Chile manager Rueda has been the star of the 2019 Copa America

Jul 1, 2019Tim VickerySouth America correspondent Who has been the star of the Copa America so far?Going into the Copa America semifinals, it is hard to think of a truly outstanding player, one who has imposed his quality on the tournament. There is still time, of course, for one to emerge — and what happens…

Chile manager Rueda has been the star of the 2019 Copa America

Jul 1, 2019Tim VickerySouth America correspondent Who has been the star of the Copa America so far?Going into the Copa America semifinals, it is hard to think of a truly outstanding player, one who has imposed his quality on the tournament. There is still time, of course, for one to emerge — and what happens from now on in will weigh heavier than anything that has taken place up to this point.So far, though, it is difficult to think of anyone who has had a better tournament than Reinaldo Rueda, the Colombian-born coach of Chile.He took on the impossible job, inheriting a team for which the only way seemed to be down. Chile had waited 99 years to get their hands on the Copa America trophy. They finally won it in 2015 and retained their title in the special Copa America Centenario the following year.But then came the problems. An ageing squad ran out of steam and failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup. They were burned out; four consecutive years of international tournaments (those Copa flanked by the 2014 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup) had taken their toll. The players were in physical decline, and, under the pressure of disappointing results, long running spats in a difficult dressing room were opening up into serious fissures.Then in stepped Rueda.There was logic behind his choice. Winning the Copa Libertadores in 2016 with Colombia’s Atletico Nacional imposes a certain respect and he has World Cup experience, having previously taken both Honduras and Ecuador to the competition. He also had made his name as a youth development specialist, taking his native Colombia to third place in the 2003 World Under-20 Cup. Rueda, then, seemed to tick all the boxes. He was the man to renew the side.- Copa America: All you need to know
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