Chile 4, Japan 0
Chile’s experienced Copa America team proved too good for Japan’s young squad.
The two-time defending champions opened their Copa America campaign with a 4-0 win over the Asian guests yesterday [Macau time], with Eduardo Vargas scoring a pair of goals to become Chile’s all-time leading scorer in the South American competition.
Erick Pulgar and Alexis Sanchez also scored for the titleholders, which are trying to become the first nation to win three straight Copa titles since Argentina in the late 1940s.
Vargas scored twice in the second half to reach 12 goals with Chile in the tournament, two more than Enrique Hormazabal.
The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay, which opened with a 4-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday.
“Chile has players who are very experienced, who know each other very well,” Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “The challenge today was to avoid a bad debut. We were humble and entered with our feet on the ground. We were playing against a team that was very competitive in all sectors.”
Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time, brought to Brazil a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The Japanese youngsters struggled against the veteran Chilean squad which was in control from the start at the Morumbi Stadium.
Chile won the last two editions of the Copa America, beating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the final both in 2015 and 2016. Argentina is the only team to have won three consecutive South American titles, from 1945-47. AP