July 2, 2015 / 5:32 PM / in 5 years

Journeyman Vargas could be key for Chile

If Chile are to beat Argentina in the Copa America final they might need something special from striker Eduardo Vargas, who has had a restless club career but who thrives when he pulls on his country’s red shirt.

Chile's soccer player Eduardo Vargas participates in a team training session in Santiago, Chile, July 1, 2015. Chile will face Argentina for their Copa America finals on July 4. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Still only 25, Vargas has played club football in Chile, Brazil, Spain, Italy and England.

He spent last season at Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League but, as with previous spells at Valencia and Napoli, failed to make an impact, scoring three times in 21 league matches.

For his national side, it is a different story.

He has scored 22 goals in 47 appearances, including both strikes in a 2-1 victory over Peru in the semi-finals of the Copa.

His second effort was a contender for goal of the tournament.

Vargas picked up the ball midway inside the Peruvian half and took a couple of touches before blasting a superb curling shot into the back of the net with the outside of his boot.

“I liked the second one,” he said. “The day before yesterday I was practising shots from outside the area and they all ended up in the net. That gave me confidence today, I hit it and it ended up as a goal.”

Vargas’s brace took him to joint sixth place among Chile’s all-time top scorers — a list topped by Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano, the country’s two greatest strikers of this century.

At just under one goal every two games, his strike-rate is comparable with both of them.

Once the Copa ends, Vargas is due to head back to Napoli unless he is farmed out to another club.

But before that, he was one more chance to make his mark for Chile, who are seeking their first Copa America title on Saturday.

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