Not sure if you know this, but there was a Copa America tournament held last year in Chile. The host nation beat neighbor Argentina 4-1 in penalty kicks after the sides tied 0-0 through regulation and extra time. And 2016 is the first time since the 1950s that a Copa America has been held in back-to-back years — the tournament wanted to hold a 100th anniversary event — so perhaps it’s fitting that Chile and Argentina square off again in Sunday’s final of the Copa America Centenario at MetLife Stadium outside New York City. The Argentines, the world’s No. 1 team, are -135 favorites to win the match with Chile at +425 and a regulation draw at +260 on the betting lines.
Date/Time: Sunday, June 26, 6:00 PM
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey Soccer Spread: Argentina -½-135 TV Broadcast: FS1, Univision, Univision Deportes, Fox Sports Go Online: univisiondeportes.comArgentina advanced with a 4-0 rout of the United States in a semifinal match in Houston on Tuesday. Frankly, it wasn’t that close. The world’s best player, Lionel Messi, scored on a ridiculous free kick in the first half. Messi became the nation’s all-time leading scorer with 55 international goals. Messi had been tied with Gabriel Batistuta, who struck 54 times in 78 appearances for Argentina in an international career that ran between 1991 and 2002 and included winning the 1991 and 1993 Copa America and scoring hat tricks in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Messi, 28, has broken that record in his 112th senior international appearance. Messi also has now scored more goals for Argentina (38) as captain than the legendary Diego Maradona (34) did in his entire Argentina career. Messi has five goals and five assists in very limited action in this event and is in line for another Golden Ball award. However, Argentina will be missing another key player in Ezequiel Lavezzi, who opened the scoring in the third minute vs. the USA. He fell backward over an advertising sign board and appeared to land hard on his left arm at about the 60th minute. Lavezzi was able to get up several minutes later and left on a cart. He suffered a broken left elbow and was to have surgery on Friday in New York. He will need about two months to recover but will be on the sideline Sunday. The former Paris Saint-Germain player made a high-profile move to Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune earlier in the year. Chile, meanwhile, beat Colombia 2-0 in Chicago in the other semifinal on Wednesday. Early goals by Charles Aranguiz and Jose Fuenzalida staked La Roja to an early lead, and though Colombia created their share of chances, it couldn’t make the breakthrough. The Chileans played Colombia without star midfielder Arturo Vidal due to yellow cards but he’ll be back for this match. Chile lost midfielder Pablo Hernandez to a knee injury early vs. Colombia and will be sweating the fitness of another central midfielder, Marcelo Diaz, who was forced to miss the semifinal. Chile also had the most impressive win of this tournament, a 7-0 destruction of Mexico in the quarterfinals. But Argentina beat Chile 2-1 in the group stage. Messi didn’t play as he was dealing with a back injury. He was not needed as Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega scored early in the second half to put Argentina in control before Jose Fuenzalida headed home a late consolation effort for Chile. Expert Prediction Go Argentina on betting lines and under the goals. It will be the first major title for La Albiceleste since the 1993 Copa and revenge for last year in Chile. Since losing the most recent World Cup and Copa America finals, Argentina will be very much looking to make amends.
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