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Jul 4, 2015 at 9pm UK at Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Pradanos, Santiago
Chile win 4-1 on penalties

Preview: Chile vs. Argentina

Sports Mole looks forward to Saturday's 2015 Copa America final between hosts Chile and tournament favourites Argentina.

Chile are one win away from their first Copa America success and face 2015 favourites Argentina in Saturday's final in Santiago.

The hosts might not have as much talent across the board as their South American neighbours, but they will hope that a fervent home crowd can help them to victory.


Chile forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Brazil in their World Cup last-16 match in Belo Horizonte on June 28, 2014© Getty Images

Not only are La Roja chasing a first Copa title, they have also never won a major international tournament in their history.

They have come close, though. They have hosted the World Cup and Copa America on seven occasions and never not reached the semi-finals on their own turf.

The Chileans have also been runners-up at the Copa on four occasions, the last of which came in 1987 when they fell to Uruguay in the final.

Chile are this year's top scorers with 13 goals in five games and they possess the top marksman in Eduardo Vargas, who has netted four times, including a match-winning brace in the semi-final.

The forward, who was on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season, sealed the win for Chile against Peru with a dipping long-range effort in the 64th minute.

Before that, they had finished top of Group B with two wins and a draw and edged out defending champions Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

Recent Copa America form: WDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW


Argentina's forward Carlos Tevez (L) scores the winning penalty kcik past Colombia's goalkeeper David Ospina during the 2015 Copa America football championship quarterfinal match in Vina del Mar, Chile on June 26, 2015© Getty Images

Like Chile, Argentina drew one game in the group stage to finish top of Group B, setting up a quarter-final with Colombia.

After a goalless 120 minutes, La Albiceleste ousted Los Cafeteros 5-4 on penalties to book a last-four match with surprise package Paraguay, who had toppled Brazil on penalties in the quarters.

Paraguay couldn't match the highest-ranked team at the Copa as Argentina romped to a 6-1 triumph, with Angel di Maria netting two as Lionel Messi, who has one goal in the tournament, went scoreless.

La Albiceleste have won the Copa 14 times and victory on Saturday would see them match Uruguay as the competition's most successful ever country.

Their record in Copas hosted in Chile is also superb - they have never failed to reach the final, winning it four times and finishing as runner-up on two occasions.

They are, however, without a major competition win since the 1993 Copa in Ecuador, losing last year's World Cup final to Germany in extra time.

Recent Copa America form: DWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWW

Team News

Argentina's forward Gonzalo Higuain (L) and Germany's defender Mats Hummels vie for the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match on July 13, 2014© Getty Images

Chile, ironically managed by an Argentine in Jorge Sampaoli, could go with the same XI that started against Peru.

Gonzalo Jara remains suspended as he serves the second of a three-game ban, while Stars Claudio Bravo, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez should be the backbone of the team. Sanchez is a slight doubt and could miss out, but will hope to fight through the pain.

The likes of Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi all started on the bench for Argentina in their semi-final win over Paraguay, but former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has little reason to change things after the 6-1 demolition of La Albirroja.

Still, a frontline of Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Messi is not one to be sniffed at.

Chile possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Isla, Medel, Rojas, Albornoz; Diaz, Aranguiz, Vidal; Valdivia; Sanchez, Vargas

Argentina possible starting lineup:
Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Pastore; Messi, Aguero, Di Maria

Head To Head

Chile have beaten Argentina just once in the two countries' last 14 meetings - a run stretching back to 1959.

Their last encounter was at the same stadium as Saturday's final in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, and two first-half goals in three minutes from Messi and Gonzalo Higuain were enough for a 2-1 victory.

Neither side has lost a competitive game since their respective World Cup losses at the quarter-final and final stages to Brazil and Germany.

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We say: Chile 1-2 (AET) Argentina

Argentina outclassed Paraguay, but it shouldn't be such a walkover against the hosts, who are desperate for their first tournament success. However, Argentina have the magician that is Messi and it's hard to bet against the scampering genius. A draw in 90 minutes is likely, but we're backing La Albiceleste to edge extra time to equal Uruguay's Copa record of 15 wins.

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Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain celebrates with teammates Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Lucas Biglia after scoring the opening goal against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final in Brasilia on July 5, 2014
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