It’s best to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Copa America; Peru went 1-0 up against Brazil in their opener, universally-unfancied Bolivia knocked out Mexico and Ecuador in Group A, and Colombia only just squeaked through to the last eight after finishing third in their mini-league.
With that in mind, bwin are surely taking a risk going 4/1 about Uruguay seeing off hosts Chile in the quarter finals.
First off, Oscar Tabarez’s men are the reigning champions, having come through an even wackier Copa America renewal four years ago, which saw Luis Suarez and co joined by Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela in the last four.
That was the fifth time in the past six runnings of this competition that Uruguay at least made the semi-finals, and no country has won the Copa America on more occasions than La Celeste’s 15.
Secondly, Uruguay’s record against Chile’s is solid, with just three losses in 17 games since the sides first met at Copa America 1967.
They’ve also won two of the past three meetings, including a 4-0 romp four years ago, with all the goals coming from Suarez, in qualifying for World Cup 2014, but the result of their last encounter should prove the most telling.
Without the Barcelona hitman, who has been suspended from international duty since last summer’s World Cup, Uruguay travelled to Santiago and beat a Chile side replete with Alexis Sanchez, Gary Medel and Arturo Vidal 2-1, courtesy of Diego Rolan and Alvaro Gonzalez’s come-from-behind efforts.
They’ll both be involved at the Estadio Nacional, having started for Tabarez last time out in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay.
Uruguay have been no mugs in this tournament, with their only negative result so far the 1-0 loss to a full-strength Argentina outfit, replete with Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore and goalscorer Sergio Aguero.
There was no disgrace in their stalemate with Paraguay, who put up a huge fight to draw 2-2 against Argentina in their opener, so the holders’ meaty odds must be due to their lacklustre 1-0 victory over Jamaica, allied with the hosts’ fine form.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side battered Bolivia 5-0 last time out, but weren’t terribly convincing when beating Ecuador 2-0 in their opener, needing a 67th-minute converted penalty from Vidal to break the deadlock, and sandwiched in a 3-3 draw with Group A bottom-feeders Mexico.
Chile are a top-price 4/5 with bwin, but Uruguay at 4/1 should be snapped up in a tournament they clearly love.