Chile got their 2015 Copa America off to a strong start as they downed Ecuador 2-0 Thursday night in the nation's capital, Santiago.
Given Chile's football history, it seems somewhat surprising they've never captured a Copa America title. They have four runner-up finishes to their name but never lifted the trophy.
Between the strength of La Roja and the fact that they're playing on home soil, this summer seems like a perfect time for Chile to end its dry spell.
Below, you can see how Chile's victory affected the group table and the full list of fixtures for the remainder of the group stage.
Group Stage Fixtures
|Fri., June 12|
|7:30 p.m.||A||Mexico||Bolivia||Vina del Mar|
|Sat., June 13|
|5:30 p.m.||B||Argentina||Paraguay||La Serena|
|Sun., June 14|
|Mon., June 15|
|Tues., June 16|
|7:30 p.m.||B||Argentina||Uruguay||La Serena|
|Wed., June 17|
|Thurs., June 18|
|Fri., June 19|
|Sat., June 20|
|3 p.m.||B||Uruguay||Paraguay||La Serena|
|5:30 p.m.||B||Argentina||Jamaica||Vina del Mar|
|Sun., June 21|
Arturo Vidal put the hosts ahead with a penalty in the 67th minute, and Eduardo Vargas put the game out of reach with Chile's second goal in the 84th minute.
All in all, it wasn't a standout performance from Chile, with their players looking a little nervous in front of a raucous home crowd. Ed Malyon of the Daily Mirror thinks the Chileans will be better with their first Copa America match out of the way:
While Chile were the better side to start the match, Miller Bolanos' foul on Vidal in the 65th minute was a bit of a lifeline. The Juventus midfielder made the most of the foul, falling comically to the turf. Both Soccer Morning's Jason Davis and Goal's Ives Galarcep argued that Vidal's histrionics didn't change the fact that it was a clear penalty:
Vargas doubled Chile's lead 17 minutes later after getting on the end of a nice pass from Alexis Sanchez. The Napoli winger calmly side-footed his shot into the bottom right corner.
The difference between the two teams was clear in the final statistics. Chile had 66.4 percent possession and four shots on target. Ecuador could only muster a solitary shot on goal.
Although Chile supporters have plenty of reasons to be happy with their team's performance, a few things will be worth monitoring going forward.
Matias Fernandez will be suspended for Chile's next game after picking up a red card in the third minute of stoppage time. Since he was only used as a substitute Thursday night, his absence might not be a big blow to Chile's chances against Mexico.
In addition, Vidal might have carried a slight knock into the Ecuador match, per football writer Juan Arango:
Vidal is one of the tone-setters in the Chile starting lineup. If he's not 100 percent at any point in the tournament, then that could be bad news.
Since three teams can advance out of the group to the knockout stages, Chile is still in a great position to make it to the quarterfinals. Looking at Mexico's pretty slow back line, the hosts could feast offensively in their next match.
Meanwhile, Ecuador will get Bolivia in their next fixture, which is a great time for them to get their first win.