Chile is riding high following their 7-0 trouncing of Mexico in Saturday night's Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal match, but their hopes to repeat such a performance may be slightly dashed with the absence of star midfielder Arturo Vidal.
Big absence for Chile
Vidal was booked for a late 39th-minute tackle against Mexico, his second yellow since the start of Copa America this summer. The yellow card accumulation rule states that if a player picks up two yellows at any point prior to the semifinals, he must sit out with a one-match ban. He assisted later on Chile's third goal, which was scored by Alexis Sanchez, and he scored both of Chile's goals in a tight, testy group stage win over Bolivia earlier in the competition.
The 29-year-old Bayern Munich man is of the world's best midfielders, and possibility its most versatile. His ability to drop back on defense and become a dangerous attacker has become the prototype for Chile's other top midfielders, right now fellow starters Charles Aranguiz and Marcelo Diaz.
Pizzi faced with a tough choice
Vidal's replacement will have to be the main question facing coach Juan Antonio Pizzi prior to Chile's semifinal match against Colombia on Wednesday in Chicago. The most likely options right now seem to be Pedro Pablo Hernandez and Francisco Silva.
Hernandez has appeared twice for Chile in Copa America play this year, starting against Bolivia and entering as a substitute versus Panama, while Silva started in one of the team's two pre-Copa tune-up friendlies and came on for Marcelo Diaz in the 57th minute of the Mexico game.
Pizzi may also decide to slide Gary Medel in as a holding midfielder and start Espanyol center back Enzo Roco in Medel's usual starting place on defense. He's got many options, but will be highly criticized should the one he decides not work out.
The pressure's on for the defending champs following this astounding Mexico result and their road doesn't end until the June 26 Final at MetLife Stadium.