Colombia faces big Copa America obstacle in Chile
Sao Paulo | IANS: Colombia and Chile will face-off later this week here with a spot in the Copa America semi-finals on the line.
Chile, the defending champion, will try to hand the high-flying Colombian squad, which cruised through the group phase, a loss on Friday, reported Efe news.
The Colombia-Chile match is one of the most attractive match-ups in the tournament's quarterfinals because both teams have made football fans in Brazil pay attention.
Colombia went 3-0 in the group phase, scoring four goals and not allowing any goals, a performance that only Brazil came close to matching.
Host Brazil scored more goals, but the team played to a tie with Venezuela.
Chile, however, is not just another rival for Colombia, especially in the Copa America. On the four occasions that the teams have clashed in the tournament's knockout phase, Chile triumphed over Colombia.
The Copa America has become a showcase tournament for Chile, which won the last two editions in 2015 and 2016, and the squad appears confident of getting past Colombia and winning three straight crowns, a feat that only Argentina has managed to pull off.
Chile has not been flashy on its run through the tournament, but it has played effectively, sticking to the game plan drawn up by coach Reinaldo Rueda, who is Colombian.
Chile had several substitutes on the field against Uruguay and the team appeared to be just slightly off its usual level of play.
The situation will be different on Friday when Colombia and Chile are expected to take the field at Arena Corinthians with their best players in the lineup.
Goalkeeper David Ospina, who missed the match against Paraguay due to a family emergency back home in Medellin, will be back in the lineup for Colombia.
The Colombian national team's coach, Portugal's Carlos Queiroz, plans to start James Rodriguez and Duvan Zapata, who were on the bench in the match against Paraguay, a contest that was meaningless for Colombia.
With Zapata in the starting lineup, Radamel Falcao, who did not play well in the group phase matches, will likely be on the bench.
As for Chile, Rueda plans to use the starting lineup that performed so highly in the first two rounds of group play.
Rueda and his squad know that they must play well on offence, and the coach plans to have Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas in the match at forward.
The winner of the Chile-Colombia match will play the victor of the Uruguay-Peru quarterfinals clash in the semi-finals in Porto Alegre on July 3.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma