Under new boss Jorge Sampaoli, Chile have flourished with his tactics and attacking minded play. Until he was brought in, Chile were struggling – but they reached the World Cup with ease, even troubling the likes of Spain and England in friendlies. They look a team that could go far in this competition!
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Johnny Herrera, Cristopher Toselli
Defenders: Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Jose Rojas, Eugenio Mena, Mauricio Isla
Midfielders: Jorge Valdivia, Felipe Gutierrez, Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Francisco Silva, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Marcelo Diaz, Carlos Carmona, Miiko Albornoz
Forwards: Alexis Sanchez, Esteban Paredes, Eduardo Vargas, Jean Beausejour, Mauricio Pinilla, Fabian Orellana
In the 9 team group, this time without Brazil, it made things a lot easier! 4 of the 9 qualified automatically, with another one, 5th place Uruguay, facing an intercontinental playoff. Chile won 9 of the 16 games, and finished 3rd.
Ones to Watch:
Marcelo Diaz – In Chile, Diaz was highly rated, winning titles with his club side. He then made the step up to European football and now plays with Basel – and is one of the reasons they are doing so well. A top central midfielder, and one I am looking forward to seeing in action.
Jorge Valdivia – the attacking midfielder had a brief stint in Europe, but ended up back in Brazil. He is the linchpin in this side, playing the role between midfield and attack. He has flair to spare, and a little pace to add. Another exciting player to watch!
Mauricio Isla – now at Juventus, the right back has formed a brilliant relationship down the right flank with Alexis Sanchez, one of the best in Europe. He has the lot – good at defending, very good with the ball and pacey.
(4-3-1-2): Bravo, Isla, Medel, Rojas, Mena, Diaz, Vidal, Aranguiz, Valdivia, Sanchez, Vargas.
A starting 11 brimming with ability! Attack-wise, they are very good. However defensively there are some underlying issues. Gary Medel of Cardiff, is usually a central midfielder, but due to a huge lack of quality centre backs, he plays at the heart of defence for his country. His main partner is not fit, and has been left at home – so Rojas will fill in at the moment, however the likes of Gonzalo Jara could equally be given the chance despite being Championship defenders. Sanchez plays wide right at Barcelona, but for Chile he is the main man along with Vargas. Valdivia pulls the strings behind the two front men, with all three often floating to cause havoc. Chile are one of the teams we are most excited about to watch. With Holland and Spain in their group they need to beat one, and we think they will.
Winner – 40/1
Group Winner – 3/1
To Qualify – 4/5
Over 3.5 Group Points – 4/7
Stage of Elimination: Quarter Finals – 8/1
Chile are a much better team than in 2010, and have a better coach to go with it. As we said, they will have to get a result against either Holland or Spain, and looking at the Dutch team we think they could go through at the expense of Van Gaal’s Dutch elect. Our Top Tips are Over 3.5 Group Points at 4/7 and Stage of Elimination: Quarter-finals at 8/1 (A longshot yes, but we feel they will do well in Brazil, and on their own continent where the conditions have little effect on the players.