Juan Antonio Pizzi Hails Chile's 'Winners' Mentality

AFP

OMNISPORT

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi praised his side of "winners" as the defending Copa America champion booked its spot in back-to-back finals. 

First-half goals from Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida helped Chile to a 2-0 win over Colombia in the semifinals of the Centenario tournament on Wednesday. 

The victory means Chile will meet Argentina in a repeat of the 2015 final, in which the former claimed its first Copa title in a penalty shootout win.

Pizzi was full of praise for his players after seeing off Colombia, especially with its total concentration after a more than two-hour delay to the second half because of thunderstorms in Chicago. 

"This is a group of winners. The main virtue for these players is they are winners," former Spain international Pizzi said post-game at Soldier Field. "Before a game or a tournament, they are convinced they are going to win. This conviction allows them to play how they play and have the confidence they have in games. 

"To be a winner does not mean you win every game, because that is impossible, and you're always going to lose a few games. To be a winner is to believe you are going to win every game, and that's what my players have."

Pizzi also hailed Claudio Bravo, with the Barcelona goalkeeper making several crucial saves to keep a clean sheet for the second straight game. 

"The storm was very uncomfortable, especially after being stuck in the locker room for almost three hours," he said. "But we kept concentration, and Bravo made two or three very important stops for us."

Speaking on facing Argentina in the final, Pizzi believes it will be different to the team that Chile came up against in its Copa opener, in which Gerardo Martino's side won, 2-1.

"We come into this game in good form, strong," the former Barca forward said. "But they will be different, stronger as well. It is tough. But we are winners."