The defending champions got past high-flying Colombia on penalties.
There was plenty of uproars before the game even began. The Chile contingent, caught in the Sao Paulo traffic had arrived late to the stadium and as a result, kick-off had to be pushed by twenty minutes.
The game on the pitch began with plenty of end-to-end action. Chile got ahead in the 16th minute through Aranguiz but VAR ruled it out for being narrowly offside. Colombia National Football Team tried to carve out their own chances but the defending Copa America champions were all over them.
Chile put the ball into the back of the net once again through Arturo Vidal but VAR was called into action and the move was ruled out because of a handball incident that had taken place in the build-up. The game remained scoreless after ninety minutes and went straight to penalties.
In the penalties, Tesillo put his spot-kick shockingly wide. Alexis Sánchez managed to keep his composure and tucked the ball home to lead his side to the semi-finals where they will face Uruguay or Peru next.
Here are the talking points from the game:
Match Highlights: Chile 0(5) – (4)0 Colombia
5. Should Colombia have had more protection on their right flank?
Carlos Queiroz started Medina as right back and ahead of him was Juan Cuadrado, an offensive midfielder who likes to get in front and build from the wing. This left a lot of space for Alexis Sanchez and Charles Aranguiz to exploit with pace. Even left-back Beausejour made surging runs forward and got behind the Colombian defence.
Chile came heavy on their left flank
Recognising the threat, Queiroz should’ve asked Cuadrado to tuck back and help out Medina in order to nullify the numerical disadvantage.
4. Has the application of VAR been justified?
Even in last night’s game, two big important match turning decisions were influenced by VAR. Chile went ahead twice only for the referee to consult the Video Assistance team and for the play to be ruled out because of various rule infringements.
VAR was flawless in its application last night and for most of the tournament so far. In the first move, Vargas narrowly strayed offside when the initial ball was played to Alexis on the left flank and the resulting goal from Aranguiz was ruled out as a result.
For the second, the strike from Arturo Vidal came after a handball which missed most eyes in game-time. It appeared on VAR though, in slow-motion and allowed the referee to make the correct call.
3. Has Rueda adapted to the side well?
It must be noted that Chile who won successive Copas in 2015 and 2016 failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The blame fell on the ageing squad who had not been properly replaced and with no suitable young players coming through, new coach Reinaldo Rueda has had to make tweaks and adjustments to the system that won them the two back to back Copas.
Lacking the pace and intensity that they did a few years back, Reinaldo opted the more basic approach, he asked his defenders to defend narrow and make the pitch smaller while his forwards are asked to stretch the pitch as wide as possible. Their central and defensive midfielders now provide extra assistance in defence that helps them defend deep for long periods.
2. Should Colombia continue to rely on Falcao?
Radamel Falcao has been on a downward curve in his career for a long time. He is 33 and has had a history of injuries, his best days are well behind him. He is an excellent poacher but his link-up play leaves a lot for desire and the likes of James Rodriguez and Roger Martinez do not get enough service from him. The partnership upfront seems hapless and Carlos Queiroz should have brought Duvan Zapata on earlier.
Zapata came on for the last ten minutes and by then, it was too late.
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1. How far can Chile go?
Chile were magnificent last night and even though the scoreline will suggest a scoreless draw after regulated time, they deserved more. They were energetic, vibrant and always looked dangerous in the final third. Their midfield is solid and composed and their goalkeeper Arias was hardly bothered at the back.
Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz offer dynamism in midfield while Alexis Sanchez and Fuenzalida are uncontainable on the wings. On top of that, they have a sensible manager who can adapt to his and his team’s needs and has a clear plan in mind.
Chile look like the favourites to retain their crown and along with Uruguay, look definite favourites.