Our prediction for this Copa America match:
It has been 20 year since Japan played their last game at Copa America. The Samurai Blue failed to impress at the 1999 tournament and it has to be noted that they have yet to register a win at the Copa America finals. The Asian side head into their first group game against Chile following a routine 2-0 win over El Salvador and it has to be noted that they are eyeing their fourth consecutive clean sheet.
La Roja are determined to win their third Copa America trophy and they are seen as hot favourites to win their opener. Both Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez made the Chile Copa America squad and we predict that the duo is going to prove a handful for the opposition back-line. Anyhow, we predict that Chile are going to get their revenge on Japan for a heavy 4-0 loss at the 2009 Kirin Cup.
Highlighted Player (Hiroki Sakai):
Hiroki Sakai is a product of Kashiwa Reysol football academy and, as expected, he made his first-team debut with the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium outfit. Sakai played his first ever match for Kashiwa against Kofu (1-1) on May 5, 2010 and during the 2011 season he established himself as a first-team regular.
The pacey right back made 27 appearances for Kashiva in the 2011 season and he remained at the club until the summer of 2012. Hiroki Sakai then played for Hannover (2012-2016) and he scored two goals in 92 appearances in the league for the Bundesliga club. In 2016 he joined Marseille and he played regularly for OM in the 2016/2017 Ligue 1 campaign (35 appearances).
Sakai was born in Kashiva on April 12, 1990 and 22 years later he made his senior debut for Japan, playing 45 minutes in a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan. It has to be noted that the Marseille footballer has 17 caps for Japan U23 team as well.
Highlighted Team (Chile):
The Chilean Football Federation has been established in 1895 while Chile’s first-ever international game was a 3-1 loss to Argentina in 1910. The two countries formed a remarkable rivalry over the years and it was exactly against Argentina that Chile won their last major trophy – a 2015 Copa America title.
Prior to their 2015 title Chile had been runners-up in the competition on four different occasions. Chile triumphed in a dramatic final on penalty kicks to reach their first tournament championship. In a symbolic turn of events, Chile start their 2016 Copa America Centenario with a rematch against Argentina. The most capped player of the Chile national team is Barcelona goalkeeper who has past his 100-match mark with the squad he has been a part of since 2004.
Former Lazio and Juventus striker, the legendary Marcelo Salas is the leading scorer with 37 goals to his name. Key player to the current set up is Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez who has been the team’s leader on the pitch since 2006.