Third/fourth place play-offs are so painstakingly meaningless that it is a wonder they haven’t been scrapped altogether. The Copa America is attempting to echo the European Championships by moving the competition to ‘even’ years from next year onwards. They should take that effort even further and do away with this pointless game.
Do Argentina really want to play for pride after they lost out to Brazil in a closely fought semi-final; their fourth near-miss at a major tournament since 2014? Do Chile want to play again having seen their bid for three in a row obliterated by an unfancied Peru team?
The winner of Saturday’s showdown will come down to who is even slightly bothered to try and win it. The wind has been knocked out of both teams’ sails, but Argentina at least battled gamely against the hosts and top-ranked team in the competition.
Chile, on the other hand, were taken apart by a streetwise Peru and the 3-0 reversal will be a lot tougher to recover from for an ageing side that looked as though it had run out of gas.
The knockout stages of the Copa America have been particularly poor in terms of goalscoring. In total seven goals have been scored across six games so far, but that poor record is made to look even worse by the fact that half of the games have gone without a goal at all.
There has been a total of nine clean sheets from the six games and no game has seen a both teams to score market click. If any game is to buck that trend, it is surely this one.
Genuinely, what is the point in Argentina and Chile playing cautiously? Both teams have absolutely nothing to lose, so will hopefully treat spectators to an entertaining game if nothing else.
Neither side has been particularly potent in front of goal, drawing blanks on five occasions between them. However, we’re hopeful that they’ll serve up something of a goalfest on Saturday night.
Dybala’s appearances at the Copa America have been limited to just three substitute appearances in Argentina’s last three games. It is bizarre that one of the most dangerous players in Europe can’t break into one of Argentina’s weakest ever sides, with his inability to play well with Lionel Messi touted as a major inhibition of his international career.
Having said that, there is bound to be a major reshuffle on Saturday with so little at stake. Dybala will surely get the call to lead the line and he will be eager to make an impression, especially with Messi’s Argentinian days drawing to a close.
A goal from the Juventus frontman is not the most unthinkable thing in the world and he is a very attractive price to find the back of the net.
*All odds correct at time of posting