World Ranking: 13th
Notable World Cup History
South Africa 2010, will mark Chile’s eighth appearance in the World Cup.
Chile’s best performance to date came when they hosted the tournament in 1962 and finished third.
The Chileans are never burdened with the lofty expectations of teams such as Brazil and Portugal to name a few. Chile hasn’t qualified since 1998 when they went to the second round. However this year it’s a possibility they can match their performance from ’98. Chile could come out of the opener with momentum.
Marcelo Bielsa was the man in charge of Argentina’s ill-fated bid for glory at the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002. This World Cup, Bielsa has given himself a shot at redemption by steering the ship when he coaches Chile.
Nicknamed El Loco (The Madman) for his dedication to the game, the 54-year-old commands the respect of his players. Bielsa has a challenge ahead of him and he is hoping he can prove himself once again and lead Chile to the top.
A devoted believer of tactics in the game of soccer, Bielsa strives to be the best, look for a diamond midfield setup. The character that he is, Bielsa has earned him huge popularity in his adopted homeland, where the fans are anxious for him to remain in the post for many years to come.
“I’m not looking at this as a chance to get revenge for what happened to me in 2002. Nothing I can ever achieve in the future will make that sadness go away. The most important thing at a World Cup is to make sure the players are in top form and that depends on so many different factors. Some of them you can control, but some are the result of everything the player has been through in the previous ten months. I hope everything comes together for Chile.” Bielsa told Fifa.com
Leading the team Matias Fernandez, Alexis Sanchez and Humberto Suazo, three players who teamed up to great effect for domestic giants Colo Colo back in 2006.
The crafty and creative Fernandez and the talented Sanchez come together to form a new breed of Chilean footballers
While the more experienced Suazo is a finisher with a habit for showing up in the right place at the right time to give Chile an advantage
A good core of young new players has been brought in and some dead weight has been lifted from the line-up, with that said, you can keep your eye out for some surprises as Chile looks to prove themselves in this years World Cup especially from Suazo.
Surprisingly Chile’s major weakness is their defence. La Roja allowed 22 goals, compared to Brazil’s 11 in South American qualification although Bielsa hopes to change that after phasing out troublemakers and trying out a dozen new players.
There is no definite expectations put on this team but with dynamic and creative youngsters, attacking formations, excellent shifting and a new eccentric but brilliant coach, Chile should turn some heads and drop some jaws in South Africa.