Colombia v Chile – Arena Corinthians at 00:00 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
The odds imply that Saturday night’s Copa America showdown between Colombia and Chile will be the tightest of the quarter-final ties from this summer’s competition and it’s difficult to disagree with that assumption. Nevertheless, I’ve a clear preference to be with Los Cafeteros in Sao Paolo.
Carlos Queiroz’s men produced a composed and clinical performance in their opening victory over Argentina before doing just enough to see off Qatar in their second contest. The Portuguese boss then opted to make 10 changes for the final fixture with Paraguay, a match that Colombia also won alongside a clean sheet.
With qualification already assured as Group B winners before that Paraguay encounter, Queiroz had the opportunity to rest and rotate. Juan Cuadrado was the only player in the Los Cafeteros side to keep his place and Colombia’s squad displayed their strength in depth with an impressively comfortable effort.
Colombia’s relatively new head coach looks certain to now revert back to his tried-and-trusted XI for this potentially feisty affair. In-form Duvan Zapata appears to have quite rightly usurped skipper Radamel Falcao as the team’s leading striker, whilst James Rodriguez is excelling again for Los Cafeteros.
Keep Colombia onside
There’s few obvious weaknesses in this Colombian outfit and there’s a suggestion they could even be underestimated by the markets ahead of this match-up. Colombia have W8-D1-L1 since the World Cup and silenced five of their six opponents since Queiroz took charge earlier this year.
Wrongly accused as a safety-first boss, Queiroz is adaptable and is implementing a system that gives his inventive players freedom, as well as a defensive structure that aims to win the ball back high the pitch, pinning teams into their own half of the field. Such an approach could easily pay dividends here.
Colombia are 2.25 shots to overcome the straight -0.50 Asian Handicap on Saturday night and that’s an appealing play, especially if you’re towing the line that this Chile side are over the hill and possibly overrated this summer.
Chile may suffer in Sao Paolo
Chile head coach Reinaldo Rueda threw a curveball against Uruguay in La Roja’s last outing, switching formation to 3-5-2 and allowing Mauricio Isla, Jean Beausejour, and Arturo Vidal the night off with yellow cards hanging over them. The unexpectant shift certainly bamboozled Uruguay and Chile started superbly.
However, the under-pressure boss saw his side’s grip on the game loosen as Uruguay worked out the mechanics of their new-look XI and Chile eventually lose out. The three centre-back system is designed to offer more protection to La Roja’s vulnerable backline, particularly down the flanks where energy is lacking.
A similar approach wouldn’t be hugely surprising considering Colombia aren’t at their most effective out wide but Chile still seem likely to come unstuck. Their results and performances against Japan and Ecuador were largely flattering and I’m expecting this group to be found out sooner rather than later.
Chile reached the quarter-finals having generated the lowest Expected Goals (xG) figure and creating the joint-fewest big chances in the competition. Such impotency in front of goal may prove fatal against Colombia’s suffocating press and the defending champions may be heading home early this weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Colombia -0.50 at 2.250
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
Los Cafeteros aims to keep their #CopaAmerica record intact at the tournament in Brazil against Chile. Go put this Colombia v Chile Match Preview to work. Visit VOdds or bet on Eastbridge’s Skype betting through custserve01 now.