After witnessing an entertaining round of group stage fixtures of the Copa America, we are entering the knockout phase of this astonishing tournament. So far the tournament has given us much to cheer for and as of now, 8 of the 10 teams are now left to compete in the quarterfinals. And we are kick-starting the knockouts with an exciting fixture between two of the best sides in Copa America. Reigning South American champions Brazil are squaring off against 2016 Copa winners Chile tonight at the iconic Maracana stadium. Brazil, the favorites to win this tournament this year, would be looking to progress to the semifinals by beating their bitter rivals. They want to bring something for the fans to cherish for winning the championship consecutively.
On the other hand, Chile has not been impressive lately, but they do possess the quality and potential needed to beat any team at this stage. They would want to live up to the expectations of their fans and try their best to advance to the semifinals. An exciting clash is up on the cards, stay tuned in to see who emerges as the eventual winners!!
Why to watch out for
There’s certainly no reason in the world that might keep you out from watching this engrossing fixture in the quarter-finals of the Copa. There is a lot to play for by both the teams in this battle to reclaim the crown of South American champions. Brazil will be eagerly waiting for their 10th Copa trophy and there is nothing better than winning it at home. They have an excellent squad depth with an exemplary blend of youth and experience in it. And on top of that, everyone is performing up to their potential in the team. One example in support of this is reserve players like Lucas Paqueta coming off the bench and delivering match-winning performances. That’s why this Brazil team is one to be feared for across South America.
Chile, on the opposite side, is trying to be in their best touch and far from impressive till now. They need to pull off something above their ranks in order to stand any chance of winning the contest. Many of their star players are missing the Copas but they have some promising players who can play good football too. Chile will definitely bank on performances from the senior players in the squad in pursuit of a good result in the quarterfinals. The clash of the former champions in the knockout stages spices it up even more for the fans. Don’t miss even a single minute of action, be ready to witness an enthralling clash. The match is scheduled to start at 05:00 IST or 23:30 GMT.
Brazil is coming onto play this high voltage fixture after playing out a lackluster draw against lowly placed Ecuador. That was a disappointing show from the reigning champions who have won three matches on the trot previously. Brazil coach Tite almost rotated his full squad giving all his first-team players a much-needed rest. A second-string squad started against Ecuador which took the lead first thanks to a glancing goal from Eder Militao. But they squandered their lead and Ecuador equalized just after the halftime break through Angel Mena.
Brazil kept almost 62% of the possession but could take only 6 shots at the opposition goal. No wonder brazil lacked the creativity of Jesus, Neymar, and Richarlison in the final third. But all are expected to make a return Vs Chile and they will make things difficult for the Chileans surely. In the first three matches, they registered convincing wins against top teams. So they will be looking to play again their top-class game when they face Chile at their own Maracana. Expect a good performance from this side against their bitter rivals.
Chile is facing Brazil in the knockouts after suffering a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Paraguay last week. They were blown away by the attacking intent of their opposition who just chipped in with two decisive goals. Paraguay won the match courtesy of a sublime brace from Newcastle striker Miguel Almiron on either side of the break. Chile was though dominant in the match with 68% of the possession but could only register a single shot on target.
Definitely this side lacks the ability to score goals up front and that’s the area they need to improve. Paraguay even shot 7 times at the goal with 3 being on target. Not having a class striker is truly affecting the performance of the team. But they have to cope with the limited resources available and make sure they can pose an attacking threat. Coach Lasarte needs to sort out all the problems ahead of this decider clash against Brazil. Let’s see if they can pull off a surprise and shock the home side in the quarterfinals.
The Selecaos don’t have any injury in the squad to ponder about. Tite will have a full-fit squad to choose from in the game against Chile. Previously, Brazil went a bunch of rotations in their match against Ecuador and all of the first-team players are set to return now including Neymar, Casemiro, Fred, and Marquinhos.
The La Rojas isn’t having any major injury concern in the team presently. They only remain without center-back Guillermo Maripan, who has been one of the standout performers at the tournament for his nation. He missed the defeat to Paraguay on account of injury but his return can’t be ruled out. Chile is also without their star striker Alexis Sanchez who suffered an injury just before the start of the tournament. Other than these two, there are no injuries in the team.
Head to Head
South America’s two finest teams have met 72 times on the international stage till now. The Selecaos have a clear upper hand in the faceoff, emerging victorious 51 times. Their counterparts have won only 13 times while the other eight fixtures ended in a stalemate. In the last five meetings with Chile, Brazil has won four times with the only defeat coming in 2015.
Players to watch out for
When a superstar like Neymar is in the team, you ought to deserve the favorites tag besides your name. This man has the ability to play a decisive role for his team when it comes to big matches. The Paris Saint Germain talisman had been in excellent form at the club level showing impressive performances in UCL knockouts. He provides excellent creativity to the forward line as well as scoring goals himself. In the recently concluded season, he has scored a whopping 17 goals and 7 assists from only 26 stars. He has also bagged 2 goals and 2 assists in three matches till now in the Copas. Neymar would hope to continue his same red-hot form in the knockouts also and help his team advance to the semifinals.
The Madrid man has been in exceptional form this season for the Los Blancos and was one of the standout performers for them in the latter half of the season. He has turned out to be the indispensable man for both Madrid and Brazil in defense. Militao and Marquinhos have truly formed a deadly partnership at the heart of the Brazil defense. He is good in aerial duels, can do great tackles as well as in building attacks when it matters the most. He also had a goal against Ecuador in the previous match. The Madrid starlet will be instrumental for Brazil in defense in the knockouts in keeping their back rigid.
The Atletico Mineiro forward has done a pretty decent job at the Copas this year. He had to fill in the boots of star striker Alexis Sanchez and he did it exceedingly well. He has notched up two goals in Chilean colors for his team till now in the tournament. Vargas is an outright box-to-box striker and the epithet of “fox in the box” suits him well. He has a serious intent of scoring goals for his side when it matters the most. The onus will once again be on him against Brazil to provide them with the much-needed goals upfront. Lasarte would hope that his main man delivers a solid performance today.
The veteran custodian is one of the most important players in this Chilean team right now. He doesn’t seem to become a sloth with his increasing age but seems to be as lively as before. Bravo’s biggest positive side is that he has awesome reflexes which enable him to stop close-range shots too. He has made some eye-catching saves in this tournament so far also and has kept Chile in the hunt. The last line of defense for Chile, Bravo, will have a big task on his hands now to stop the free-scoring Brazil attack boasting of stars like Neymar, Firmino, Vinicius and many others. Lasarte hopes that his trusted man proves his efficiency once between the two sticks for them.
As seen from all sides, this fixture is going to be enticing and enthralling in all respects. Brazil will go all out to win this year’s tournament at home certainly. They must be hoping to bring smiles to the faces of every Brazilian in these unprecedented times by winning the trophy. Chile, also, would be expecting to do something modest in the tournament and bring glory back to their country. They have something to prove and for this, they need to fare well in the contest. We are geared up for an enticing clash tonight to witness at the Maracana. Expect a fierce encounter to take place between the two sides.
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