Copa America 2015: Chile and Bolivia to Square Off in Group A Matchup
It doesn't get much bigger than this. Chile and Bolivia will square off with first place on the line Friday night. The two teams are currently tied. This game will be the biggest one of the tournament so far. Only one team can win this group, and we'll find out Friday night.
Let's break down the game and predict who will win.
It was an extremely scary week for Chilean soccer fans.
Arturo Vidal is the leading scorer of this Copa America tournament with three goals, but he crashed his Ferrari earlier in the week. Fortunately, he suffered no major injuries, and head coach Jorge Sampaoli has confirmed that he will play against Bolivia.
Chile is the No. 19 ranked team in the world, which is the best in Group A. Chile defeated Ecuador in their first game, 2-0, but couldn't get all three points against Mexico in Game 2. Many soccer fans thought Chile would roll over Mexico considering Mexico isn't at full strength, but that simply wasn't the case as star goalkeeper Claudio Bravo allowed three goals. Arturo Vidal score two goals against Mexico with Eduardo Vargas adding another.
Chile is currently in first place in the Group with one win and one draw, giving them four points. They have the tie-breaker over Bolivia because they have a higher goal differential. If Chile and Bolivia tie in this game, Chile will automatically win Group A.
As the host nation, Chile is under immense pressure to win this one. Losing to Bolivia would be a devastating defeat. Jean Beausejour has to take command of the defense, and Alexis Sánchez needs to find the net.
Every Copa America has its "Cinderella team," and it looks like Bolivia could be that team this year.
Bolivia is the highest-ranked team in this entire tournament, but they are presently tied with Chile for first place in the group. Bolivia has one win and one draw, giving them four points.
For Bolivia to win Group A, they would have to beat Chile by at least two goals.
Bolivia first tied with Mexico earning a point, and in their last game they stunned Ecuador, 3-2. Team captain Ronald Raldes scored the opening goal in that game. Marcelo Martins Moreno, who scored on a penalty kick against Ecuador, is the most skilled offensive player for Bolivia. He should draw constant double teams against Chile. Romel Quiñónez will get the start in net for Bolivia.
Bolivia's most successful Copa America came in 1963 when they defeated Paraguay in the finals. They were the host nation that year.
Schedule, Where to Watch
Chile and Bolivia will play each other on Friday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. EST. That's 8:30 p.m. Chile time. The game will be played at the Estadio Nacional Stadium in Santiago, Chile. The game will be shown on the beIN sports network. You can watch a live game stream here.
No more excuses for Chile. They're the host, they have the superior squad, and they have arguably the best goalie in the world. It's time to prove the doubters wrong, win this game, and secure a spot in the knockout round where they will probably see Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Sanchez finally breaks though in this one.
Chile wins 3-2
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