Hosts Chile can progress to the final of the 2015 Copa America but will have their work cut out for them against an impressive Peru side in their semi-final in Santiago (Tuesday, 00:30 BST, live on Premier Sports).
Chile have thus far progressed undefeated through the competition. They beat Ecuador and Bolivia and drew with Mexico to top Group A with seven points, before overcoming Uruguay 1-0 in a tightly contested and ultimately fractious quarter-final on Wednesday.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side dominated possession and territory at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, but despite some excellent movement and link-play down their right-hand side, they were unable to craft regular chances in light of a typically strong defensive showing from the Uruguayans. It was not until the 81st minute that they finally got their breakthrough.
Jorge Valdivia (pictured) and Mauricio Isla had regularly combined to good effect throughout the match and did so again on the goal. Valdivia picked up a clearance on the edge of the area and calmly shifted the ball to Isla to fire home low into the corner. Uruguay had by that point already had Edinson Cavani sent off and Jorge Fucile joined him before the final whistle.
Chile are an attacking side, with Sampaoli an admitted acolyte of former national team coach Marcelo Bielsa. Valdivia conducts, with Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz shuttling back and forth either side, while Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas stretch defences with their movement ahead. They have, though, also kept three clean sheets in four matches.
Sampaoli could be without defender Gonzalo Jara for the semi-final. CONMEBOL are still to rule on his inappropriately placed finger that provoked Cavani into the reaction that led to the Uruguayan striker’s second yellow card on Wednesday. The Argentinian coach does, however, otherwise look to have a full squad to pick from.
Peru have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the Copa America. They progressed in second place from Group C, following defeat to Brazil, victory over Venezuela and a draw with Colombia, and then dispatched Bolivia 3-1 to make it through to the final four.
Ricardo Gareca’s side took the initiative from the opening whistle in Temuco and soon found themselves two goals to the good following a couple of accomplished finishes from Paolo Guerrero at the end of well-constructed moves. The striker completed his hat-trick after the break and while Bolivia did pull one back from the penalty spot, Peru were deserved victors.
Gareca only took over as national team coach in February and had just two friendlies to prepare his side for the Copa America. In light of that, Peru’s performances in Chile have been nothing short of remarkable. Gareca’s fingerprints are already all over a side who are confident and incisive in possession but also hard-working and well-organised in defence.
European-based players like Guerrero, Carlos Zambrano, Jefferson Farfan and Juan Vargas have all performed well, but Gareca has also drawn excellent displays from a number of domestic-based players. Christian Cueva has been one of the tournament’s outstanding attacking midfielders, while Carlos Ascues, Joel Sanchez and Pedro Gallese have also impressed.
Gareca will welcome back central midfielders Carlos Lobaton and Josepmir Ballon for the semi-final after both missed the win over Bolivia through suspension. Sanchez was also absent from that match due to fatigue but is likely to be in contention to start this match.
Chile vs Peru Preview’s Betting Tips Verdict
Chile were comfortable 3-0 victors when these sides faced off in a friendly in Valparaiso last October and have a dominant recent record against Peru, with nine wins in the last 10 meetings. Chile also have the slightly superior record in Copa America encounters, with seven wins to Peru’s six. Peru have only ever won twice on Chilean soil.
Chile have never won a major international tournament and see this as their best chance yet of doing so. They have a number of players who are key performers for major European clubs and utilise a system and style of play that is ideally suited to the attributes of the squad. They held up well under the pressure of defeating a durable rival in the quarter-finals.
Peru’s confidence in their own ability seems to have increased game-by-game. Bolivia were pretty poor but it was nevertheless an accomplished and impressive performance that saw Peru through to the final four. They have been very well-balanced so far but are likely to find the Chilean attack more difficult to keep at bay than that of their previous opponents.
We expect this to be a competitive match between two neighbouring countries with a fractious history, but one from which Chile should be capable of emerging victorious.
- Back Chile -1 on the Asian Handicap @ 17/20 with Bet365 or the similar price of 6/7 with BetVictor. Your stake is returned if they win by a single goal, while the bet pays out if they win by a margin of two or more
- Eduardo Vargas scored in each of Chile’s first two matches of the tournament. He also netted twice in their 3-0 friendly victory over Peru last October and once in their 4-2 World Cup qualifying win over these opponents in Santiago in 2011. Back Eduardo Vargas to score at anytime @ best odds of 17/10 with Betfair Sportsbook.