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Chile v Ecuador: Hosts determined to improve at Copa America

Chile are determined to build on their World Cup showing and progress deep into the Copa America on home soil, according to captain Claudio Bravo.

Jorge Sampaoli and Co. host the 44th edition of the Copa America and open the tournament against Group A rivals Ecuador in Santiago on Thursday.

South America’s showpiece event is a year on from the World Cup in Brazil, where Chile lost to the host nation on penalties in the round of 16.

Chile’s exit still lingers among the playing squad and Bravo, who heads into the tournament fresh from winning the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona, says the team can go further in their quest for a maiden Copa America title.

“The World Cup left us bitter, because some players did not arrive in the best condition,” Bravo told reporters, referring to team-mate Arturo Vidal, who went into the World Cup struggling with a knee injury.

“We want to demonstrate, as we did in Brazil 2014, that we are a very strong team. I think we can improve so that we do not lack what we lacked in Brazil, and go further.

“We are a team that works hard and knows our strengths and weaknesses, and continue to demonstrate on the pitch that we are a powerful team.”

Chile – Copa America runners-up on four occasions – have played 10 matches since the World Cup, winning half of those fixtures, including last week’s 1-0 international friendly result over El Salvador.

Opponents Ecuador come into the curtain-raiser a little more prepared, having played one extra game.

Ecuador contested back-to-back fixtures against Panama last week, drawing the first match before routing the Central Americans 4-0 three days later.

Coach Gustavo Quinteros is aware Ecuador – without injured winger Antonio Valencia for the tournament – are the underdogs heading into Thursday’s clash.

“The advantage that Chile have is [experience] working with the same coach and the same players,” he said.

“They are virtually the same team that played at the 2014 World Cup. That’s that advantage they have – how to operate. They all know what they have to do and do it automatically.”

Wed 10 Jun, 2015
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