CHILE v ARGENTINA – your guide to the Copa America final

Alexis Sanchez

Hot Chile: Can Alexis Sanchez deliver?

After three weeks of some highly entertaining football, it all comes down to this: We are rewarded with the final bettors certainly wanted to see. Hosts and second-favourites Chile, seeking its first ever international title, takes on pre-tournament favourite Argentina for the Copa America title in Santiago on Saturday.

Chile (odds: 3.60) have massive home support and this represents its best chance of ending a long wait for glory since reaching the Copa America final 28 years ago.

The weight of expectation is on Chile’s shoulders. Brazil was crushed under the hopes of a nation in a 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat by Germany and the way Argentina (2.12) dismantled Paraguay 6-1 in the Copa America semi-final means La Albiceleste enter the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos as a slight favourite. The draw is available at 3.30.

Yet La Roja are perhaps blessed with their best-ever generation. Players such as Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Arturo Vidal (Juventus) and Claudio Bravo (Barcelona) provide a strong spine. But it is unheralded players such Mauricio Isla, who spent the season in futile relegation battle with QPR when on-loan from Juventus, and Napoli’s Eduardo Vargas (who was also at QPR last term), who have stepped up and used the shop window to best effect.

Isla scored the only goal in the quarter-final against Uruguay, while Vargas scored both goals in the 2-1 semi-final defeat of Peru.

Chile’s pressure game is based on pressing high up the pitch and a quick-passing attack. The foundation of the style came from Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa (who is currently at Marseille, but who was on West Ham’s radar until recently). Bielsa achieved cult status in charge of Chile with his 3-3-3-1 formations and the brand has continued to thrive under his disciple and compatriot Jorge Sampaoli.

La Roja is greater whole than the sum of its parts, epitomising the ‘team’ philosophy. In contrast, Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has arguably had a much tougher job, trying to keep happy a squad that bristles with star quality and attempting to bring out the best in those mega-stars.

Argentina invariably start slowly in tournaments and come on strong. Though they drew 0-0 with Colombia (going through on penalties) in the quarter-final, Martino’s side created plenty of opportunities. Those chances were taken in the semi-final against a ragged Paraguay defence, who were pulled apart by the movement of Lionel Messi and Javier Pastore.

Up front, Sergio Aguero is one of the best finishers around and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain looks certain to be among the Premier League’s elite should either Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool take a chance on the 27-year-old.

Pastore has had a great season at PSG and while Angel di Maria has failed to shine at Manchester United – largely because he has been played out of position and is better-suited to the right wing in the physical Premier League – he appears to have renewed confidence playing for his country.

Having lost the World Cup final to Germany after extra-time, this could be the last chance for Argentina’s golden generation to win a major title, something that has eluded La Albiceleste since 1993.

Chile has reached the Copa America final four times and has yet to taste victory, while Argentina seeks a 15th Copa title.

Argentina threw off the shackles against Paraguay, but will these highly creative individuals go into their shell? They were beaten in five World Cups without reaching the semi-finals before having a marshmallow draw in Brazil to reach the semi-finals. Then they blew that biggest-of-all chance for a title, failing to score a goal in the last five hours in the tournament.

Chile has won just two of its last 37 meetings with Argentina, whom the rest of South America will be against for many reasons other than football.

La Roja have been a revelation, although the cup-cake schedule en route to the final has definitely boosted confidence.

In skill terms, this final encapsulates everything good – and there has been plenty – that has been on show at this tournament, and it is a tough call to pick the winner.

We go with Argentina, as they have the fire-power to change the team’s dynamic from off the bench. But it should be close for at least an hour.

VERDICT: CHILE 1 ARGENTINA 3 @ 17.00

BEST BET: ARGENTINA OVER 2 GOALS OR MORE @ 2.10

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PERU v PARAGUAY – your guide to the Copa America third-place playoff

Paolo Guerrero2

Key man: Paolo Guerrero

Paraguay were unusually ragged in their semi-final with Argentina and their 6-1 thrashing means they are slight underdogs for the Copa America third-place playoff clash with Peru in Concepcion on Friday night.

Both nations are outside the FIFA top 60, which means relatively little, and both should climb after a surprising run to the semi-finals.

Peru (odds: 2.38) were valiant in defeat to hosts Chile. Reduced to 10 men after 20 minutes when Carlos Zambrano was dismissed after a second caution, Peru only fell to a wonder strike from Eduardo Vargas, who netted twice in the 2-1 victory.

It was Peru’s second defeat in the tournament after going down to Brazil deep into injury time in their group opener.

Peru has reached three quarter-finals and two semi-finals in the last five Copa America tournaments, so they are well used to the big occasion.

The same can be said for Paraguay (2.88), who were runners-up four years ago.

They held Argentina 2-2 in their opening group game, sowing plenty of spirit, but were blown away 6-1 by La Albiceleste on Tuesday as they attempted to reach their second straight Copa America final.


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While they knocked out a Neymar-less Brazil in the quarter-finals on penalties after a 1-1 draw, Los Guaranies have managed to win just one of their last eight games since Ramon Diaz took charge following their failure to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Both nations have quality strikers. Paolo Guerrero netted a hat-trick for Peru against Bolivia in the last eight (and is 6.00 to finish as the Copa top scorer), while Lucas Barrios (9.60 to be top scorer) has netted three times in this tournament for Paraguay against arguably stringer opposition.

Paraguay have beaten Peru six times in their last 12 meetings, drawing on three other occasions and they have also won three of the last six clashes. There have been three draws and it is 3.50 for the draw this time.

Goals have not been a feature in recent clashes between the two. While the last two meetings saw three goals scored in total, the previous six meetings saw fewer and it is 2.26 for there to be fewer than 2.5 goals this time.

Paraguay were flat-out embarrassed by Argentina’s quick breaks in the semi. La Albiceleste were given far too much time playing between the lines and picked apart Diaz’s side at will.

It is arguable that neither side will match the level of intensity they showed in their respective semi-finals, but Peru are more worthy of consideration as they have been consistent from the opening game.

We feel Guerrero could be the key to victory. If he receives enough service, he will cause panic in a defence that has shown its vulnerability and one that may well be lacking in confidence after their drubbing. Los Incas can claim third place and, in our opinion, will fully deserve it.

VERDICT: PERU 1 PARAGUAY 0 @ 9.80

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE – NO @ 2.50

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

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Argentina run riot at Copa America… but you were warned!

angel di Maria 2

On the money: Angel di Maria

We’ve been on the money throughout Copa America, with our Best Bets cashing in with alarming regularity.

Take the two semi-finals for example: We said both Peru and Paraguay would both score – and they did, cashing in at 1.99 and 2.10 respectively. Hey, we just doubled your investment. Twice.

Hosts Chile reached their first Copa America final in 28 years after seeing off Peru in a thrilling encounter in Santiago.

See the highlights:

And in our second semi-final preview, you were told:

‘We see this as being Argentina’s coming-out party, even though Paraguay will stack plenty of bodies behind the ball. An early goal will settle the favourites and will open the game up.’

And didn’t it just! Argentina ran riot. You can catch the highlights here:

So it is on to the final. Argentina are slight favourites at 2.10, with Chile at 3.60. The draw is 3.30.

You can see all the odds for both the third-place playoff and the final by going to copa.myclubbetting.co.uk

Stay tuned for our big-game previews and more.

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

Don’t forget to place your pre-match and live, in-running bets via copa.myclubbetting.co.uk and watch the concluding matches, broadcast live throughout the UK via Premier Sports, on SKY channel 428, Virgin 551, TalkTalk 526 and in HD via the Premier Player online.

You must be 18+ to place a bet. Please bet responsibly.www.gambleaware.co.uk

ARGENTINA v PARAGUAY – Your guide to the Copa America semi-final

Nicolas Otamendi

Key figure: Nicolas Otamendi

Paraguay’s upset of Brazil in the quarter-finals sets up a clash with tournament favourites Argentina, with whom they shared a 2-2 draw in their opening group clash.

Having qualified for France 1998 and then the next three World Cups that followed, La Albirroja looked to be a burgeoning force on the international stage. Their second-place finish at the last Copa America seemed to underline the point, but they inexplicably fell away following the departure of former manager – and now Argentina’s coach – Gerardo Martino.

Paraguay (odds: 8.60) failed to qualify for the last World Cup and went through three managers until Ramon Diaz was tasked with restoring some pride.

Little was expected of Paraguay coming into this Copa America tournament. Diaz had been in charge for just three games and had not tasted victory. Yet his side showed plenty of character in coming back from 2-0 down to Argentina in the opening game.

Paraguay finally got off the mark with a 1-0 victory against Jamaica before securing a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in their final group game (the draw is available at 4.10).

While they came back from a goal down against Brazil in their quarter-final, they needed penalties to go through. Diaz’s record is therefore one win in seven internationals.

Argentina (1.47) topped the group but also required penalties to see off Colombia in their last-eight clash. It was a shootout that contained some of the best and worst penalties ever seen.

While they have not set the tournament alight yet, they remain unbeaten and their defence, a big question-mark heading into the Copa, has answered every call.

The central defensive partnership of Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi – who has both Manchester City and Manchester United on alert, as he is set to leave Valencia this summer – have been solid. The biggest issue may be with the full-backs. Pablo Zabaleta, while useful going forward, often gets caught out of position and Manchester United’s Marcus Rojo, who missed a penalty in Argentina’s shootout with Colombia, has struggled for both club and country.

Yet their attacking prowess is well documented. Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain pose Martino a headache: how does he involve them all and play them in their best positions? The dynamic is an awkward one.


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Tevez, when he can get into the side, is playing a position far deeper than where he is most effective, and the only certainties on the team-sheet are Messi and Javier Mascherano, who is the glue in the central midfield that allows the creative players to do their thing.

Paraguay don’t have a great pedigree but they do play with heart. While they may have it within them to topple Argentina, their record against La Albiceleste is not a good one. In 104 meetings between the two sides, the Paraguayans have tasted victory on just 15 occasions, suffering 58 defeats.

We see this as being Argentina’s coming-out party, even though Paraguay will stack plenty of bodies behind the ball. An early goal will settle the favourites and will open the game up.

VERDICT: ARGENTINA 3 PARAGUAY 1 @ 14.50

BEST BET: PARAGUAY TO SCORE @ 2.10

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

Don’t forget to place your pre-match and live, in-running bets via copa.myclubbetting.co.uk and watch the 26 matches, broadcast live throughout the UK via Premier Sports, on SKY channel 428, Virgin 551, TalkTalk 526 and in HD via the Premier Player online.

You must be 18+ to place a bet. Please bet responsibly www.gambleaware.co.uk

CHILE v PERU – Your Copa America guide to the semi-final

Paolo Guerro1

Danger-man: Paolo Guerro

Chile are on the brink of creating a little history. They have never won the Copa America tournament and Mauricio Isla’s winner against nine-man Uruguay has put the hosts on the brink of reaching their fifth final since 1916 and their first since 1987.

Peru defeated Bolivia 3-1 on the back of a Paulo Guerrero hat-trick in their quarter-final. In truth, Bolivia were poor and naïve defending allowed Peru to be out of sight before half-time.

While Peru could only beat what was put in front of them, Chile (odds: 1.50) are heavy favourites – perhaps too heavy.

Bettors must be wary of the defensive frailties of Joge Sampaoli’s side.

They have an excellent goalkeeper in Claudio Bravo, who is arguably the best that South America has to offer between the sticks.

Yet Mainz defender Gonzalo Jara will be missing. He is set to serve a suspension and may well be offloaded by his German club after television pictures showed the 29-year-old prodding Edinson Cavani’s bottom before falling theatrically to the floor in their quarter-final win.

Yet the way Peru (8.00) unlocked Bolivia is also cause for concern. They peppered the Bolivians with a series of pinpoint crosses and Guerrero got on the end of a couple of them.

The worrying thing, as far as Chile backers are concerned, is the size of Peru’s forwards: Guerrero and Claudio Pizarro dwarf Gary Medel, and their centre halves are not the quickest.

A pressing game from the Chilean full-backs will be required if they are to diminish the excellent use of the flanks from Jefferson Fafan, Juan Manuel Vargas, Christian Cuevas and Luis Advincula.

Take a look at 5 top goals from the Group phase

On the flip side, Uruguay’s strength was their defensive capabilities and that did not deter Chile from having an 80% possession advantage over the Copa holders in the quarter-final.

Chile eventually got the breakthrough after 82 minutes to settle a tense affair which saw both Cavani and Jorge Fucile dismissed at the Estado Nacional in Santiago.

While Chile have scored 11 goals in four games, Peru netted twice in their opening three group games before Guerrero’s hat-trick against Bolivia (who were thumped 5-0 by Chile in the final group game).

Chile have the advantage of beating Peru on 10 of the last 15 occasions (losing four times and drawing the other). There are usually a few goals scored when these two meet: No less than 11 of those 15 games saw three or more goals in total and it is 2.18 for more than 2.5 goals to be scored.

The weight of expectation weighed heavy on Brazil when they hosted a World Cup semi-final against Germany and bettors must decide if this will be the case for Chile.

An early goal will not doubt settle the hosts, who could cruise thereafter. We see Peru causing a few problems though, and it may take extra time to settle it before Chile go through.

VERDICT: CHILE 2 PERU 2 @ 23.00

BEST BET: PERU TO SCORE @ 1.99

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

Don’t forget to place your pre-match and live, in-running bets via copa.myclubbetting.co.uk and watch the 26 matches, broadcast live throughout the UK via Premier Sports, on SKY channel 428, Virgin 551, TalkTalk 526 and in HD via the Premier Player online.

You must be 18+ to place a bet. Please bet responsibly. www.gambleaware.co.uk

Colombian penalties provide the anti-Tekkers at Copa America

Carlos Tevez1

Spot on: Carlos Tevez

It was a tale of two quarter-final penalty shoot-outs, which now leave heavy favourites facing outsiders in both semi-finals of the Copa America.

Argentina, the 14-times Copa champions, went through on penalties against Colombia after their clash ended 0-0 in 90 minutes at the Estadio Sausalito.

Carlos Tevez scored the deciding spot-kick in sudden-death, which was notable for some truly horrible attempts counterbalanced by some of the best pens you will ever see.

In the final last-eight clash, Brazil were held 1-1 by Paraguay (advised in our preview as a Correct Score bet at odds of 6.40), who then repeated their 2011 Copa America penalty shoot-out win over the Selecao.

Manchester City striker Robinho gave Brazil a 15th-minute lead from a Dani Alves cross, before Thiago Silva’s second-half hand-ball allowed Derlis Gonzalez to level from the spot.


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Paraguay, who last won the tournament in 1979, went on to win 4-3 on penalties and now face Argentina in Conception early on Wednesday morning, while hosts Chile face Peru in the other semi-final on Tuesday morning.

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

Don’t forget to place your pre-match and live, in-running bets via copa.myclubbetting.co.uk and watch the 26 matches, broadcast live throughout the UK via Premier Sports, on SKY channel 428, Virgin 551, TalkTalk 526 and in HD via the Premier Player online.

You must be 18+ to place a bet. Please bet responsibly.www.gambleaware.co.uk

BRAZIL v PARAGUAY – Your Copa America guide to the quarter-final

It was hard graft, but Brazil topped Group C as expected. Yet the underlying feeling is one of disappointment.

The Selecao have really not produced the goods and much of the blame is being levelled at coach Dunga.

Many perceive the former defender’s tactics to be negative, yet it is hardly surprising that they have been lacking in confidence since that 7-1 World Cup semi-final drubbing by Germany.

Their confidence has taken another battering thanks to Neymar’s suspension.

Brazil’s top player is banned for the remainder of the tournament, courtesy of being sent off after petulantly kicking the ball at Colombia’s Pablo Amero when the referee had blown the final whistle in their 1-0 defeat.

The Barcelona forward’s premature departure means Brazil (odds: 1.69) have a tough road to reach the final of the Copa America final and win it for the fifth time since 1989.


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Without Neymar, Brazil registered more shots in their final group game against Venezuela (17) than they did in their two previous group games. Yet they are obviously a better outfit with him than without.

Brazil also appear to have a problem defensively, despite the way Dunga has set his side up. They conceded against Peru, Colombia and Venezuela in the group phase.

He is being overly cautious and Brazil ended with four centre backs on the pitch against the mighty Venezuela.

Ramon Diaz’s Paraguay, runners-up four years ago, will be no pushovers. They are one of three remaining unbeaten sides in the tournament, with three of their strikers already having registered: Lucas Barrios (twice), Nelson Valdez and Edgar Benitez.

They also knocked out Brazil via penalties in the 2011 edition and pose a live threat, particularly from set pieces.

Diaz was supposedly using the Copa to introduce new players and results were not the primary focus. This was expected to be a rebuild, yet they battled back from 2-0 down against Argentina to claim a draw. Diaz was given plenty of answers to any lingering questions over character within the side.

Paraguay (6.00) followed up with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica, before ending the group phase with a 1-1 draw with Uruguay. A Brazil/Paraguay draw is available at 3.40.

Roberto Firmino

Kop of the world: Firmino

While a regular in the quarter-finals – they have reached this stage in seven of the last eight Copas – they have only once managed to go beyond that stage.

With Neymar absent, it is anticipated that Liverpool’s new £29m signing Roberto Firmino will keep his place in the Brazil side as the main striker, with Diego Tardelli likely on the bench.

While there are plenty of reasons to think that there will be a shock in the quarter-finals, Paraguay are not likely to provide it.

While Brazil created plenty of chances against Venezuela, they failed to take enough of them. Paraguay are a well-organised outfit and it may well need extra time to settle it.

VERDICT: BRAZIL 1 PARAGUAY 1 @ 6.40

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 2.22

MYCLUBBETTING.COM has teamed up with Premier Sports to become the Official Broadcast Sponsors for the biggest football tournament of the year, the 2015 Copa América.

Don’t forget to place your pre-match and live, in-running bets via copa.myclubbetting.co.uk and watch the 26 matches, broadcast live throughout the UK via Premier Sports, on SKY channel 428, Virgin 551, TalkTalk 526 and in HD via the Premier Player online.

You must be 18+ to place a bet. Please bet responsibly.www.gambleaware.co.uk

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