A clash between the two best teams on paper, two sides expected to meet again in a Copa America final – so strap your seatbelts and enjoy the ride that Argentina vs Chile is bound to give in this Copa America Centenario Group D match in Santa Clara on Monday.
With both sides expected to march their way into the knockout stages by finishing in the top two – the other two teams are Panama and Bolivia – this game will probably end up being the one that decides the group winners. Both Argentina and Chile will want to finish top of the group, not just to potentially avoid a difficult opponent in the quarterfinals, but also to give them that extra bit of confidence and belief that they are on course to win the title, or, at least, reach the final.
While Chile go into this match with a full-strength team – the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal look primed for another title tilt – Argentina are likely to be without their talisman Lionel Messi. The Barcelona striker is yet to fully recover from a back injury and while Argentina manager Gerardo Martino did not go as far as to completely rule his best player out, he did look resigned at having to do without Messi, at least from the start.
Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America last year, and with the Albiceleste also losing in the FIFA World Cup final in 2014, there is a lot of pressure on the team to go all the way this time around. A comprehensive win, especially if it comes without Messi, will give Argentina the confidence that they can finally end that major trophy drought.
"The team won't change at all from what we have planned since we left Buenos Aires, because the players in the Argentinean national team understand this is a new possibility [to win the title]," Martino was quoted as saying by MLS' official website.
"In the last two years they've had the chance to compete in two very important tournaments like the World Cup and Copa America. This will be our third opportunity and we're going to try to take advantage of it."
To take advantage of it, Argentina need to beat teams like Chile, and even without Messi – they have the likes of Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero in the squad – they have the firepower to get the better of any team.
Chile will treat this tournament as the potential icing on their still-tastes-good Copa America cake from last year, and how well they do in this Centenario edition will depend much on how quickly they adapt to new manager Juan Antonio Pizzi's tactics. Chile just haven't been able to pick up the kind of results they would have liked under Pizzi, and that needs to change if they are to make it two Copa America titles in two years.
Where to Watch Live
Argentina vs Chile, the second Group D match of the day, is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. BST, 7.30 a.m. IST). Here are all the TV and live streaming options of the big match.
India: TV: Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Live Streaming: Sony Liv.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 1 and Univision. Live Streaming: FoxSoccer2Go.
Argentina: TV: TYC Sports and DirecTV.
Brazil: TV: SporTV.
South America/Latin America: TV: DirecTV. Live Streaming: DirecTV live.
Mexico: TV: Univision, TDN, Azteca.
UK: TV: Premier Sports. Live Streaming: Premier Player.
Australia, France and Spain: TV: Bein Sports (Spain also Canal + and Movistar Futbol). Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
China and Hong Kong: TV: PPTV Sports and LeTV.
Singapore: Singtel. Live Streaming: Singtel Go.
Thailand: TrueSport 1.