PREVIEW: ARGENTINA VS CHILE, CAN CHILE REGAIN THEIR FORM, OR WILL ARGENTINA CONTINUE WITH THEIR BLAZING RUN?
As the rollercoaster football season comes to a conclusion, it’s time to switch our attention to international football. With that being said, all eyes will be on El Monumental in Buenos Aires, which will host a classic South American clash between Argentina and Chile in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
When the two nations compete, they have a history of producing some of the greatest international encounters and this clash promises to be no exception. In addition to this encounter, both nations will face each other on 14th June as well to kick off their Copa America campaigns.
Argentina have been superb at the back thus far, conceding only two goals, and will be confident that they can rely on their robust defence in Friday’s showdown. They have scored few goals but have shown a wealth of quality build-ups in triumphs over Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, but a 1-1 draw against Paraguay leaves them in second place behind leaders Brazil.
Their previous performance in qualifying matches implies that they will bring the heat to Copa America. Young talents are contributing to the team’s success, and there is enough experience in the group to keep anxieties at bay. They’d like to keep their hot streak going before heading into the South American tournament.
Chile, on the other hand, has been lacklustre in the World Cup qualifiers and has failed to live up to their reputation. It’s fair to say that La Roja hasn’t been the same since their Copa America triumphs in 2015 and 2016. Chile’s form has been mediocre following their two triumphs. They did not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and finished fourth at the Copa America in 2019.
They have one win, one draw, and two losses in four matches while allowing an average of 1.5 goals per game and are placed 6th in the table. Inconsistent defensive performances, an ageing roster, and a club that is overly reliant on its veteran players have been the tale of their terrible run of form. Chile will like to start fresh and regain their form against Argentina, considering Copa America is just a few days away.
Nicolas Gonzalez is out injured for Argentina and won’t feature in the clash against Chile. Bayer Leverkusen players, Exequiel Palacios and Lucas Alario are long-term injuries for Argentina and will miss this summer’s Copa America as well.
Argentina Probable Lineup: E. Martinez; Montiel; Otamendi; Lisandro Martinez; Tagliafico; Paredes; DePaul; Di Maria; Acuna; Lauturo Martinez; Messi
ℹ️ Bayer 04 will have to do without Exequiel Palacios in the season finale. The 🇦🇷 international suffered a muscle injury in the area of the right adductor during training with the Werkself.
He doesn't need surgery and the recovery time will be around eight weeks.
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) May 14, 2021
Fabian Orellana will miss Chile’s encounter against Argentina due to an injury. Arturo Vidal will also miss the match because of testing positive for COVID 19.
Chile Probable Lineup: Bravo; Isla; Diaz; Maripan; Beausejour; Aranguiz; Baeza; Pulgar; Pinares; Vargas; Sanchez
Chile have confirmed that Arturo Vidal has tested positive for COVID. Chile play Argentina on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier and have the Copa America shortly after. https://t.co/QSR0OXydON
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) June 1, 2021
Argentina’s talisman, as usual, will be Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi has been in outstanding form for Barcelona this season. He has once again lived up to his illustrious reputation, scoring 30 goals in La Liga this season and 38 in total. He’d like to replicate his blistering form of run for his country as well. His magical dribbling and goal-scoring ability will cause the opposition a lot of problems.
🎯 Top scorer
⚽ 30 goals
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 24, 2021
Messi would like to move on after a disappointing season with Barcelona, where they finished third in the Spanish top flight and were knocked out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 by PSG. Messi and co. will want to get off to a good start with Copa America only a handful of days away.
Despite Inter winning the Serie A title, Sanchez has failed to impress this season. However, he is still very much capable of posing a major threat to opposition defenders. While he is no longer the world-class talent he once was, He never misses an opportunity to shine for his country, especially against Argentina, as he was instrumental in his country’s victories over La Albaceleste in consecutive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.
Five years ago today, Alexis' Panenka sealed Chile's first-ever Copa America title after a penalty shootout with Argentina 🏆 pic.twitter.com/hw5mUtVrgu
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 4, 2020
With 43 goals for his nation, the Inter man is the highest scorer in Chile’s history. He is energetic and clever; he scores, connects the midfield with the attack, assists, and works hard off the ball; all of these things have the potential to influence the game in favour of Chile.
With both sides unable to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, a low-scoring encounter might be on the cards. FootTheBall predicts a 1-0 win for Argentina.