Chile star Alexis Sanchez is set to miss Copa America group stage matches after suffering a foot injury in training.
Chile opened their Copa America 2021 campaign against Argentina on Monday night without their talisman but still managed to come away with a point. Lionel Messi gave the lead to the Albiceleste from a free-kick in the first half. However, Eduardo Vargas equalized in the second half for La Roja after Arturo Vidal missed the initial penalty.
Martín Lasarte’s side are in Group A along with Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia. The top four sides from the group will qualify for the knock-out stage. So, Alexis Sanchez’ absence won’t be a huge problem for the Chileans in the group stage. However, they would like to finish as high as possible to avoid facing Brazil in the quarter-final.
How long will Alexis Sanchez remain sidelined?
According to the report in Daily Mail, Alexis Sanchez is facing a race against time to prove his fitness to the manager Martin Lasarte ahead of the knock-out phase. The quarter-finals to final will be played from 3rd July to 9th July. And the 32-year-old has a few weeks to get back to full fitness.
After sustaining the injury, Chile have confirmed that their record goalscorer will miss at least four group stage games. The official statement:
“The medical corps of the Chilean national team reports Alexis Sanchez, after training yesterday, presented with a plantar-thin muscle injury. The estimated recovery time goes beyond the group stage of the Copa América 2021, for which the athlete will remain in his recovery process in Chile, with the medical team of the national team.”
It is certainly a big blow for manager Lasarte to appear in a big tournament like this without Alexis Sanchez. However, they have enough firepower to go beyond the group stage and compete in the quarter-final.
The two times Copa America winners will fancy their chance to make a mark in this competition yet again. An ageing Chile squad had a great bunch of players five years ago. However, it will be hard for them to replicate that achievement in Brazil this time around.