Chile v Peru: Third successive Copa América final beckons for La Roja

Alexis Sánchez of Chile
Alexis Sánchez has been in sparky form for Chile
  • vs

Jack Lang thinks Reinaldo Rueda's charges have the tournament savvy to progress in Porto Alegre...

"They have more potential matchwinners in their side, but also more experience in this kind of game. Peru were semi-finalists in 2011 and 2015 but there hasn't quite been the same level of continuity"

Chile v Peru
Thursday, 01:30
Live on Premier Sports 1

Roja raging against the dying of the light

We suggested, in our antepost tournament preview, that Chile might be the big name most likely for a big fall. Their stars were ageing, there was a dearth of top-rate talent coming through, and coach Reinaldo Rueda was already fending off critics after some wobbly results and performances in friendlies over the last year. It did not look like a recipe for success.

This side has a habit of proving people wrong, however, and La Roja are now on the brink of reaching a third successive Copa América final. That in itself would be a colossal achievement given the size of the country and their relatively modest list of achievements before this decade, but now they are in the semi-finals - and their opponents aren't quite as tough as they may have expected - it would now be regarded as a disappointment were they not fighting it out for another Copa title next Sunday.

Rueda's few tweaks have paid off well this summer: Erick Pulgar has lent height and energy to the midfield, and Guillermo Maripán has done well at the back. But it's still essentially the same side that made history in 2015 and 2016, with much riding on Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez, Charles Aránguiz, Mauricio Isla and Gary Medel. They might not quite have the stamina to press for 90 minutes as they once did, but you cannot argue with their big-tournament nous.

Can Peru grind their way to the final?

If Paraguay were the team luckiest to be in the quarter-finals (after two draws and a defeat in the group stage), it's now fair to say that Peru have taken on the mantle in the final four. La Blanquirroja have won just one game en route to this stage, and that came against Bolivia, one of the worst teams in the tournament. That was also the only game they scored in: two goalless draws and a 5-0 capitulation to Brazil complete their portfolio.

Harsh? Perhaps. There is no obligation to play flowing football, and it was surely prudent to be cautious against Uruguay in the quarter-final. That went down as a sizeable upset, too, which isn't to be sniffed at. But it's hard not to feel Ricardo Gareca's side have abandoned the approach that made them so thrilling to watch in the lead-up to the 2018 World Cup - and, indeed, in Russia.

It would help if their big-ticket attackers started to click. Christian Cueva is about as reliable as a speedboat made out of cake, and has yet to produce much, while Paolo Guerrero is starting to look his age. With Jefferson Farfán already at home due to injury, someone else might need to step up if they are to make their the Copa final for the third time in their history.

Chile have the required nous

Chile are rated as 1.9720/21 favourites to win this in 90 minutes, which seems fair enough. They have more potential matchwinners in their side, but also more experience in this kind of game. Peru were semi-finalists in 2011 and 2015 but there hasn't quite been the same level of continuity; Guerrero, Yoshimar Yotún and others have been around the block, but they aren't quite battle-hardened knockout warriors like Vidal, Medel and so on.

If you want to boost the price, consider adding in under 2.5 goals. Peru have blanked in three of their four games, and Chile have now gone 219 minutes since their last goal (Sánchez against Ecuador). The price for the double is 3.3512/5 using the Same Game Multi tool on the Sportsbook.

Alexis the dangerman

With a low-scoring game probably in store, the goalscorer market is for the brave of heart, but Alexis Sánchez is probably the one to watch for Chile. He has shaken off the dust with some eye-catching performances this summer, and is nothing if not a big-game player when he pulls on his country's scarlet jersey. He is 3.259/4 to get on the scoresheet here.

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles