Messi to Lead Argentina to Copa Victory against Chile (PART II)

Argentina vs Chile

Argentina can find different ways to beat predictable but efficient Chile.

As it was expected before the tournament by many punters playing via mobile betting services, arguably the two best teams of the continent reached the title decider, so an outstanding Copa America final is ahead of us. Chile will take on Argentina at Estadio Nacional in Santiago de Chile on Saturday. The kickoff is scheduled to 5.00 pm local time (4.00 pm ET/9.00 pm GMT).

• Chile can do nothing but attack
• Martino to fool La Roja?
• Argentina are favorites to win

Though the best player of the world, Lionel Messi could affect the outcome of the match greatly, as it was discussed in the first part of our preview, the look of the game will be influenced by the plan of Argentina national team coach Tata Martino too. Both sides play an attacking football by default that requires a dominance regarding possession of the ball, however, La Albiceleste is also capable of using a different approach to handle the hosts.

Chile will attack from kickoff

Though this competition showed the dark side of the Chile national team, they are still an out and out bielsista gang. It is not clear whether the pressure of being the host nation of the tournament forced them to use dirty tricks like fingering Edinson Cavani’s backside to provoke a red card by Gonzalo Jara, or just their coach Jorge Sampaoli decided that it is time for being more pragmatic, and to move away from the role of the online gaming audience’s sympathetic losers.

Jara was banned from Copa America due to harassing Cavani during the game. 

Anyways, after a couple of controversial matches, Chile is far less tempting in the eyes of football aficionados, even though they are still a side that applies a radical style of attacking football. They might have become less naïve, but Chile is still about constant pressing, attacking, running and maintaining possession. They are good to watch for punters who wager at online sportsbooks in the US and since they now seem to combine this extremely exciting football with the black or at least grey tone of South American football, they can be successful as well.

Not that it would be impossible to win a major trophy with the way their former coach Marcelo Bielsa introduced them, but it obviously makes a team vulnerable against more astute sides if everyone knows beforehand what will happen in the game. However, in a tournament, where teams have to play six or seven matches only, constant pressing is possible to maintain from start to the end, so winning in the Bielsa way might be possible. But Chile is now not a bunch of idealists, they are the hosts, and their fans demand the first Copa title in their history.

Still, Sampaoli, who might be more pragmatic and intimidating towards referees than his fellow Argentine predecessor Bielsa, he probably won’t change the default game of his team for the final. His squad consists of short, quick and skillful players only, so their only chance might be to enforce their will on Argentina, press them, push them into mistakes and capitalize on gaining possession in their half.

Argentina can choose their approach

And there is a chance that Argentina will let them do that, or let them think that they are doing that. Former Barcelona manager Tata Martino also has a team that prefers attacking, possession-based football, but the traditions of Argentinian football and the qualification of their players enables them to play a more tactical and pragmatic football than their counterparts.

Argentina actually showed in the semifinal against Paraguay that with their lightning quick and clinical attackers they could be lethal on the break. With Lionel Messi operating in midfield, releasing pinpoint balls towards the likes of Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria, a team coming at them stubbornly could be their perfect prey. It is a question though whether Martino will opt to that stance from the start or intend to use it as plan B once they took the lead.

Lionel Messi and Claudio Bravo

Messi is to play against his teammate Bravo.  (Photo: Destination Soccer)

It is also possible that he will add more muscle to the midfield and deploys Messi up front, where, playing closer to the goal of his Barcelona teammate, Claudio Bravo, he can cause more damage on his own and also capitalize on his speed when countering Arturo Vidal and co.

It will be interesting to see whether Martino’s team will fight for possession with the hosts, or let them do their thing, trying to absorb the pressure and catch them on the break. Anyhow, Argentina are favorites to win the final as Bet365 offers a 2.10 (11/10) odds for them winning in regulation, while Chile are underdogs with 3.80 (14/5). Draw, which means overtime before penalty shootout, is 3.50 (5/2).

Argentina are 1.53 (8/15) to lift the trophy, while Chile’s odds is considerably higher 2.50 (6/4). Though US gambling laws
differ from state to state, those players residing in a territory with an officially regulated sports betting market could make some money on the final while enjoying this extremely intriguing game between two of the most exciting teams around.

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