Portugal will meet Chile in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, on June 28 in Kazan. Here’s what to expect in the match.
Two of the three tournament debutantes at the 2017 Confederations Cup will meet in the first semifinal. European champions Portugal may not be top of their World Cup qualifying group, but they topped Group A with the best record of any side at the tournament.
Chile were the runners up in Group B, but were undefeated in the process, so will believe they can dispense with Cristiano Ronaldo and co. and reach the final. The teams last met in 2011, and both teams will field players who played in their previous encounter.
How did they get here?
Portugal began their campaign with an entertaining 2-2 draw against the CONCACAF representatives Mexico. Having led twice, and particularly as they took the lead for the second time in the 86th minute, they’ll feel they should have won. Both sides had 11 shots though, so a point each was probably fair.
Fernando Santos’ side followed this up with a 1-0 victory over the tournament hosts. Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead with an early header, but Russia were unable to fire a single shot on target in response.
Portugal’s final group match saw them comfortably beat New Zealand 4-0. Ronaldo, Nani and both Bernado and Andre Silva all scored to dispatch the tournament outsiders and ensure the European champions progressed as group winners.
Chile only won one group stage match, and put their victory on the board in their opening game. Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas were the scorers as Cameroon were defeated 2-0.
The South American champions then drew with Germany in their second match. Alexis Sánchez opened the scoring, and became Chile’s all-time top scorer in the process. Lars Stindl equalized before half time, though, and the match finished 1-1.
That result ensured that a draw in their final match would see Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side qualify. It took an equalizer from Martin Rodriguez to ensure that Chile were not beaten by Australia, but they got the point they required.
How will they play?
Despite facing three different formations in the group stage, Portugal used a 4-4-2 each time. It would be very surprising to see them try something different here.
Ronaldo will obviously take one of the berths up front. Nani partnered him in the opening match, but then Andre Silva took the role in the next two matches. As Silva both scored and assisted a goal against New Zealand, he’ll expect to keep his place.
Elsewhere their team is harder to predict. Pepe is the only one of the back four to feature in all three of their group stage matches. The full-backs are likely to be Cedric Soares and Raphael Guerreiro as the former has scored and the latter has assisted a goal in the tournament already. Bruno Alves has featured alongside Pepe in the last two matches, so will probably play in this one.
Fernando Santos has so far also rotated his options in the midfield throughout the tournament. No player started all three matches. The likes of Ricardo Quaresma, Bernado Silva and Joao Moutinho have started two of the three games so will perhaps feature in the semifinal. Chile will not be certain of who will play until they see the team sheet, though.
Much like Portugal, Chile employed the same formation in all three group stage matches. In their case, it was a 4-3-3.
Claudio Bravo is sidelined through injury, so Johnny Herrara will start in goal as he did in Chile’s first two matches. Gary Medel will also miss out due to a hamstring injury. The South Americans will likely field Paulo Diaz and Gonzalo Jara at the centre of their defense.
Like Portugal, Chile’s lineup is hard to predict. Arturo Vidal has started all three matches, but has played both up front and in midfield. He’s expected to be in the centre for this game, alongside Francisco Silva and Charles Aranguiz.
Up front, Martin Rodriguez may have earned himself a starting berth by scoring the crucial goal against Australia in their previous match. Either way, Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez will likely take the other two spots in Chile’s attacking trident.
Both teams only conceded two goals in the group stage, so it would be surprising if this match was high-scoring. Their last meeting was a 1-1 draw, though that was a friendly with nothing on the line.
Portugal had a confidence-boosting 4-0 win in their previous match, with six players either scoring or assisting a goal. The European champions have no injury concerns either, so will have enough to narrowly beat their South American rivals.
Portugal 2-1 Chile