Alexis all set for Copa America quarter-final
Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez hopes to continue his good form at the 2019 Copa America tournament, when Chile face Colombia in the quarter-finals this weekend.
Colombia, who Chile will face at 20:00 local time in Sao Paulo on Friday night (00:00 BST Saturday), are regarded as one of the tournament favourites after beating Argentina, Paraguay and the invited guests Qatar in Group B.
Alexis v Uruguay Gallery
Check out these action shots from a big Copa America clash.
Chile are the defending champions at this summer’s Copa America in Brazil, after lifting the giant trophy in both 2015 and 2016, but they must overcome a big challenge to succeed this summer.
If they are victorious against Radamel Falcao’s Colombia in their quarter-final at the impressive Corinthians Arena, then a difficult semi-final tie awaits against the winner of Uruguay versus Peru.
In the other half of the draw, many pundits expect the historic rivals of Argentina and Brazil to see off Venezuela and Paraguay respectively and meet at the last-four stage.
Chile versus Argentina or Brazil would then make for a highly-anticipated final, but Alexis and his team-mates must first do the business against Colombia.
Alexis played a pivotal role when Chile won the Copa America for the first time in their history, on home soil in 2015, by scoring the winning penalty in a shootout against Sergio Romero’s Argentina.
Our no.7 executed a Panenka-style penalty to secure victory and, during a recent interview at the Aon Training Complex, the no.7 explained his thinking behind such an audacious execution.
“I decided to do it on my last step, or the last two or three steps,”Alexis explained.
“I was going to hit it high and hard and when I took my third step I thought, ‘I'll put my heart into this - I'm confident and I believe in myself’. When the keeper, Chiqui [United's Sergio Romero], went the other way you could see it was going in. It really was a wonderful moment.
“The feeling was...how can I explain it to you? A feeling whereby you can't remember anything, you can't assess anything. You see everyone, your team-mates, jumping on top of you and, afterwards, you sit down at home to reflect and understand what you did because at that moment you can't imagine anything. You think you've won, but it really is afterwards when you sit down and think, ‘Did I score that goal in the last minute and if I'd missed would people have criticised me?’
“Football is very much decided in seconds, where things can go one way or another in a second. If you miss a chance, the other team score and that's the way it is. It’s a beautiful thing about football.”
So has Alexis ever spoken to Romero about that penalty?
“No,” he admitted.
“To be honest, Chiqui doesn't want to talk about it because he knows we beat them. It was a battle that was really nice for me because we'd always faced each other, when we'd play Chile versus Argentina games.
“We played in Argentina and then we played in Chile. We always faced each other. I'd always hit the post against him and if I’m not mistaken I've only scored against him from the penalty spot, but in general it's gone well.”
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