the Copa América.

Higuain hammered the second Argentinian one into the sky, and Bravo became Chile’s hero when he saved the next one from Banega. Since Chile did not leave any doubts with their own kicks and Alexis Sanchez scored with a Panenka, the hosts finally became Copa América champions for the first time in history!

CJGzTxQUcAA1aPP.jpg large

The moment a whole country has waited for: Alexis Sanchez converts the decisive penalty in style and gives Chile the Copa América crown.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Chile vs Argentina – Copa América final

On Saturday afternoon (evening for us Europeans), a new Copa América champion will be crowned. The hosts Chile will attempt to win their first title against Argentina, who themselves reach for a record 15th win to go level with Uruguay at the top.

Around a game, a lot of hate is surfacing in both countries already. This has many historic reasons dating back as early as the war for independence against the Spanish colonial power. The border between the countries is the third longest in the world, with a total of 5150km. In past times, this led to a lot of conflicts as well, mainly for territorial reasons, even a cold war in the 1970s. Today, there is still a lot of pride and patriotism anchored in the populations.

The football side of the conflict could not be much more different. In the last 40 years, Chile has only won one of 27 games against Argentina. In 2008, during the World Cup qualifiers, La Roja was celebrating a 1-0 victory at the exact same venue that will host the Copa final this Saturday: Santiago.


Fabián Orellana scores the only goal as Chile beat their neighbors 1-0 in 2008.

7 years later, it will be another uphill battle for the Chileans. Argentina slowly but surely got rolling, which ended in a 6-1 win in the semifinal against a pitiful Paraguay. And even though Lionel Messi was kept from scoring in this tournament for the most part, he can not be kept from contributing in other ways, assisting three times in that match.


Leo Messi in the semifinal battle against Paraguay.

But Chile is another - a stronger - opponent than Paraguay. Even though they did not convince a whole lot since the group stages, profiting from early red cards for an opponent in both the quarter- and the semifinal, they will be a force to be reckoned with. When you look at the team’s previous performances, you wonder whether they would not need a bit better usage of goal scoring opportunities. Jorge Valdivia became the silent star behind those that are getting all the media attention, be it Alexis Sanchez or Eduardo Vargas. Because Gonzalo Jara still misses the final thanks to his suspension from the Uruguay game, it will be between Albornoz and Mena to replace him. Both played 45 minutes in the semifinal.

I am expecting Chile to be the team with more possession, especially early on in the game. Their strength is their offense and they will have to use it to their advantage. The big BUT is if they give Argentina too much space to counter, they will pay for it. Messi, Agüero and di Maria will rip them apart. So the recipe will be controlled offense.

Argentina on the other hand know this situation. Only last year they were in the World Cup final, just this time around they are the favorites. But honestly, will that bother a team full of quality players? I do not think so. Expect them to sit back a little and look for holes in the Chilean defense.

Prediction: If Chile get an early goal, it will be their final with all the enthusiasm around the stadium. Else, the experience of Argentina will be decisive. I’ll go with Argentina winning 1-0.

Here are the likely lineups:

Chile: Bravo – Isla, Medel, Albornoz, Rojas – Diaz, Vidal, Aranguiz – Valdivia – Sanchez, Vargas.

Argentina: Romero – Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo – Biglia, Mascherano – Pastore – Messi, Agüero, di Maria.

Referee: Wilmar Roldan from Colombia (14 yellow cards in 2 games).