2019 Copa America Betting Preview: Chile vs. Japan – Monday, June 17, 2019
When: Monday, June 17, 2019, at 07:00 PM
Where: Estadio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Odds: Japan +520, Draw +340, Chile -227 @ BetOnline
Chile will kick-off their Copa America title defense against a potentially weakened, yet unpredictable, Japan side that will rely on many fresh recruitments.
Both teams will face off at Estadio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (widely known as Morumbi) in Sao Paulo where Chile are strongly favored by the bookies, but the Samurai Blue have suffered just two defeats in their last 16 outings, all of them following an unfortunate 3-2 loss to Belgium in the 2018 World Cup round of 16.
Head-to-Head Stats (H2H)
Japan and Chile go head-to-head for the third time in their history but this will be their first competitive meeting. Japan, however, are unbeaten in the previous two matches – winning 4-0 ten years ago at the 2009 Kirin Cup (a friendly competition in Japan), while the first one in January 2008 ended in a goalless draw.
Chile – Team News
After the two memorable Copa America campaigns, Chile surprisingly missed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and Juan Antonio Pizzi resigned despite his triumph at the centennial Copa America and the solid performance at the 2017 Confederations Cup where Chile lost to Germany in the final.
La Roja still fails to adapt under Reinaldo Rueda but the upcoming Copa America will be their first competitive challenge since the 2018 World Cup qualifications. Thus Reinaldo Rueda's side is keen to bag the important points and kick-start another glorious campaign despite being rated outsiders to lift the title for the third successive edition.
In full contrast to their opponents, Chile's selection is extremely experienced, with ageing players laced throughout. However, this could potentially be the last Copa America for some of the players and they have another strong argument to play their best soccer at Brazil.
The likes of Mauricio Isla, Jean Beausejour, captain Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez have all surpassed 100 caps and could feature, while the 2015 and 2016 Copa America top scorer Eduardo Vargas can also claim a starting spot up front, especially if Sanchez fails to recover in time to start.
Sanchez's fitness is a major concern for the Chileans ahead of the tournament as he missed the friendly with Haiti (2-1) a few days ago due to an ankle injury, with the 26-years-old Club America attacker Nicolas Castillo likely to partner with Vargas if the Manchester United forward is not ready.
Japan – Team News
Twenty years after their Copa America debut, Japan is once again among the invited nations and the Samurai Blue will be looking to record their first win at the Copa America finals.
The Asian nation failed to impress at Paraguay 1999 when they lost to the host nation and Peru, before earning a point (1-1) against another underdog – Bolivia.
Japan head into their opening game against reigning champions Chile following a routine 2-0 victory over El Salvador, but coach Hajime Moriyasu surprised many people with his decision to pick the current squad for the Copa America.
Moriyasu has named 16 uncapped players (most of whom play in the domestic league), as well as the new Real Madrid signing Takefusa Kubo, who is hyped as the ‘Japanese Messi'. The 18-years-old attacking midfielder made his debut coming off the bench against El Salvador, but sixteen others are yet to record minutes for the senior team and it seems that the Japan Football Association (JFA) wants to use the Copa America opportunity as a general warm up for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which Tokyo will host.
The experience of veteran goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, midfielder Gaku Shibasaki, as well as the centre-forward Shinji Okazaki, who scored a brace in the 4-0 win against Chile in 2009, will be called upon to unite this new look squad.
Possible Starting Lineups of Chile and Japan
Chile: Gabriel Arias – Mauricio Isla, Guillermo Maripan, Gary Medel, Jean Beausejour – Charles Aranguiz, Erick Pulgar, Esteban Pavez – Arturo Vidal – Eduardo Vargas, Nicolas Castillo. (3-4-1-2)
Japan: Eiji Kawashima – Takehiro Tomiyasu, Naomichi Ueda, Yuta Nakayama – Daiki Sugioka, Gaku Shibasaki, Teruki Hara, Tatsuya Ito – Takefusa Kubo, Shoya Nakajima – Shinji Okazaki. (3-4-2-1)
Following a disappointing World Cup campaign, Chile will now hope they can make a statement early on, having an impressive record of nine wins (two of them on penalties against Argentina in the last two finals) and a loss (against Argentina, again, in the 2016 group phase) in their last ten Copa America matches to build on.
In addition to the aforementioned back-to-back finals, this streak also includes some remarkable victories such as the 7-0 vs Mexico, 2-0 vs Colombia, 1-0 vs Uruguay and 5-0 vs Bolivia.
Japan have seen just two losses in their last 16 games and while one of those eventually cost them the Asian Cup trophy (3-1 to Qatar in the 2019 Asian Cup Final earlier this year), the Samurai Blue will send a completely different squad to South America.
Nevertheless, we cannot afford to underestimate a squad we don't know well and although the bookies are backing an easy win for La Roja, we will place our bet on goals – Over 2.25 (2, 2½) Goals in the Group C clash between Japan and Chile.