Vidal: Chile are a team 'to be feared' at Copa America

Arturo Vidal, Chile

Arturo Vidal believes Chile are a team to be feared at the Copa America as his country look to rebound from not qualifying for last summer’s World Cup.

Chile have won the last two Copa Americas, in 2015 and 2016 beating Argentina on penalties each time, but the country’s ‘golden generation’ fell from grace when they failed to reach the sports marquee international tournament in 2018.

The squad has seen some serious overhaul since then with the 32-year-old Vidal now one of the oldest players in the 23 selected for the tournament, taking place in Brazil.

Despite that setback Vidal thinks Chile have what it takes to make an impression in this summer’s competition ahead of their first game with invitees Japan on June 17.

“This squad should be feared, from the beginning to the final,” the Barcelona midfielder told press from the team hotel in Sao Paolo.

“We hope it’s going to be something amazing, but we’re going to take it game by game.

“Everything is starting from new: a new process, new players, new coaches.

“It took us many days to talk about and clear up things.”

Japan have brought an inexperienced squad to South America, with 17 members yet to make their international debuts.

One player who has appeared for Japan is new Real Madrid signing Takefusa Kubo, dubbed ‘The Japanese Messi.’

Vidal asserted that his team were prepared for the challenges Kubo and his team would offer.

“[Kubo] is a player with real quality, there’s a reason he’s at Real Madrid,” the ex-Juventus and Bayern Munich man continued.

“We’ve seen him, analyzed him really well and we know how to stop this player.”

“Japan are an organized team, they’re quick and we have to be careful, concentrate and when they come out to play we have to attack them really quickly because afterward they go into a 4-5-1 and it’s really hard to score a goal.”

After the game with Japan, Chile go on to play Ecuador on June 21.

Vidal’s nation conclude their Group C schedule with a game against Uruguay on June 24.

Chile have only won one of their three games in 2019, a 2-1 win over Haiti on June 6. They lost 3-1 to Mexico and drew 1-1 with the USA in March.