Chile’s golden oldies improving with age: Reinaldo Rueda, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Chile’s golden oldies improving with age: Reinaldo Rueda

Chile's ageing players are like fine wine, coach Reinaldo Rueda said ahead of their Copa America semi-final against Peru this morning (Singapore time).

"As they get older, with more maturity, they get better," the Colombian said about his charges.

Eleven of the two-time defending champions' 23-man squad are over 30, including key players such as captain Gary Medel, midfielder Arturo Vidal and forward Alexis Sanchez.

copa america SEMI-FINAL

"Through their professionalism, this team has been rejuvenated since the tough psychological blow of missing the World Cup (in Russia last year)," said Rueda .

"And we have the good fortune to have a large percentage of players that have already played in (Copa America) semi-finals.

"With the football maturity this group has, I hope they have the intelligence to decipher Peru's game.

"They're an experienced group with several World Cups behind them, and they need to show that on the pitch."

Chile are the overwhelming favourites at the Arena do Gremio, not just because they are the defending champions.

In their quarter-final, they had two goals disallowed by the video assistant referee (VAR) before deservedly defeating Colombia on penalties.

Peru, meanwhile, needed VAR to come to their rescue three times against Uruguay, before triumphing in a penalty shoot-out.

That came after they were hammered 5-0 by Brazil in their final group match.

But Peru's Argentinian coach Ricardo Gareca is confident that his side are getting their confidence and form back after that blip.

He said: We're super motivated. We're an emotional team that has been forged through adversity, and in football terms, we're rediscovering ourselves.

"We can beat great teams, as we have done in this tournament, but mental fortitude is our strength."- AFP