Bienvenidos to HotFooty’s Copa America Chile preview. From now until the Copa America opening game on June 3rd HotFooty will be profiling the top teams entering into the oldest tournament in the world. Never heard of Alexis Sanchez? Had no idea Chile was a country and not a delightful local spot to indulge in cheep wings and beers? We’ve got you covered. We’re kicking off the series with last tournament’s big winner, CHILE.

Chile – Team Info

Team nickname: La Roja (the Reds)Copa America Chile preview - team logo

Current FIFA world ranking: 3

Home stadium: Estadio Nacional, Santiago, Chile (Map Location, for those of us that need help knowing where this country is)

Copa America wins: One, in 2015. They won while hosting the tournament. They beat Argentina in the final game on penalty kicks when supremely ripped dog lover Alexis Sanchez dinked a penalty kick like a sneaky SOB past Argentina’s keeper.

World Cup wins: None, highest position was 3rd place in 1962

Randomest Fact: The first player sent off (Red Card) in World Cup history was Chilean forward, Carlos Caszely, in 1972 against West Germany

Biggest Rivals

Their biggest rival is Peru and dates back to their fist match in the 1930s and their longstanding disagreement on who invented the bicycle kick. Seriously. If these two teams square off in the tournament expect a lot of fans doing bicycle kicks in each-other’s faces in the stands. They are in separate groups though for the first stage of the tourney and can’t face off in the quarterfinals either. So unless Chile makes the semifinals, Peru gets past Brazil/Ecuador/Haiti in the group stage, and then win their first knockout match, the world will never get to see such dazzling fan-section acrobatics.

Argentina is a rival as well due to proximity (click map above to see what I’m talking about), but less so in the fact that they usually beat up on Chile. With the win against them in the Copa America finals 2015, however, Chile isn’t feeling so sheepish around the big boys anymore.

Featured Player to watch

Alexis Sanchez – let me introduce you to Thighs McShortsRideUpYurAzzzzz. Sanchez is their striker, leader, HR representative for the selfies division, chief thigh officer, dog whisperer, and wily veteran with 31 goals and 93 caps for the team (caps means an appearance for their international team. It’s called that because apparently the Brits used to give people a hat for an appearance, a practice I’d personally enjoy being renewed).

Sanchez is the kind of player who drives central defenders crazy. He likes to try to beat them on the dribble and create his own shots but also run in between them and try to out-leap them to get headers. He’s only 5’7” but he can seriously get up there. He also works harder than basically anyone you’ve ever seen, and frequently you’ll find him sprinting back to his half to chase down an opponent and get the ball back when he’s lost it on a risky dribble. He starts as a forward for massive English club Arsenal, and was their second highest signing of all time, for a reason. Definitely the guy to watch. Oh, and he loves showing off his thighs and dogs. No correlation.

 

“WHO WANTS THIS THIGH?! WHOOOOOOOOOO?” -Alexis interrogating the crowd

Other Players to Watch

Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich (formerly Juventus) is an absolute terror in midfield. The guy basically can do it all and should be feeding balls up to Sanchez all tournament and controlling the midfield. He’s like the Jermaine Jones of Chile, except better and younger. He was voted the Man of the Match in last year’s Copa Final against Argentina and also was selected for the Copa Team of the Tournament. His nickname when on Juventus was “The Warrior” because he delivers some crushing tackles, protecting the defenders from attack and intercepting passes, but he also was the teams choice penalty kick taker. Keep your eye on this fella.

Claudio Bravo from Barcelona. He’s been their starting keeper for some time and is an excellent player, but he’s was recently banged up and missed a couple matches, but should be in fine form after a healthy stretching session with Sanchez and his dogs.

Games to watch

Chile’s first game is a rematch of the last tournament’s finals on June 6th against Argentina. The game takes place in Santa Clara, California at Levi’s Field. Do yourself a favor and find a way to watch this. Need some help with that? Here’s the full group stage TV schedule. Or just get on your tightest shorts in honor of Sanchez and hit one of the thousands of bars that will be showing this game.

If you’re trying to go to travel to any of the group games and want help booking , check out this site for tickets and travel info. Or you can always go ticketmaster for tickets if you don’t need all the extras.