Argentina v Chile: La Roja can right some wrongs in third-place game

Chile boss Reinaldo Rueda
Reinaldo Rueda must kickstart a new era for Chile

Jack Lang is expecting Reinaldo Rueda's charges to sign off with a win on Saturday...

"Motivation is unlikely to be lacking on the Chilean side: if this is to be the beginning of the end for a few key players, they will want to bow out on a high note"

Argentina v Chile
Saturday, 20:00
Live on Premier Sports 1

More flux for Albiceleste

Another year, another tournament failure for Argentina, who have now gone over a quarter of a century since their last major title. It's a deeply troubling state of affairs, and one of the reasons for it will likely be underlined after this game: Lionel Scaloni will probably be binned, meaning it's back to the drawing board with yet another coach. There is massive work to be done before the 2020 Copa, which they host alongside Colombia.

There were, in fairness, some green shoots in the semi-final against Brazil, and the game might have gone differently had the referee checked two penalty claims with the VAR. But Argentina should be wary about putting too positive a spin in this summer: they were abject in the group stage, and this is still a side performing several levels below its potential.

Third-place play-off tradition dictates that Scaloni will give some squad players game time here, which is good news for the likes of Paulo Dybala, Ramiro Funes Mori and Roberto Pereyra. But with no fixed way of playing, it's the equivalent of throwing cards up in the air and hoping they land the way you want.

End of the line for Chile

This Copa América always looked like one edition too far for this Chile side. The stars who guided them to back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016 are not getting any younger, meaning the usual high-energy blitzball was not sustainable. They faded after fast starts in most of their games, and the pattern was reproduced across the competition as a whole: two wins to start off, then a gradual tailing-off.

A rebuild process is likely to start in earnest now. It won't be easy - not least because there isn't a surfeit of talent coming through - but you sense that coach Reinaldo Rueda won't be shy on this occasion. He has wanted to renew the side for some time, only for the Chilean press to rally around the old guard. Reaching the final four isn't to be sniffed at, but the likes of Jean Beausejour, Gary Medel, Mauricio Isla, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sánchez can't go on forever. A brave new era awaits.

Roja will be keen to sign off with a win

It is a quirk of history that Chile's final opponents in the 2019 Copa América are the same ones they beat to take the trophy in 2015 and 2016. The stakes are obviously not the same on this occasion, but motivation is unlikely to be lacking on the Chilean side: if this is to be the beginning of the end for a few key players, they will want to bow out on a high note. Throw in the pain of a 3-0 loss to Peru, and we can probably expect a reaction.

Argentina are likely to rotate more, and it's worth remembering that their two wins all tournament came against Qatar and Venezuela. Chile will be a stiffer test and there's no way we'd want to be backing the Albiceleste at odds of 1.9310/11. Third-place games are hard to predict given the low stakes, but at the prices, it's surely worth siding with Chile at 4.67/2.

Vargas hoping to make amends

Eduardo Vargas started this tournament like a house on fire, but endured a frustrating night against Peru. There was the last-minute Panenka penalty that was saved by Pedro Gallese - not a great look given the scoreline - but also a header that came back off the post and a one-on-one spurned. If he gets the same kind of chances here, you'd expect him to do better, so 3.7511/4 is a decent price on him scoring anytime.

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