Copa America Appetizers. Chile: The defending champions.
June 1, 2016
After more than 100 years of frustration, La Roja finally won a major tournament, last year's edition of La Copa América, at home, on penalty kicks against Argentina. Chile has achived its best FIFA Ranking ever at 3rd place.
The highly coveted national team coach Jorge Sampaoli resigned from his job in a complicated twist of events and was replaced by Juan Antonio Pizzi a fellow Argentinean who played for Spain in World Cup in France 98.
The team has switched from the vertical, full pressing style of Sampaoli to a more possession-oriented style of play, and the main change was replacing playmaker Jorge Valdivia who was positioned as a False 9, with center forward Mauricio Pinilla.
Midfielder and big warrior Arturo Vidal, who moved from Juventus to Bayern Munchen is the team's key player. Forward Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal, central defender Gary Medel from Inter, midfielders Mario Díaz from Celta Vigo and Charles Aranguiz from Leverkusen are the backbone of the squad.
Forward Eduardo Vargas at only 26 years of age has already played for 7 teams in his career with sporadic success (262 games - 69 goals) but has blossomed in the national team under Sampaoli, (52 games - 25 goals).
The predicted lineup is almost the same as it was one year ago: Claudio Bravo; Gonzalo Jara, Gary Medel, Jean Beausejour; Mauricio Isla, Arturo Vidal, Marcelo Díaz, Charles Aranguiz; Eduardo Vargas, Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sánchez. The most notable omission is Jorge Valdivia (Mauricio Pinilla). At left back, Beausejour is a journeyman that has been playing more defensive positions as his career winds up.