Chile and Argentina set for Copa America final the neutrals wanted
Hosts Chile and pre-tournament favourites Argentina face-off in the final of the Copa America in Santiago on Saturday night in a clash many neutrals licked their lips at before a ball had even been kicked in South America.
The pair are arguably the most entertaining on the continent on current form, aided by Brazil’s demise. With Chile enjoying home advantage and Argentina the best squad in the tournament on paper, a humdinger of a match awaits to close the curtain on this year’s tournament.
That talent-packed squad, including arguably the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, ensures Gerardo Martino’s men are favourites to lift the trophy and end a 22-year wait to win the tournament at 21/20. Messi, along with Manchester United man Angel di Maria have both spoken of their huge desire to win silverware with a nation that has often underachieved.
La Roja’s wait has been longer – they have never won the competition. The atmosphere will be at fever pitch inside the Estadio Nacional as Chile’s golden generation look to make use of home advantage to lift the trophy. Odds of 12/5 are being offered for Chile to pour more woe on Argentina after their World Cup final defeat a year ago.
Expectations are high for an entertaining contest and goals should be the order of the day. Argentina reached their attacking potential with a 6-1 demolition of Paraguay in the semi-finals, with Messi calling the tune but not getting on the scoresheet, while Chile have also been freescoring throughout the tournament, highlighted by a 5-0 win against Bolivia.
For both teams to score odds of 4/5 are offered and they look good going on the previous performances of both teams this summer.
Eduardo Vargas will be Chile’s best bet to open the scoring at 13/2. The Napoli man already has four goals to his name and will look to finish as the tournament’s top-scorer en route to helping to side to an historic victory.
Alexis Sanchez may have shone for Arsenal last season but he has so far failed to light up the Copa America. Niggling injuries have been reported but the former Barcelona man will want to up his gear for the final. He is also 13/2 to score first.
Messi has produced the magic for La Albiceleste and he will happily take the role of conductor if it helps his side to victory. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is Argentina’s top-scorer with three goals so far and is 9/2 to open the scoring.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli will be without Gonzalo Jara after the player was hit with a three-match ban for an altercation with Edinson Cavani in the quarter-finals, while Argentina will have a fully-fit squad to choose from.