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Chile´s Diaz talks up hosts as ´the best team in the group stages´

Marcelo Diaz said Chile were the best side in the Copa America group stages, as they prepare to dethrone reigning champions Uruguay.

The tournament hosts topped Group A and scored 10 goals – more than double the tally of any other team – to set up a quarter-final meeting with Oscar Tabarez’s outfit in Santiago on Wednesday.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men suffered only one on-field blip – a 3-3 draw with Mexico – with midfielder Diaz claiming Chile were the best performed of the 12 nations in the first phase. 

“The statistics are clear, I think Chile did very well in the group stages,” he told a news conference.

“Our performances were progressing with [each game]. There were very good teams in the other groups, but I agree that Chile were the best team in the group stages.

“We are now in the quarter-finals, and a new tournament begins, one of life and death, and we must be prepared.”

Diaz also warned of the challenge of facing the Copa champions, but pledged to “give his life” against Uruguay – with Chile beating their South American rivals only once in their past four meetings.

“Uruguay are a very tough opponent, and we know how they play. They have a totally different style to us, which doesn’t mean it’s better or worse,” he added.

“We know their strengths, and we are working on that. We know that we also have our strong points and we have to use them to complicate a team that is very organised defensively.

“It’s a team who will exploit our mistakes and commit the fewest. We will give our lives for Wednesday’s game.”

Chile and Uruguay last met in November at the Estadio Monumental in a friendly, with the latter coming from behind to triumph 2-1.

Diaz, who featured that day in Santiago, wants his side to improve on the errors made during the encounter.

“We both played a great match, but two errors cost us dearly,” the Hamburg man added.

“We will do everything possible to reach the semi-finals. Our best way to fight Uruguay is to have the ball and play our game.

“The only way to achieve success is with the support of all who are aspiring to the same thing. We are a team in which each player is dependent on the other, a collective.”

The winner of Chile-Uruguay will meet one of Peru or Bolivia in the semi-finals in Santiago on June 29.

Mon 22 Jun, 2015
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