Reigning Copa America champions Chile are just 90 minutes away from booking their place in this year's final as they seek to retain the title they won for the first time ever last year.
Spearheaded by FC Bayern München's Arturo Vidal, Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Charles Aranguiz and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim sharpshooter Eduardo Vargas, La Roja have reached the semi-finals, where they face Colombia in Chicago on Wednesday buoyed by a confidence-boosting 7-0 thrashing of Mexico in the last eight.
'We have to be positive'
Indeed, the only downside of that triumph was a second tournament yellow card for Vidal, ruling him out of this fixture through suspension. Former Hamburger SV midfielder Marcelo Diaz - who saved the club from relegation at the end of the 2014/15 campaign – is also sidelined through injury but in Aranguiz and Vargas, Chile can count on two of their key players to shoulder the extra responsibility.
"We have to be positive," said Aranguiz at a pre-match press conference. "Now the four best teams are left and anything could happen. We need to be fully focused because you can lose a match on small details. What happened [against Mexico], happened, but now it's a different game with different players."
Vargas, meanwhile, is the tournament's top scorer on six goals after smashing four past El Tri to add to the brace he scored against Panama. "In the match against Mexico we played at the same level as we did at the Copa America last year and in World Cup qualifying," said the in-form Hoffenheim forward, who was nevertheless quick to sound a warning in order to avoid complacency:
"I think Colombia have a stronger team [than Mexico] because they're in the semi-finals, just like we are […] Colombia are a good side. They showed that in the World Cup qualifying campaign and at the last Copa America."
Los Cafeteros have not been as convincing at this Centenario edition, however, needing a penalty shootout to progress past Peru in the quarter-finals after a 3-2 defeat to Costa Rica in their final group game.
Argentina will provide the opposition in Sunday's title-decider after defeating hosts USA 4-0 on Tuesday, so if Chile do advance it would set up a repeat of last year's final.
Colombia: Ospina - Arias, Zapata, Murillo, Diaz - Sanchez, Torres - Cuadrado, Cardona, James - Bacca