Copa America: Chile eye first title as Brazil look for response

Hosts Chile are eyeing their first ever Copa America as Brazil look to restore pride.

As Brazil look to put their World Cup woes behind them, hosts Chile are among the fancies to win the Copa America.

Led by Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, Jorge Sampaoli's Chile will be strong contenders on home soil.

Chile have never won the Copa, finishing runners-up on four occasions, but have high hopes this could be the year to put that right ahead of their opening game of the tournament against Ecuador on Thursday.

With Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo and Jorge Valdivia among their squad – they have no shortage of star quality and have emerged as a real force to be reckoned with.

While Sampaoli's team come into the tournament approaching their peak, Brazil are in a period of transition after the misery of their embarrassing 7-1 World Cup semi-final drubbing at the hands of Germany on home soil.

Defender and former captain Thiago Silva went as far as to say that the Copa may have come too soon for the five-time world champions.

They have at least shown improvement under Dunga, though, winning nine straight games since a 3-0 defeat to Netherlands in the third-place at the World Cup.

In that time, the eight-time Copa champions have kept seven clean sheets.

Advancing from Group C is the minimum expectation for Brazil, who will come up against Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

World Cup runners-up Argentina are 14-time winners, just one fewer title than defending champions Uruguay, and it would no surprise if they claimed a 15th title.

For an ageing group, it may be their last chance to lift a major trophy – and coach Gerardo Martino knows as much.

"They realise that time is running and their possibilities of winning a title with the national team are disappearing," he said.

"It's a great moment, I wish we can take advantage of it."

With a strike force that includes Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain, expect Argentina to be among the more entertaining teams.

They are grouped with Uruguay, who are without suspended talisman Luis Suarez, and will also take on Paraguay as well as tournament debutants Jamaica.

Mexico will also feature and, despite picking a weakened squad due to the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, they will be threatening in Group A against Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Colombia are dark horses in Group C after their impressive performances at Brazil 2014, where they bowed out in the quarter-finals.

Chile is ready to put on a show and it will be intriguing to see which South American nation can rise to the occasion.