It’s now been 28 years since Argentina last tasted Copa America success, finishing runners-up four times since then as an ever-elusive international trophy continues to evade Lionel Messi’s grasp, but the Albiceleste immortal will be raring to go when South America’s flagship tournament gets underway.
Lionel Scaloni’s charges take on a Chile side still finding their feet under Martin Lasarte, who succeeded now-Colombia head coach Reinaldo Rueda earlier this year, and a 1-1 dress rehearsal earlier this month underpinned the threat La Roja pose, who famously beat Argentina in the 2015 and 2016 finals.
Those defeats were something of a national tragedy as they culminated in Messi’s decision to retire from international football, before the Barcelona legend took a U-turn and returned to the Albiceleste set-up, and he will now be itching to right the wrongs from those successive showpiece slip-ups.
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Argentina vs Chile: Match Stats
Despite the talent at Scaloni’s disposal, Argentina are a slightly unpredictable side, with the issue often hampering the nation’s progress being how to fit all that quality into one side without making the system top-heavy. In recent World Cup qualifiers, Argentina drew 1-1 with Chile, in which Messi found his name on the scoresheet, as well as drawing 2-2 with Colombia, highlighting the vulnerabilities in Scaloni’s system. For Chile, they have drawn twice and won once under recent-appointment Lasarte. There is not much to go on given how little time he has occupied the dugout, but with talent in the guise of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz, the nation are always a threat.
Argentina vs Chile: Corner Stats
Since autumn’s international break Argentina have averaged 5.5 corners per match, recently registering four and three respectively against Colombia and Chile. Given Scaloni boasts attacking full-backs in Marcos Acuna, Gonzalo Montiel and Nicolas Tagliafico there will always be an emphasis to exploit the channels, while set-piece guru Angel Di Maria will be relishing deadball scenarios. Chile meanwhile have averaged 4.6 corners per game in that timeframe, though 13 of those came in their most recent showdown with Bolivia. Interestingly, they registered more (four to three) in their 1-1 World Cup qualifier vs Argentina earlier this month.
Argentina vs Chile: Cards Stats
Chile are very much an up-and-at-em side, and of course when you have players like Vidal tearing about the turf, that is a system best utilise to accentuate his terrier-like assets. Since autumn’s World Cup qualifiers, Chile have averaged nearly three bookings per game, while Albiceleste are just as temperamental, averaging nearly three per game as well. Of course, if we go back to their 2016 final, there were eight yellow cards and two sendings off, so this is a historically feisty fixture.
04 Jun 2021 – Argentina 1-1 Chile – World Cup qualifying
06 Sep 2019 – Chile 0-0 Argentina – International friendly
06 Jul 2019 – Argentina 2-1 Chile – Copa America 2019
24 Mar 2017 – Argentina 1-0 Chile – World Cup qualifying
27 June 2016 – Argentina 0-0 Chile – Copa America 2016
Argentina got the final laugh in the last edition of Copa America, but they would trade that triumph any day of the week for their back-to-back defeats in the 2015 and 2016 finals. Both defeats were decided on penalties after goalless stalemates, with Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega the villains in the former, and Messi uncharacteristically missing in the latter.