Copa America 2015 Team Guide: Chile

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2015

Copa America 2015 Team Guide: Chile

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    The 2015 Copa America gets under way in Chile on June 11 and runs until the final on July 4 with 12 teams taking part: the 10 member teams of CONMEBOL and two invited participants from CONCACAF, Jamaica and Mexico.

    Last time, the competition was won by Uruguay in 2011, but plenty of sides will be looking to steal their crown this time around.

    We’re counting down to the Copa all week by taking an in-depth look at the key names and events for each squad, beginning naturally enough with the hosts, Chile.

Squad

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Jorge Sampaoli named his final squad for the 2015 Copa America on Monday, per FourFourTwo, with no real surprises after the likes of Mark Gonzalez, Rodrigo Millar and Fernando Meneses were all cut from the original 30-man list.

    Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Barcelona), Paulo Garces (Colo-Colo), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile)

    Defenders: Miiko Albornoz (Hannover), Mauricio Isla (QPR), Gonzalo Jara (Mainz), Gary Medel (Inter), Eugenio Mena (Cruzeiro), Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile)

    Midfielders: Charles Aranguiz (Internacional), Jean Beausejour (Colo-Colo), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Marcelo Diaz (Hamburg), Matias Fernandez (Fiorentina), Felipe Gutierrez (Twente), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), David Pizarro (Fiorentina), Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras)

    Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Eduardo Vargas (QPR), Angelo Henriquez (Dinamo Zagreb), Mauricio Pinilla (Atalanta), Edson Puch (Huracan)

Manager Profile

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    SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 23:  Head coach Jorge Sampaoli of Chile looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between the Netherlands and Chile at Arena de Sao Paulo on June 23, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty I
    Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

    As for Sampaoli himself, the bald Argentinian won many admirers last summer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, so there won’t be too many surprises with his approach, his demeanour or his selections.

    Favouring an intense style of play which mirrors the emotion of the fans and that of his players on the pitch, the Chile boss can switch things quickly from a three-back system, crowding the midfield and looking to play forward at pace, to a flat back four against lesser threats.

    The Bielsista has brought renewed hope that Chile can compete for the title this time around, and there's little doubt his side will be exciting to watch throughout. Chile should have no trouble reaching the quarter-finals under a manager who plans and organises so well.

Star Man

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    BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 28:  Alexis Sanchez of Chile controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Brazil and Chile at Estadio Mineirao on June 28, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Image
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    It’s a toss-up between two, but we’re opting for Alexis Sanchez over Arturo Vidal, thanks to the Arsenal forward’s stellar end to the current season and the fact that Chile will look to him for the goals needed to fire them through the Copa.

    Pacy and determined with tremendous skill and the capacity to shoot from any range or angle, Alexis ended up with 24 goals in all competitions in his debut campaign in England, including one in the FA Cup final. Alexis' mentality, just as much as his ability on the ball, typifies how Chile will approach their games.

    He is their best outlet when countering against stronger teams, the man who can make a big difference in tight fixtures and the top scorer in the current Chile squad.

One to Watch

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    Given the hopes Chile have to go far in the competition and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their team, a lot of pressure is going to fall on goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to have a big tournament.

    The in-form Barcelona stopper just won La Liga in his debut season with the Catalan club—his side as a whole are aiming for a treble—and his strengths as a stopper are wide-ranging and well-known: tremendous reflexes and shot-stopping ability, the ability to work within the entire penalty area and impressive consistency in his all-round performance.

    Chile will face strong attacking sides once they get past the groups, so Bravo will need to perform at his best throughout the month for La Roja to go all the way.

Tournament Record

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Chile have never won the Copa America, though they have reached the final on four occasions. Their last semi-final appearance came in 1991.

    Top Results

    Winners: 0
    Runners-up: 4
    Top 4: 15

    Most Recent Finishes

    2011: Quarter-finals
    2007: Quarter-finals
    2004: First round
    2001: Quarter-finals
    1999: Fourth place

Fixtures

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Chile are in Group A alongside Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia.


    11 June, 8:30 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Nacional, Santiago
    Chile vs. Ecuador

    15 June, 8:30 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Nacional, Santiago
    Chile vs. Mexico

    19 June, 8:30 p.m. (CLT)—Estadio Nacional, Santiago
    Chile vs. Bolivia

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