With the quarter-final stage done and dusted, just four teams remain. In the first semi-final on Tuesday, Chile face Peru at Estadio Nacional in their capital Santiago, for a place in next Sunday’s final.
Hosts Chile battled past a stubborn and belligerently defensive Uruguay in the last eight, after scoring the only goal of the game, via the unlikely source of right-back and former QPR-loanee, Mauricio Isla.
In a heated and closely fought encounter, where Uruguay had Jorge Fucile and an emotionally turbulent Edinson Cavani dismissed, Chile once again impressed offensively – as La Roja had done in the group stages of the tournament – but the efforts of messrs Sanchez, Vidal and the majestic Jorge Valdivia were thwarted until the 81st minute, preventing a penalty shoot-out versus La Charruas.
In their home Copa America, Chile have driven forward in every game and coach Jorge Sampaoli has drilled his charges well and look organised.
Chile remain unbeaten in the competition, with 10 goals to their name and after toppling the reigning Copa champions will fancy their chances against their coastal American neighbours, Peru.
Sampaoli may have an abundance of talent to call upon, but his opposite number, Ricardo Gareca, also has his own aces.
Former Hamburg striker Paolo Guerrero is fresh off a hat-trick versus Bolivia in the quarter-finals and will be La Blanquirroja’s main threat, but not their lone one.
Fiorentina’s Juan Manuel Vargas and Schalke 04’s Jefferson Farfan will cause problems in the wide areas for their opponents, as will veteran Claudio Pizarro, though the latter will likely be sourced from the bench.
Chile may be reassured in the knowledge that unlike Uruguay, Peru cannot rely solely on their defensive forces. As such Peru will attack and the Chileans’ will be afforded more space with the ball, where the likes of Alexis will be important in the spaces given to him.
Jorge Sampaoli will have to decide whether to stick with Eugenio Mena from the victory over Uruguay or bring back Jean Beausejour as more of an offensive threat for Chile, in the left-back spot. Elsewhere Chile will likely roll out a similar 4-2-3-1 versus Peru.