Mauricio Isla

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Chile feeling rejuvenated in search for third straight Copa America crown

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With all eyes on Tuesday’s heavyweight bout between Brazil and Argentina, Chile is pumping its chest as two-time defending Copa America champions, but there’s an unexpected feeling of rebirth around the aging squad as well.

Alexis Sanchez, who struggled through last season at Manchester United, has suddenly returned to form at the competition with a pair of goals and an assist. According to Chile head coach Reinaldo Rueda, there’s one secret ingredient Sanchez is missing at Manchester United which has seen him back to his best this summer.

“Love,” Rueda tabbed as the special sauce in his pre-match press conference. “In the national team and because of the attention they receive, the players don’t want to leave. Despite not playing for their clubs, they come here with commitment and forge a strong group.”

Rueda pointed to others in the South American competition who struggled at their clubs this season and are experiencing a rebirth at the Copa America. “That’s why players like [Barcelona’s Philippe] Coutinho, [Real Madrid’s] James [Rodriguez], or Alexis, who didn’t have a great season, become themselves again with the national team.”

Midfielder Arturo Vidal is on board with that mentality, motivated not only by the camaraderie among the players and adoration fromt he fans, but the goal in front of them: a historic third straight Copa America.

“We want to leave our legacy as triple champions, that’s our dream,” Vidal said. “That’s why we want to play our best match of the Copa against Peru. It would be something historic for us to get to the final and that’s our aim.”

Argentina is the only country to ever win three straight Copa America titles, securing it between 1945-47. Even as Uruguay and Argentina dominated South America in the 1910’s, 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s and the competition was held on a more regular basis, it was still difficult to sustain repeated success.

As Chile meets a Peru side that held Uruguay off the scoresheet before winning on penalties, the old guard in Sanchez, Vidal, Jean Beausejour, Mauricio Isla and captain Gary Medel – all over the 30-year-old mark – has to continue tapping into its youthful edge to attain a period of domination unmatched in over 70 years.

What time do Germany-Chile play in Confederations Cup 2017?

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KAZAN, Russia. – Die Nationalmannschaft have made two previous appearances at the FIFA Confederations Cup, the first of them coming at Mexico 1999, where the likes of Lothar Matthaus, Jens Lehmann and a young Michael Ballack formed part of a side that went out in the group phase. Germany will be heading to their third Festival of Champions as reigning World Cup holders, having secured a long-awaited fourth title at Brazil 2014. Tactically astute, technically gifted and well drilled, Joachim Low’s formidable side went unbeaten throughout the whole competition.

This will be Chile’s first appearance in this competition. Chile qualified for the Festival of Champions by winning a long-awaited and maiden Copa America title in July 2015. This historic feat, achieved on home soil, was secured with a tactically astute and ultra-attacking side that were able to handle the pressure and expectation of being hosts.

Thursday, June 22nd of 2017: Germany vs. Chile a las 2:00PM ET/1:00PM CT/11:00AM PT, live and exclusively on Telemundo and Telemundo Deportes En Vivo App.

Possible Lineups:

Germany: Kevin Trapp, Jonas Hector, Benedikt Hoewedes, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos, Mesut Oezil, Andre Schuerlle, Thomas Mueller y Mario Gomez.

Chile: Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Jean Beausejour, Charles Aranguiz, José Fuenzalida, Jorge Valdivia, Arturo Vidal, Eduardo Vargas y Alexis Sánchez.

What time do Cameroon-Chile play in Confederations Cup 2017?

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MOSCOW, Russia. – Cameroon will be making their third FIFA Confederations Cup appearance at Russia 2017, having graced the competition twice in a row at the start of the millennium. Despite a glorious past and its four continental titles, Cameroon went into the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 as outsiders, with a young and largely inexperienced squad and with confidence low after a string of disappointing results at recent international competitions. The surprise finalists rallied by their nucleus of more experienced players, with Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar scoring the goals that brought the country a fifth Africa Cup of Nations win.

This will be Chile’s first appearance in this competition. Chile qualified for the Festival of Champions by winning a long-awaited and maiden Copa America title in July 2015. This historic feat, achieved on home soil, was secured with a tactically astute and ultra-attacking side that were able to handle the pressure and expectation of being hosts.

Sunday, June 18th of 2017: Cameroon vs. Chile at 2:00PM ET/1:00PM CT/11:00AM PT, live and exclusively on Telemundo and Telemundo Deportes En Vivo App

Possible Lineups:

Cameroon: Joseph Ondoa, Adolphe Teikeu, Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Ambroise Oyongo, Collins Faï, Jacques Zoua, Arnaud Sutchuin Djum, Sebastien Siani, Robert Ndip Tambe, Benjamin Moukandjo y Christian Bassogog.

Chile: Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Jean Beausejour, Charles Aranguiz, José Fuenzalida, Jorge Valdivia, Arturo Vidal, Eduardo Vargas y Alexis Sánchez.

Chile on pace to miss World Cup after another big loss

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Ecuador clobbered Chile on Thursday, putting the Chileans behind the 8-ball in their quest to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia scored in the 19th minute to lead Ecuador to a 3-0 win at the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa in Quito. Goals from Cristian Ramirez and Felipe Caicedo also helped Ecuador move back into an automatic qualifying spot.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying ]

The result was also somewhat overshadowed by a bizarre incident in which police appeared to try and stop Enner Valencia from leaving the stadium on a stretcher. Earlier Thursday, reports emerged that Valencia was confronted by police regarding absent child support payments.

But the loss keeps Chile seventh, where they’ll remain regardless of tonight’s results. It’s a stunning turn of form for the back-to-back Copa America champions.

This is a side with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, Charles Aránguiz and Eduardo Vargas, Claudio Bravo and Mauricio Isla. Yet Chile is off the pace for Russia, and would waste the final prime World Cup cycles of all six players.

Chile has lost four of its first nine qualifiers, those defeats at the hands of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and now Ecuador.

There are still nine World Cup qualifiers left for Chile, and here they are:

Tuesday vs. Peru
Nov. 10 at Colombia
Nov. 15 vs. Uruguay
March 23, 2017 at Argentina
March 28, 2017 vs. Venezuela
Aug. 31, 2017 vs. Paraguay
Sept. 5, 2017 at Bolivia
Oct. 5, 2017 vs. Ecuador
Oct. 10, 2017 at Brazil

Think La Roja will rebound?

Copa America’s Best XI dominated by Chile, Argentina; Fair or foul?

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According to the Copa America Centenario Technical Study Group, all of the best players at Copa America Centenario were in Group D’s pair of finalists.

Given the star wattage of players on Chile and Argentina, perhaps that was always coming (Sorry, James Rodriguez, Clint Dempsey, John Brooks, and David Ospina: You’re mere semifinalists).

[ MORE: Chile repeats | Messi quits Argentina? ]

Anyway, the CACTSG handed out the Golden Boot (Eduardo Vargas), Golden Glove (Claudio Bravo) and Golden Ball (Alexis Sanchez), as well as a team Fair Play Award (Argentina).

As for the Best XI, plenty up for debate here:

Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Chile)
Defenders: Mauricio Isla (Chile), Nicolás Otamendi (Argentina), Gary Medel (Chile), Jean Beausejour (Chile)
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Arturo Vidal (Chile), Charles Aránguiz (Chile)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Argentina), Eduardo Vargas (Chile), Alexis Sánchez (Chile)

After allowing five goals in the group stage, Chile threw zeroes across its three knockout rounds games. That’s enough for Claudio Bravo, who had two howlers against Panama, to pass David Ospina? To the victors go the spoils.

You couldn’t reasonably slot James or Dempsey ahead of the trio of forwards, though if Alexis Sanchez is a “midfielder”, then surely you could fudge James’ position, too (especially if the third place game means anything). Presumably that would be over Charles Aranguiz in the midfield.

Perhaps Argentina’s 4-0 destruction of an otherwise stingy USMNT makes Brooks or Geoff Cameron unappealing at center back (despite allowing three goals in the tourney leading up to the semi)? And there wasn’t a single back better than Isla? Alright.

As for quarterfinalists, Venezuela’s Wilker Angel marshaled a back line that allowed just one goal before the 4-1 ouster from Argentina. And Mexico’s midfield had a strong tournament before siete a cero.

Well done, CACTSG; Not only does your initialism sound like a rapper from the desert, but you sleepwalked through your only job.