A lot of elite-level footballer these days roll their eyes and sneakily put their headphones in when the manager starts rambling on about tactics and pointing at a whiteboard with a long metal stick.
But when Chile face Argentina in the Copa America final later tonight, their players will have been well-drilled in all aspects of Lionel Messi’s almost impregnable game after putting in a few hours in on the PlayStation.
Coach Jorge Sampaoli has admitted that his side are using the PlayStation’s software to try and halt the Barcelona superstar’s quest to pick up his first Copa medal.
He said: “We have a simulation program that uses PlayStation technology and allows players to move the team around the pitch using a joystick. We can tell a player: “We are going to press in 4-4-2” and the software shows us how that will work against our rival.”
The tactic has been used to improve the way Chile attack too and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez has put more hours in than most as the host nation try to beat the favourites.
Sampaoli hopes that Sanchez can produce a performance similar to the one at Wembley in November 2013 when he scored twice in a 2-0 win against England and Chile will be employing a similar formation.
Sampaoli plans to play Gary Medel, Francisco Silva and Eugenio Mena as a back three with Marcelo Díaz and Charles Aranguiz as wing-backs and Arturo Vidal, Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour in midfield behind Eduardo Vargas and Sanchez in attack.
The system gives Arsenal’s player of the season the minimum defensive responsibilities and will be used in the hope that he can do to Argentina what Messi plans to do to Chile.
Sanchez knows all about Messi from his days at the Nou Camp. And Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is also an expert after a season training and playing alongside him.
Bravo admitted: “It’s not easy to control Messi. Because he has so much talent you don’t know what he is going to do next.
“We will not man-mark him because the strongest thing about our team is that we are a unit. We all have to concentrate and make sure we neutralise Leo.
“But we also have to be aware that they have other good players. We have to take care of the entire Argentine team and not just Messi. Argentina have played well as a team in this tournament and we have to try to beat their whole team.”