Claudio Borghi leads his inherited Chile side into the Copa America tournament looking to capitalise on the problems within the Mexico camp and pick up a vital three points in their pursuit of Copa America glory. Mexico have eight players suspended as part of a prostitution scandal and La Roja have high confidence in their capabilities after a five-match unbeaten streak in international fixtures.
Chile are yet to win a Copa America title, but could cause a surprise in this year’s tournament with the vast amount of attacking wealth at the disposal of Borghi. Udinese playmaker Alexis Sanchez is the pivotal player in the Chilean attack and is part of a transfer tug-of-war between the best club sides around Europe. His concentration is completely on the tournament and looking to lead La Roja to victory though. The Chileans face Peru and Uruguay along with Mexico in their group and are expected to progress through to the quarter-finals.
Former Chile Coach Marcelo Bielsa has assembled the majority of the side that will participate in the tournament and it will be interesting to see whether Borghi sticks with the same setup and formation that La Roja used in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The deployment of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Arturo Vidal as a holding central midfielder has proved to be effective and Chile are expected to use a 5-2-3 formation with two wing backs used to give Chile an all-out attacking line-up.
The Estadio del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina, will play host to the game and Chile are confident of defeating Mexico, who hold a weakened side and several young players. The last time La Roja played against El Tricolor in an international fixture was in September 2008, where a singular goal was good enough to give Chile the win.
Dangers for Chile would fall in the knockout phases of the competition, where the Chilean side are likely to meet Brazil. Mano Menezes’ side stumbled in their opening match against Venezuela, but are expected to progress and could meet Borghi’s side in the later rounds. In the last two major tournaments that Chile have participated in, the 2010 World Cup and the 2007 Copa America, Brazil have dumped them out of the competition both times, winning 3-0 in South Africa and 6-1 in the 2007 Copa America held in Venezuela.
Borghi has assembled a side mixed with predecessor Bielsa’s quality players and some individual talents that were not given much of a chance under the former manager. Borghi’s credentials speak for themselves with his time at Colo Colo and Argentinos Juniors proving highly successful and so far, his transition to international management has been smooth and efficient. Chile will provide plenty of excitement in the tournament and are expected to progress seamlessly to the knockout stages. They will have to use the qualities of Sanchez, Matias Fernandez and Humberto Suazo to good effect and given Borghi’s previous managerial tactics, Chile will retain the attacking outlay that they revealed under Bielsa. Expect flair, finesse and fabulous football from El Equipo de Todos.