Chile started the Copa America with a fine come from behind display to overcome Ecuador but captain Jorge Valdivia has no love of the beautiful game clear and said his Chile side will play to win points rather than to friends.
The Palmeiras midfielder said points make prizes: “As long as we are winning, the football that we play is secondary. The important thing is to win.”
That feelings belies the evidence of Wednesday night, when Chile played some nice football to take three points from Ecuador and sit joint top of a group that also featured Brazil and Mexico.
Valdivia hinted that even he was surprised by the win but said Nelson Acosta’s side – one of only three nations never to win the Copa America – aim to keep up the good work and transform themselves into the revelation of the tournament.
“Publicly we were the ugly ducklings of the group and we caused a surprise by beating one of the supposed big teams in the section,” Valdivia said. “I hope that this bit of luck that has come our way will strengthen us on and off the pitch and allow us to keep surprising both ourselves and others.”
Valdivia said Sunday’s game against Brazil will be “totally different” and warned fans that coming up with a recipe to beat Dunga’s men will not be easy. But he used the fight back against Ecuador as an example of how football can thrown up the unexpected.
“Football is so indefinable. Ecuador had chances to kill us off but they didn’t and we ended up the victors. (Against Brazil) we will be desperately searching for the win that gives us three more points.”