Chile v Bolivia: Stuttering La Roja out to maintain Copa dominance over La Verde

By Sports Desk June 17, 2021

Chile have become draw specialists as they look to kick-start their Copa America campaign against Bolivia in Cuiaba on Friday.

La Roja recorded their third consecutive 1-1 draw after Eduardo Vargas' equaliser cancelled out Lionel Messi's superb free-kick against Argentina on Monday.

Copa America champions in 2015 and 2016, Chile have struggled for form since the 2019 tournament, winning just three games (L5, 6D).

Encouragingly for Chile, they have dominated Bolivia in the Copa America amid a run of five wins and a draw in CONMEBOL's showpiece event.

"We must improve the possession of the ball and do it more calmly, not be so direct in some parts of the game because that causes us a lot of wear and tear," Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo said following the draw with Argentina, which included six players that featured in the 2015 Copa triumph over La Albiceleste.

"Without possession of the ball we are a very uncomfortable team and we have to continue to maintain that and continue to be aggressive."

Chile head coach Martin Lasarte, who took charge in February, added: "This team didn't want to be beaten, even though they didn't play well. These players are defiant."

Bolivia's Group A campaign got off to a disappointing start – beaten 3-1 by Paraguay on Monday.

Already missing captain and talisman Marcelo Martins due to coronavirus, Bolivia had teenage debutant Jaume Cuellar sent off while leading as Paraguay capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half.

Bolivia – the 1963 champions who have not progressed from the group stage since 2015 – are set to be without Marcelo again in a situation the country's all-time leading goalscorer is unhappy with.

Marcelo used social media to hit out at CONMEBOL, which relocated the Copa to Brazil from Argentina and Colombia, despite the country being one of the worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

"Thanks to you at CONMEBOL for this," Marcelo said in an Instagram post that was later deleted. "It's all your fault. If one person dies, what are you going to do? What matters to you is only money. Is the player's life worth nothing?"

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chile – Eduardo Vargas

With Alexis Sanchez sidelined for the entire group stage, Vargas is carrying the load up front.

Only Sanchez (46) has scored more international goals for Chile than forward Vargas (39).

Vargas' equaliser against Argentina saw him move level with Gabriel Batistuta in the list of the most goals in Copa history. The 31-year-old is only four goals away from matching record holders Zizinho and Tucho Mendez (17).

Bolivia – Ruben Cordano

The unheralded 22-year-old goalkeeper was on the receiving end of three goals last time out, but he still impressed.

No goalkeeper made more saves than Cordano in the opening round of Copa games – eight, double that of Bravo and Venezuela's Joel Graterol in the top three.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Chile are unbeaten in five games against Bolivia at the Copa America (W4 D1), including a 2-1 victory for La Roja in the last meeting during the 2016 edition. The two nations are playing for the third time in Brazil, winning one game apiece.
- Chile have lost just one of their 13 games versus Bolivia in all competitions (W9 D3). However, they are winless in the last two meetings with Bolivia (L1 D1), their worst winless run in this process.
- Bolivia have scored in six of their previous eight games played in the Copa America. However, they failed to keep a clean sheet in those matches (L8).

Related items

  • Chiellini feels De Ligt 'has everything', hopes Raiola does not alter Juve future Chiellini feels De Ligt 'has everything', hopes Raiola does not alter Juve future

    Giorgio Chiellini hopes Matthijs de Ligt is not taken away from Juventus by agent Mino Raiola, as he feels his defensive colleague already "has everything".

    Now 37, Juve captain Chiellini is in the final years of his career, but the future of the Turin giants appears to be in the hands of De Ligt.

    The former Ajax captain is still just 22 and is settled in Serie A in his third season with the Bianconeri.

    De Ligt underwhelmed a little following his €75million transfer to Italy but has since performed well, last committing an error leading to a chance in the league in his debut 2019-20 season.

    Although De Ligt has been limited to six appearances this term, with veteran duo Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred against Inter on Sunday, he is certainly becoming a more dominant defender.

    No Juve defender is contesting (4.5) or winning (3.4) more aerial duels per 90 than De Ligt in 2021-22, while his overall duel success rate for the season is up significantly to 67.4 per cent.

    Indeed, Chiellini believes De Ligt has the full package, telling DAZN: "He's very strong, I call him Thor.

    "If he had been Italian, it would have been easier to keep him for many years, I hope that Mino will give us the pleasure of leaving him a few more years in Turin.

    "He has everything, but the difference is made in the head; he is 22 years old but has the mentality of someone of 30, and he sets himself the goal of wanting to improve every day."

    De Ligt arrived at Juve as Andrea Barzagli retired, but he still finds himself competing with the other two members of the great 'BBC' back line.

    That might not have been the case, however, as Bonucci briefly left for Milan – a move that upset Chiellini.

    "I was hurt. That Milan was a team in difficulty, it was not Real Madrid or even Milan of now," he said. "Today it would be different, but at the time going there meant taking a clear step back.

    "The choices remain personal and must be respected, but if we had been on holiday together that summer I would have made him understand that he was making a mistake. He realised it very soon."

    Chiellini also could have been out the door by now, revealing he considered retiring following the coronavirus outbreak but played on to star at Euro 2020, where Italy won the title.

    "I lived a hard period after my injury," Chiellini said. "I returned after six months and shortly after COVID broke out, and for almost a year I struggled to find the right balance.

    "The thought of retirement made its way into my head but it was the European Championship that kept me going with the desire to be there at all costs."

  • NFL Fantasy Picks: Jones to benefit from Packers' receiver woes, Pitts a must-start NFL Fantasy Picks: Jones to benefit from Packers' receiver woes, Pitts a must-start

    With the NFL approaching the midway point of its season, time is running out to stack fantasy wins and make a run at the postseason.

    Whether you're right in the mix or on the outside looking in, now is the moment to go on a run and ensure you will be playing in the championship bracket.

    The best way to do that is to identify the players with the opportunity to produce a performance that can serve as the backbone of a matchup-winning effort.

    Here Stats Perform looks at four offensive players and a defense who are well-positioned to do just that in Week 8.

     

    Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions

    Hurts is developing a reputation as the king of garbage time stats and, though fantasy owners may not have the benefit of him playing from behind in garbage time this week, he does have an extremely favorable matchup to exploit.

    Through his abilities as a dual-threat quarterback, Hurts has accounted for 2,077 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns so far this season.

    He is averaging 245.1 passing yards per game and 51.5 yards on the ground. Going against a Detroit defense ranked 30th in yards per play, Hurts is a strong candidate to deliver gaudy fantasy numbers.

    Running Back: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals

    On the surface, Jones' matchup with a Cardinals defense ranked eighth in opponent yards per play allowed is a tough one.

    However, only the Los Angeles Chargers are allowing more yards per rush than the Cardinals (4.97), and Jones should see a heavy workload on the ground and through the air.

    Indeed, with Davante Adams a doubt after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and Allen Lazard out for the same reason, Jones - who is second on the Packers behind Adams with 26 receptions - could see a bump in targets from Aaron Rodgers.

    Always a must-start as Green Bay's lead back, Jones' performance on Thursday could be a decisive one for fantasy owners, especially those who play in points per reception leagues.

    Wide Receiver: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots

    The Chargers will be out to get back on track as they return from a bye week following their Week 6 shellacking at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens.

    And they will be hopeful of hitting on several explosive plays against a Patriots defense that has given up its fair share.

    The Patriots have conceded 77 passes of 10 yards or more, the seventh-most in the NFL.

    That should be music to the ears of Williams, who has eight receptions of 20 yards or more, four games with at least seven receptions and a touchdown and two 100-yard performances. Expect this big-play threat to exploit a vulnerable New England secondary to a significant extent.

    Tight End: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

    The Falcons are surging, and much of that is down to the play of rookie tight end Pitts, who is living up to the reputation that saw him picked fourth overall in this year's draft by Atlanta.

    Pitts has at least eight targets in each of his last three games and goes into Week 8 on the back of successive 100-yard performances.

    Having clearly earned the trust of quarterback Matt Ryan, Pitts is receiving the target share and delivering the production to make him a must-start regardless of a tough matchup against a Panthers defense allowing the third-fewest yards per play in the NFL.

    Defense: San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears

    The 49ers are firmly in must-win mode having dropped to 2-4, and the foundation for a winning effort in Chicago appears more likely to be laid by the defense.

    San Francisco forced a pair of turnovers in the Week 7 loss to the Colts and the Niners' chances of adding to their takeaway tally seem strong with Chicago's rookie quarterback Justin Fields having thrown at least one interception in four of his seven appearances.

    Fields committed five turnovers in Chicago's blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last time out and a 49ers' front led by one of the NFL's premier pass rushers in Nick Bosa should be confident of forcing him into more.

  • T20 World Cup: England complete dominant victory against Bangladesh T20 World Cup: England complete dominant victory against Bangladesh

    England romped to another impressive win at the T20 World Cup as they beat Bangladesh by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

    Jason Roy starred as he plundered 61 from 38 balls, helping his team ease to the 125-run target set by their opponents for victory with almost six overs remaining.

    Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first. They got off to a promising start, putting 10 runs on the board in the first over, with Liton Das hitting Moeen Ali for two boundaries.

    However, things soon turned as Moeen (2-18) took two wickets in two balls in the third over, and from there the runs dried up as the wickets steadily fell.

    Chris Woakes (1-12) and Liam Livingstone (2-15) impressed with the ball, and the only moment that resembled a fightback from Bangladesh was in the 19th over when Adil Rashid (0-35) was hit for 17, including the only two sixes of the innings from Nasum Ahmed (19).

    A solid final over with the ball from Tymal Mills (3-27) saw just four runs scored, with two wickets coming in the final two balls of the innings to leave Bangladesh on 124-9 from their 20 overs, a total England comfortably reached.

    Roy sets tone for England reply

    Roy smashed the first ball of the innings for four and Jos Buttler hit 18 from 18 balls before falling to Nasum (1-26).

    Dawid Malan (28 not out) continued the England momentum but it was five fours and three sixes from Roy in exactly an hour at the crease which did most of the heavy lifting for England.

    The opener was out before the end when he hit a Shoriful Islam (1-26) ball into the hands of Nasum, allowing Jonny Bairstow (eight not out) to see his team home with 35 balls still remaining, giving Eoin Morgan's side their second win in as many games in the tournament.

    Moeen makes swift progress

    Bangladesh had not had a display of Roy's ilk in their own top order thanks to the exploits of Moeen with the ball. Quickly recovering from a potentially damaging first over, the spinner mopped up Das and Mohammad Naim from consecutive balls to reduce Bangladesh to 14-2.

    Those were Moeen's third and fourth power play wickets at this World Cup, only trailing Maheesh Theekshana (five) in that regard. Despite the initial wobble, he has also managed an economy rate of 5.5 and a dot ball rate of 64 per cent in this period.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.