Copa America 2015: Wednesday's Day 14 Takeaways

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2015

AP Images

The Copa America has reached the quarter-final stage, and hosts Chile and holders Uruguay got the action underway in Santiago on Wednesday.

Form in the group stage suggested it would be Chile’s attack versus Uruguay’s defence, and that was how it played out.

Uruguay put up a spirited defence, but a goal from Mauricio Isla lifted Chile into the semi-finals.

After a game of few goals but plenty of excitement, let's look at some of the key points.

1. Arturo Vidal is not fazed by off-field issues

Vidal has had a mixed time at the Copa. He’s been in sizzling form on it, with three goals in the group stages, but has had trouble off it, with an appearance before a judge after crashing his car while under the influence of alcohol.

His continued participation in the tournament has been a source of controversy, but he retained the faith of Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli.

He did not add to his three goals in the win over Uruguay, but he was everywhere on the pitch—putting in saving tackles, instigating attacks and firing in shots.

Chile have a host of attacking options, and Vidal is a key component.

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Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

2. Jorge Valdivia is a playmaker in the true sense of the word

A year ago, Jorge Valdivia was on the outside looking in as far as the Chile national team was concerned.

He had lost the faith of Coach Sampaoli but was given a second chance ahead of the Copa America, and he has justified the decision to recall him.

Valdivia simply glides through games, and at times, it appears as if he has eyes in the back of his head, as he spots gaps that do not appear to be there.

Early in the game, Valdivia made a complete mug of Jorge Fucile with a superb turn, and it was just one of a number of magical moments.

Number 10's still exist. Valdivia reminds me of that magician called Pablo Aimar. https://t.co/xChN2eD2mD #Chile2015

— Dominic Vieira (@dominicvieira) June 25, 2015

Valdivia is being linked with a move from Palmeiras to the Arabian Gulf League, per the National’s Amith Passela, but he would be a wonderful addition to the European game.

3. Edinson Cavani’s awful Copa ends on a low note

It hasn't been a good tournament for Edinson Cavani, who looked impotent in attack and also had to deal with an incident involving his father at home in Uruguay.

There was doubt as to whether he would play in the quarter-final. He probably now wishes he hadn’t, as he did nothing in attack and was sent off just past the hour mark for a second yellow card.

His first caution was for haranguing a referee’s assistant, and the second was for brushing his hand the way of Gonzalo Jara’s face.

No, Edinson, touching other players’ faces is never a good idea. Even if it’s not particularly violent. #chile2015 http://t.co/nDx0nOJYx0

— Howler Magazine (@whatahowler) June 25, 2015

Cavani was distraught after picking up the caution and had to be escorted off the field by his team-mates.

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

4. Uruguay toothless without Luis Suarez

Rather than showcasing his skills in Chile, Luis Suarez is on his holidays due to the suspension he picked up for taking a nibble of Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

Increíble las vacaciones amores de mi alma!!!!!! Muchas gracias a SHIFAZ, un grande!!!! pic.twitter.com/jXxeAur0xj

— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) June 19, 2015

After serving his domestic suspension, Suarez returned at peak form and played a huge part in Barcelona’s league, cup and Champions League successes.

It’s fair to say Uruguay have missed their star centre-forward. Throughout the tournament, they lacked sharpness in attack and only limped into the knockout stages, where they were well beaten by Chile.

Suarez's return to international football cannot come soon enough as far as Uruguay are concerned.

5. Chile will be tough to stop

Argentina may be many people's favourite to lift the title, but Chile will be tough to crack.

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Sampaoli has a plethora of attacking options at his disposal, headed by Alexis Sanchez, but they are also well-drilled in defence.

Added to that, they have the fervent support of a nation. While Argentina can boast Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Co., they will not find it easy against a side with talent and belief.