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Chile aims to duplicate Copa success on American soil

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Group A of the 2024 Copa America appears to be Lionel Messi and Argentina’s to lose, however one team that will not be taking a backward step from the defending champions in group play is two-time winner Chile.
 
Chile captured the Copa America title at home in 2015 and the last time the tournament was held in the United States in 2016.
 
On both occasions they defeated Messi and Argentina in the final on penalties to take home the trophy.
 
Since their victory at MetLife Stadium in 2016, the international road has been a bumpy one for Chile.
 
Chile’s 3-0 loss to Brazil on the final day of CONMEBOL qualifying kept them out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and a Peru victory over Paraguay ended any hopes of them getting into the field at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
 
They are also off to a slow start in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in Canada, the United States and Mexico, with only a win and two draws in their first six games.
 
In the midst of their most recent qualifying troubles, manager Eduardo Berizzo resigned his position and was replaced by Ricardo Gareca, also known as el Tigre.

Ricardo Gareca Chile
Ricardo Gareca

Gareca leads Chile into Copa

Gareca arrives with experience on the international stage. The 66-year-old guided Peru to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which they qualified for through an international playoff against New Zealand.  
 
The Argentina-born manager also got Peru to the final of the 2019 Copa America, where they were defeated 3-1 by host Brazil.
 
He has a proven track record of competing with an underdog.
 
One of the key men in Gareca’s squad will be veteran forward Alexis Sanchez. The 35-year-old is Chile’s leader in caps and goals for the men’s national team and has been well travelled in his club career as well.
 
Currently playing for Inter Milan in Serie A, Sanchez has also spent time with La Liga’s Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United of the Premier League and Ligue 1’s Marseille.
 
Sanchez scored the decisive penalty for Chile in their 2015 Copa America triumph and contributed three goals to the title run in 2016.
 
Eduardo Vargas, another veteran in the Chilean squad, shared the Golden Boot at the 2015 Copa America and captured it outright with six goals in 2016.
 
The 34-year-old is currently with Atlético Mineiro of Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.
 
Keeper Claudio Bravo has been captain of the Chilean national team since 2008 and was the man in net for both penalty triumphs over Argentina, earning the right to lift the trophy in consecutive tournaments.
 
The 41-year-old is currently a member of La Liga club Real Betis and previously played for Real Sociedad and Barcelona as well as Premier League team Manchester City.
 
While Chile will have a lot of veterans in team, they will also have young players getting their first chance to really shine on the international stage.
 
One of those players will be Marcelino Núñez, a dynamic midfielder that plays for Norwich City in the EFL Championship, the second division of English football.
 
The 24-year-old had two goals and three assists this season for Norwich as he helped pull the strings in their midfield.
 
Along with Argentina, Chile will also face Canada during the Group Stage of the 2024 Copa America.
 
The teams have not met since Chile hosted Canada in an international friendly in October of 1995 that took place in Concepción. The home team captured that contest 2-0.
 
They will wrap the round-robin portion of the tournament at Inter&Co Stadium on June 29 in a match that could very well determine if either team advances to the knockout stage of the Copa America