Chile (-125) vs Uruguay (+425), Draw (+270)
Few teams have looked as good as Chile in the 2015 Copa America. The hosts went 2-1-0 in the group stage, averaging over three goals per game while posting two clean sheets. Yet, their reward is a quarterfinal meeting against Uruguay – one of the pre-tournament favorites and the team that has eliminated Chile in three of the last four tournaments. Chile will look to buck that trend this Wednesday, June 24 (7:30 PM Eastern) when the teams meet at National Stadium for a place in the semifinals .
Chile beat Ecuador (2-0) and Bolivia (5-0) and drew Mexico (3-3) to earn seven of nine possible points during round robin play and finish atop Group A. For manager Jorge Sampaoli, the key for the team in the knockout phase is to keep playing the attacking style that has brought it this far.
“Chile will not change its style for the quarterfinals. Playing like this is the only way to beat the big teams we will meet from here on. We will now get ready for our next opponent. We scored a lot of goals against Mexico and did the same today. But we have to keep an eye on the balance of the team”, Sampaoli said according to Goal.com.
Uruguay, on the other hand, had a very disappointing group stage, needing to rely on one of the two spots reserved for third-place finishers to advance to the knockout stage. The Charruas managed a win over Jamaica (1-0), but lost to Argentina (1-0) and only claimed a single point against Paraguay (1-1). The absence of striker Luis Suarez – who is suspended from the tournament for his World Cup chomp on Giorgio Chiellini – has been palpable, as Uruguay has managed just two goals through three matches.
Manager Oscar Tabarez hasn’t been thrilled with his team’s performance to date, but recognized that the knockout phase creates a blank slate.
“I don’t know if the performance in making the knockout stages has been good,” Tabarez said to goal.com. “[But] I am comforted that we are through despite the criticism directed at the team.”
The defending champs have one trend on their side, having eliminated Chile in 1999, 2007, and 2011, and – between Edinson Cavani, Diego Rolan, and Maxi Pereira – Uruguay have the manpower to hang with the hosts on any day. That said, Chile hasn’t lost to Uruguay at home since 2001, going 2-2-0 in the last four in Santiago. Given that Chile are on home soil again and playing more complete, more motivated soccer, expect the hosts to advance to the semis on Wednesday.
Pick: Chile (-125).
(Photo credit: Fanny Schertzer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)