Germany v Chile
Thursday 22 June, 19:00
Live on ITV 4
This is arguably the most mouthwatering prospect of the group stage, with the world champions taking on a team that has twice been crowned as South American champions in quick succession.
Germany played well in patches in their 3-2 win over Australia, but they gave away two awful goals (keeper Bernd Leno should've done far better in both instances), and at the other end of the pitch they lacked their usual ruthlessness. Coach Jogi Loew admits his team has plenty of work to do to improve, but he seems to be relishing the opportunity to face a Chile side that has become a winning machine.
Chile are full of confidence after winning the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, and while coach Juan Antonio Pizzi's style doesn't always inspire the same oohs and aahs as his predecessor Jorge Sampaoli, he helped the country retain their continental crown. There is quality throughout the team, and Bundesliga-based midfielders Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz provide power and grit in midfield (Aranguiz has been far better for Chile than he has for Bayer Leverkusen), with former Hamburg player Marcelo Diaz setting the tempo.
In attack Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez is expected to start (he came on as sub and set up the opening goal in the 2-0 win against Cameroon), while Eduardo Vargas continues to be a mystery. The striker was largely hopeless for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, but he comes alive when he pulls on the red shirt for his country. He netted the first goal of the opening win over Cameroon, and his record in tournaments is very strong - he has finished as top scorer in each of Chile's Copa America successes.
These are two very good sides, and the Match Odds market is split fairly evenly. I believe Chile are more of a cohesive unit than Germany at present, as Loew has left many of his trusted performers behind for this tournament. Chile have developed a fearsome tournament record, and I fancy them here against relatively inexperienced opponents.
Back Chile Draw No Bet at [1.95]
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