GROUP H: Can Chile follow up their impressive qualifying form?

Chile surprised many with their second-place finish in South American qualifying for the World Cup but are they able to sustain that form in the tournament proper?

Chile surprised many with their second-place finish in South American qualifying for the World Cup but are they able to sustain that form in the tournament proper?

Marcelo Bielsa’s men played with a unique 3-3-1-3 system that allowed them to score the second most goals in the qualifying stage (behind Brazil) and finish above Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay which puts them inwith a good chance in Group H.

It is expected they will be fighting for second spot with Switzerland and if players like Humberto Suazo, the promising Alexis Sanchez and Matias Fernandez can fire then they must just achieve that goal.

But what really holds the key to Chile making the second phase is if their defence holds up as there is so much focus on attack. They are often left vulnerable at the back and this may be a problem in such a short tournament where they don’t have 18 qualifying games to score against lesser opponents.

Chile

Playing schedule: Honduras (Nelspruit) June 16; Switzerland (Port Elizabeth) June 21; Spain (Tshwane/Pretoria) June 25

Also known as: La Roja (The Red One)
Manager: Marcelo Bielsa (ARG)
Captain: Claudio Bravo
Key players: Humberto Suazo, Matias Fernandez, Pablo Contreras
Wildcard: Esteban Paredes
Player to watch: Alexis Sanchez
Most caps: Leonel Sanchez (84). Of this squad: Pablo Contreras (51)
Top goalscorer: Marcelo Salas (37). Of this squad: Humberto Suazo (18)
FIFA ranking: 18
Qualifying: 2nd in CONMEBOL group stage.
Appearance: 8th
Best result: Third – 1962

Chile squad

Goalkeepers

Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad)
Miguel Pinto (Universidad de Chile)
Luis Marin (Union Espanola)

Defenders

Ismael Fuentes (Universidad Catolica)
Waldo Ponce (Universidad Catolica)
Mauricio Isla (Udinese)
Pablo Contreras (PAOK)
Gary Medel (Boca Juniors)
Gonzalo Jara (West Bromwich Albion)

Midfielders

Carlos Carmona (Lazio)
Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen)
Jorge Valdivia (Al-Ain)
Marco Estrada (Montpellier)
Matias Fernandez (Sporting Lisbon)
Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo)
Rodrigo Millar (Colo-Colo)
Rodrigo Tello (Besiktas)

Forwards

Alexis Sanchez (Udinese)
Humberto Suazo (Real Zaragoza)
Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow)
Jean Beausejour (Clube America)
Fabian Orellana (Xerez)
Esteban Paredes (Colo-Colo)

Have your say