The 2015 Copa America Final ended with the hosts, Chile, defeating Argentina on penalty kicks. Fast forward 11 months later and the two sides meet yet again, but this time, in their opening game of Group D.
Stars such as Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal andSergio Aguero headline the most exciting matchup in the first week of games.
Many have dubbed Argentina the favorites to win this summer's historic competition and with good reason. They are blessed with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Banega and Gonzalo Higuain, a group of attackers that would frighten even the best of defenses. There have been a handful of injury worries surrounding the squad in the build-up to their opener against Chile, with Messi stealing the headlines as he races to get fit in time to play. A 1-0 victory overHonduras in their lone friendly ahead of the tournament didn't provide much insight into what form Argentina are in but they are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the tournament. Messi, as well as Lucas Biglia and Javier Pastore, is working his way back from injury, which does cloud Gerardo Martino's team selection but theBarcelona superstar is expected to be ready. Martino must look at this as a must-win due to the fact that they are considered favorites to win the group and the tournament, so a defeat in their first game may send out worrying signs.
History between the two
Last summer's heartbreak in Chile will still be on the minds of both sides on Monday night and should make the game even more contested than before, but the most recent meeting told a different story as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 in World Cup Qualifying back in March. The last five games between the two South American giants have been a toss-up, with Argentina winning three while Chile were victorious in the other two encounters. There are plenty of friendships between the two squads but in such a historic tournament, those will go out the window for 90 minutes. This summer, another chapter is added to the historic rivalry and while Monday's game will likely determine who finishes top of Group D, we may just see a rematch in the Final. One should expect lots of action as the two giants square off in the Bay Area.
The two teams kickoff at 7:00 PM PT at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.