Argentina and Chile are set to do battle in the final of the Copa America in a repeat of last year’s final, with FC Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, Leo Messi and Claudio Bravo likely to start for their nations.
Following the disappointment of losing out on penalties in the final 12 months ago, Mascherano and Messi will be hungrier than ever to earn their first senior international medals. Bravo, on the other hand, will be looking to help his country secure a second consecutive Copa success, a year on from Chile’s first ever such trophy.
The two sides met in the opening group game of the special centenary edition of the tournament, which Argentina coming away 2-1 victors. Messi was unable to compete in that game due to injury, but has since returned to light up the tournament with five goals and two assists.
The two sides have faced each other 26 times in the history of the Copa America, with Argentina winning 20 times and drawing the other six - Chile’s glorious win on home soil last year came via a penalty shootout.
Chile’s only win over Argentina in official competition, over 90 minutes, came in 2008, in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Nevertheless, as Chile proved last year, records tend to mean very little when it comes to a final of such magnitude, and there is plenty of history to be written in New Jersey in the early hours of Monday morning.