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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica)

Defenders: Gary Medel (Cardiff City), Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Eugenio Mena (Santos), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest)

Midfielders: Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Mauricio Isla (Juventus), Marcelo Diaz (Basel), Francisco Silva (Osasuna), Felipe Gutierrez (FC Twente), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Jean Beausejour (Wigan Athletic), Charles Aranguiz (Internacional), Miiko Albornoz (Malmo)

Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), Eduardo Vargas (Valencia), Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras), Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo), Fabian Orellana (Celta Vigo)

Chile
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

Chile could fulfil the role of great entertainers at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, despite being dealt a devilishly tough hand in the draw.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men will line-up in Group B alongside Spain, Holland and Australia, opening their campaign against the latter before a pair of mouth-watering clashes.

What is more, should Chile make it through, they could well be handed a tie against hosts Brazil in the last 16.

Games against Brazil are enough to bring any Chile fan out in a cold sweat. The five-time champions ended their South American neighbours’ World Cup dreams at the second-round stage in both 1998 and 2010.

For good measure, Brazil also beat Chile twice in qualification for the latter tournament.

Nevertheless, much is expected of a side led by Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli, following a four-year cycle that has essentially seen Chile come full circle.

Having won many admirers at the 2010 finals when adopting the pleasing style of acclaimed coach Marcelo Bielsa, Chile were taken forward into the marathon CONEMBOL qualifying section by new boss Claudio Borghi.

Despite defeats to Argentina and Uruguay, they topped the standings after six matches, but cracks were starting to appear in a squad that were not altogether comfortable with Borghi’s more pragmatic style.

Having wowed the world with Bielsa’s high-intensity pressing game based around pace, width and an attacking mentality, Chile employed a deeper defensive line under Borghi.

This more conservative approach exposed glaring weaknesses at the back and, following three consecutive qualifying losses, a 3-1 friendly reverse against Serbia saw Borghi lose his job.

Sampaoli took the reins, effectively reshaping the team in the image of his countryman Bielsa.

After suffering a 1-0 loss to Peru, Chile responded by storming to the finals as forward Eduardo Vargas hit a rich vein of scoring form.

In addition to Vargas, who ended the 2013-14 season on loan at Valencia from Napoli, further star quality is provided by Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and Juventus duo Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla.

Experienced playmaker Jorge Valdivia knits together the talents at Sampaoli’s disposal in pleasing fashion - Chile’s qualification record of 29 goals for and 25 against in 16 games shows they are rarely involved in a dull game.

However, Sampaoli has been forced to cope with concerns over two key players as the clock to Brazil ticks down.

After Juventus secured the Serie A title, Vidal underwent arthroscopic surgery on the lateral meniscus of his right knee in early May, and it remains to be seen how the injury setback will affect the midfielder.

Towering centre-back Marcos Gonzalez, meanwhile, paid the price for his lack of match action after seeing his contract terminated by Brazilian side Flamengo in March as he missed the cut for the final 23 players.

However, if Vidal can find a way to hit peak form, together with the likes of Sanchez and Vargas, a team that lost just twice in 14 outings last year will head into the tournament without fear.



Player Profile (Arturo Vidal)Edit

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: May 22, 1987

Club: Juventus

International Debut: v Venezuela (February 6, 2007)

World Cup Appearances: 4

World Cup Goals: 0

Chile will not be among the favourites at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but in Arturo Vidal they have a star capable of inspiring an upset.

The South American nation will likely fall into the category of sides targeting a last-16 place, but coach Jorge Sampaoli possesses a talented squad and midfielder Vidal will be expected to take centre stage.

Since his €10.5 million move to Juventus from Bayer Leverkusen in 2011, Vidal has enjoyed a highly successful spell in Serie A, winning three consecutive league titles.

Vidal does have previous experience of playing in a World Cup, but it was his showings at the 2007 South American Youth Championships and FIFA Under-20 World Cup later the same year that really propelled him towards his current standing.

In Paraguay's continental tournament, Vidal finished as second-highest scorer with six goals behind only Edinson Cavani before he then played an important role in helping his country reach the last four at the World Cup in Canada.

In between the two competitions, Leverkusen made a €5.6m swoop for the then-Colo Colo youngster and his subsequent displays on the world stage proved he was the real deal.

Vidal generally played in the centre of midfield and although Chile were defeated 3-0 by Argentina in an ill-tempered semi-final that saw two of his team-mates sent off, he made a lasting impression.

At the 2010 World Cup, Vidal was one of several respected up-and-coming players in Marcelo Bielsa's Chile set-up, with big things also expected of Gary Medel, Alexis Sanchez, Matias Fernandez and current Juve team-mate Mauricio Isla.

Chile ultimately went out to Brazil in the round of 16, but the 1962 World Cup hosts were lavished with praise for their attacking style of play, narrowly losing 2-1 to Spain in their final Group H game.

Wins against Switzerland and Honduras saw them finish behind Spain only on goal difference, making their 3-0 loss to Dunga's much-maligned Brazil in the knockout stages a little surprising.

Vidal's performances in South Africa alerted observers to his versatility.

Not only did Vidal appear in midfield, but he also slotted in at centre-back and left wing-back in response to injuries and suspensions. He may get described as being the classic box-to-box midfielder, but he is so much more than that.

In the team's current system, Vidal operates in his usual central midfield role. However, he regularly drops slightly deeper in order to add extra cover to their three central defenders when the wing-backs surge forward.

Vidal is also expected to contribute in attack, though. With five goals in qualifying, Vidal was Chile's top scorer alongside Eduardo Vargas and Sampaoli has made no secret of the regard he holds the Juve midfielder in. 

"There's only one (Lionel) Messi. He's unique, but we can say that Vidal is the Messi of midfielders," he beamed. 

"There are few like him; he is flexible, lethal, an expert in stealing the ball." 

With Australia, Spain and Netherlands making up the rest of Group B in Brazil, Chile may need a stroke of luck to reach the knockout phase.

And few would bet against "the Messi of midfielders" being decisive.  ==News Sources==

News SourcesEdit

Red Gol - http://redgol.cl/

Lone Star - http://lonestarchile.wordpress.com/ - Not an official website, but potentially worth keeping an eye on as a last resort

CDF - http://www.cdf.cl/

Football Federation’s official site - http://www.anfp.cl/

La Tercera (Chile’s biggest newspaper) - http://www.latercera.com/

El Grafico (magazine website) - http://www.elgraficochile.cl/prontus_elgrafico/site/edic/base/port/inicio.html