Team Profile: Chile
Colours: Red shirts, dark blue shorts and white socks.
Nickname: "La Roja" (the Reds)
Previous World Cup appearances: (7) 1930, 1950, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1998
Best World Cup performance: Third place, 1962
Coach: Marcelo Bielsa
Most capped player: Leonel Sanchez 84
Top scorer: Marcelo Salas 37
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10) : 15
Chile doesn`t have a great tradition in football like Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay. Chile fights for being in the second order in South America and through the years, dealed with good and bad administrations of its FA, which never created a solid foundation. Despite all this, Chile manages to qualify for World Cups.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The qualification arrived before the end of the tournament, when Chile beat Colombia (4-2) in Medellin. Chile had never before won so many times on their travels. They were due, as Chile usually qualified by being strong at home, but not away.
A very offensive team, with a high-powered strikeforce. From the very first second, it will go in search of the goal. And when this team is winning, they keep the same pressure as in the beginning. Synchronised movements are the key to their success.
The defense. Errors in the output, due to the pressure that they should make in the opposite field. Another weakness is the defensive aerial game, due to the shortness of the Chilean players.
Marcelo Bielsa is a personality in football. He is a studious and `crazy` (his alias is `El Loco`) for strategy and football. Faithful follower of the `Coerver` method, implanted his identity in a group of players that blindly trust in him and mechanise their moves trough the game. Their line-up either at home or away is always 3-3-1-3.
Humberto Suazo (Monterrey): He was the leading scorer of the South American Qualifiers with 10 goals. He is the way to triumph for the Chilean team. Possesses a very good shot, his greatest asset is his physique. If you give him a few centimeters, he won`t fail.
Alexis Sanchez (Udinese): "El Niiño Maravilla" (The Wonderboy) will be 21 years old in the World Cup. He is fated to be one of the greatest figures of the Chilean team. He doesn`t have Suazo`s scoring ability but he is explosive as a right winger and at any minute can generate a chance or a penalty.
Matias Fernandez (Sporting Lisboa): He was the Best South American Player in 2006 and despite having a mediocre spell at Villarreal in Spain, his level has never dropped in the Chilean team. He is the key for Marcelo Bielsa in the midfield and despite his dispute with Jorge Valdivia for being the playmaker of the team, he will probably be the starter in the first match of the World Cup.
BEST FOOTBALLING MOMENT
Without any doubt, it occurred in 1962 when Chile finished third place in as host nation of the World Cup. With great players like Leonel Sanchez and the coach Fernando Riera, mentor of Manuel Pellegrini, current coach of Real Madrid. Chile got the third place after losing to Brazil in the semi-finals and winning 1-0 against Yugoslavia in the third-place match.
OFF THE PITCH
Famous for: It`s a land of poets. Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda won the literature Nobel Prize. Besides its wines, that are recognized all over the world.
Most likely to: Chilean fans are known for their fanatic encouragment of their team, like in the 1998 World Cup. `La Marea Roja` won recognition for its passion in that tournament, although many of them are still paying their debts for that adventure... In South Africa, something similar will happen.
WORLD CUP OBJECTIVE
For Chile and Bielsa, the first objective is to win a match away from home. The other mission is to equal what the `98 team did in France. In that World Cup, Chile reached the Round of 16. From there, everything is a bonus.
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