18 June 2019
Japan will begin their third Copa America campaign at the Estádio do Morumbi in Sao Paulo as they take on Chile in their opening match in Group C.
The Samurai Blue have enjoyed a purple patch of form after exiting the World Cup in the knockout stage, having secured four wins in five friendly games before their participation in the Asian Cup (W4, D1). Notably, they have won all six of their matches at the most prestigious international competition in Asia before suffering a 3-1 defeat to Qatar in the final. Interestingly, five of those six triumphs have been settled by a narrow one-goal margin, with three of those games ending with the same 1-0 scoreline. But, although they come into this meeting off the back of a 2-0 win over El Salvador, Hajime Moriyasu’s men have endured mixed fortunes over the past three months (W2, D1, L1), with all of those clashes featuring under 2.5 goals.
Meanwhile, the back-to-back Copa America winners look to start their defending campaign off on the right foot after clinching a 2-1 victory over Haiti in their last warm-up game ahead of the tournament. But, Chile’s inability to find consistency has seen them pick up just three wins in nine outings over the past 12 months (W3, D3, L3). La Roja’s poor run of form has everything to do with their staggering defensive problems. Reinaldo Rueda’s players have not only struggled to keep a clean sheet in seven of their previous nine games, but they’ve allowed over 1.5 match goals four times in the process. An encouraging fact for the South Americans is that they’ve scored at least one goal in six consecutive games ahead of the tournament, bagging 2+ match goals on three occasions across that period.
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