Argentina vs Chile Preview

Argentina and Chile will lock horns in the 2016 Copa America Final
Argentina will meet reigning champions Chile in a rematch of the 2015 Copa America final.
Copa America 2016 Final | Monday 27 June | MetLife Stadium | 02:00

Argentina and Chile will lock horns in the 2016 Copa America Final; a repeat of the 2015 showpiece, which the Chileans were victorious after a penalty shoot-out was needed to separate the teams. 

Now, Argentina will have the chance to avenge that hugely disappointing defeat. The sides did meet in their opening group game, which Argentina claimed a 2-1 win. 

But this is the final - the stakes are higher, the fans are on edge and the pressure is on. 

Can Argentina finally claim their first trophy in 23 years? Or can Chile upset the applecart for a second consecutive year? 

To Win (90mins)
Argentina 17/20
Draw 47/20
Chile 34/10

Argentina

There's little to suggest Argentina will be stopped in the final. Other than a 2-1 triumph against Chile in their opener, Argentina have won by at least three goals in each of their last four matches. La Albiceleste thrashed Panama 5-0, and Bolivia 3-0 in the group stages, before hammering Venezuala 4-1 and USA 4-0 in the knockout stages. This is a team with an embarrassment of riches within their roster, most notably their attacking options. 

Gonzalo Higuain, Erik Lamela and Ezequiel Lavezzi have combined for eight goals this tournament. But it all comes down to Barcelona’s maestro Lionel Messi, who is the motor of La Albiceleste. Arguably the best all-around player on the planet, he is an elite scorer and distributor as he's shown throughout this tournament with five goals and four assists. Argentina's defence has also been rock-solid this entire tournament, conceding just two goals along the way. 

With expectations come great pressure, though. This will be Argentina's third straight major final, and after experiencing massive disappointment in each of the last two, managing the psychological game will be part of manager Tata Martino's most important tasks in the build-up to Monday. 

That said, with Messi being Messi, Higuain bringing his scorching-hot Napoli form to the knockout stage, a midfield showing extreme dedication and a widely questioned defence that is holding its own, La Albiceleste has a fantastic chance to end a painful chapter for a golden generation and bring some silverware back to Buenos Aires. 

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Chile 

If there was a team, though, that could ask questions of Argentina, it's Chile, which defeated La Albiceleste in the 2015 Copa America final on penalties.  

Chile may have started the tournament with a 2-1 defeat to Argentina, but they slowly found their feet as they edged Bolivia 2-1 in their following game before ousting Panama 4-2. In the knockout stages, they turned up the heat, starting with a 7-0 walloping of Mexico, and then a hard-fought but well-deserved 2-0 victory over Colombia to advantage to a second consecutive Copa America final. 

Like Argentina, Chile is loaded with dangerous scorers, led by Eduardo Vargas, who has a tournament-best six goals.  He's teamed up brilliantly with Alexis Sanchez, who has three goals of his own this tournament. They'll also receive a boost with Arturo Vidal's return in the final. Vidal was suspended for the semi-final against Colombia due to yellow-card accumulation. 

Chile primarily flexed their muscles in their resounding 7-0 thumping of Mexico in the quarter-finals, including four goals from Vargas, who showed his ability to be a poacher inside of the box. Their defence has been solid as of late just like Argentina's. After allowing four goals in their first three games, Chile has shut out Mexico and Colombia, which should be a confidence booster heading into Monday’s electrifying finale.   

Betting Verdict: Argentina (17/20) 

Both teams have been in red-hot form, but there can only be one winner. Argentina have won all their games, and it would be a huge call to say their winning streak will end here. Messi and company are on the brink of greatness, and surely this time they will make sure nothing stands in their way of claiming their first international honour in 23 years. 

Written by Aaron Crowie