There should be a palpable sense of urgency from the opening whistle on Friday (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1) as Chile meets Bolivia at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro -the second match for both countries in the 2016 Copa America.
As the defending champions, Chile is expected to do well this time around but they’ll need a win after dropping their opener 2-1 to Argentina on Monday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California(a rematch of the thrilling 2015 Copa America Final that Chile won in penalty kicks). Conversely, few will pick Bolivia to get a draw or a shocking win after it fell 2-1 to Panama on Monday in its opener.
Argentina could be the class of the tournament and its win over Chile means that the rest of Group D is likely playing for second-place (the other quarterfinal spot). The two winners – Argentina and Panama -from Monday meet later on Friday (9:30, Fox Sports 1) at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Let’s assume that Argentina grabs another three points there, wrapping up first-place in only two matches just like Colombia accomplished on Tuesday with its 2-1 victory against Paraguay at the Rose Bowl. For that reason, Chile absolutely has to beat Bolivia and it would help to run up the score a bit even though a minus-1 goal differential coming in isn’t backbreaking by any means. Remember, the U.S. went from minus-2 after its 2-0 opening loss to Colombia to a plus-2 after its4-0 romp of Costa Rica on Tuesday.
Chile could be in worse shape since it was about to lose to Argentina 2-0 before midfielder Jose Fuenzalida scored for them in the 93rd minute (a healthy amount of injury time). That goal ensured that the loss to Argentina, while bitter, wasn’t even more costly. With world-class players like midfielder Arturo Vidal and striker Alexis Sanchez, it’s only a matter of time before Chile’s powerful offense gets untracked in this tournament. It was scoreless against Argentina until the 51st minute when star midfielder Angel Di Maria scored and then teammate Ever Banega followed that up with a tally of his own just eight minutes later, leaving Chile shell-shocked.
The Panama-Bolivia match was closer as Panama’s striker Blas Perez opened the scoring in the 11th minute but Bolivian striker Juan Carlos Arce tied it in the 54th minute. Perez notched his second goal in the 87th minute, a brutal time for Bolivia to give up a game-winning goal. The bad news for Bolivia is that it squandered by far its best chance to get points in this group. It’s doubtful that it’ll do anything against Chile or Argentina, meaning that it will have a short stay in the 2016 Copa America.