Wednesday 21 February 2018

World Cup team preview: Chile

Chile's game is based on slick passing and movement
Chile's game is based on slick passing and movement

Just 24 days until the World Cup and 24 more teams to preview ahead of the global event next month. Today it’s Chile, recent victors of Spain, England and Brazil

Group F: Spain, Australia, Holland

Tournament odds: 40/1

Despite being pitted in a group containing the World Cup finalists of 2010, Chile have demonstrated over the last two years that they are a team capable of matching both of them and will be hoping to cause an upset or two in Brazil.

Chile's game is based on slick passing and movement, much like Spain, but they play with more speed and directness than their European counterparts.

The midfield holds the key to the team's success, with talented and multi-functional players like Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Jorge Valdivia making up the Chilean engine room.

How they got here

Chile finished third in CONMEBOL qualifying, with 28 points and a +4 goal difference. But it was really two different campaigns. The team languished under Claudio Borghi, losing five of its first nine qualifiers. Once Sampaoli took charge, the team revived. The Chileans went 5-0-1 over the final six matches, outscoring opponents 17-6 and ensuring qualification. Chile also beat England 2-0 and drew Spain and Brazil in friendlies.

Key Player

With fitness concerns surrounding Juventus star Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez will shoulder a great deal of Chilean expectations.

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Alexis Sanchez

The 25-year-old winger is lightning quick, powerful and has a tremendous amount of skill. Finally settling in at Barcelona, he had 19 goals and 10 assists in the Premier Liga.

He started ahead of Neymar on the final day against Atletico and while the Catalans fell short on the day, his goal was nothing short of sensational.

Something you might not know about Chile

Chile is one of only two countries in all of South America that does not border Brazil.

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