Chile need best of Sanchez in Copa final

2015-06-30 16:45
Alexis Sanchez (File)

Santiago - Chile need Alexis Sanchez to recover his best form as they try to end an almost century-long wait for a first Copa America, according to coach Jorge Sampaoli.

Sampaoli's team reached the final with a 2-1 win over Peru on Monday and will meet the winners of Tuesday's semi-final between favourites Argentina and Paraguay at the national stadium on Saturday.

"When Alexis is not in the fullness (of form) that he has us used to, Chile feel it," Sampaoli said.

"If he is feeling good, he's the most decisive player in this team. We must recover him well because he's vital to us," added the Argentine.

Sanchez has shown flashes of his class in the tournament but contributed only one of Chile's 13 goals in five matches.

Sampaoli suggested the pressure from home fans to reach the final as hosts and win the 99-year-old tournament for the first time affected the team.

Chile were not at their best trying to break down a Peru side reduced to 10 men for 70 minutes after a red card for defender Carlos Zambrano, he said.

"This was the match in which we most lost our shape  Defensively the team struggled a lot to get their shape to recover the ball, we usually get it back much quicker than today (Monday)," Sampaoli said.

"Our anxiety played against us," Sampaoli told reporters.

Defender Mauricio Isla, scorer of the goal that gave Chile a 1-0 win over 2011 champions Uruguay in their quarter-final, echoed that sentiment.

"It wasn't our best match, we had been showing good touch, great finishing and today we got tired," he said.

"Peru complicated us quite a bit, even with a man less. I think the pressure got to us."

The Peruvians were not given much of a chance before the tournament but Sampaoli believes they can carry their much improved form into the 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting in October.

"(Peru) grew throughout the tournament and their big names became stronger and are in great form," said Sampaoli of the work of their coach Ricardo Gareca in the short time he has been in charge.

"From midfield towards the front they have nothing to envy any national team in the Americas."

Peru had a poor 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and are still looking to reach the finals for the first time since 1982.

Read more on:    chile  |  copa america  |  alexis sanchez  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

After Stuart Baxter stepped down as Bafana Bafana head coach, who would you like to see take over?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.