GROUP B
Chile

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

Since Jorge Sampaoli took over and resurrected Marcelo Bielsa’s style, 60 seconds is a long time. For the full 90 minutes, Chileans don’t stop running; everything they do, they do fast. The fixtures with Spain and the Netherlands will be authentic style battles: when an opposition side needs time to build up play, facing Chile is a nightmare – everything has to be sped up considerably.

But the Chilean methodology also leads to inevitable mistakes and distractions, especially in the back three or four, and prompts dangerous physical challenges that can lose them men. All that effort can be thrown away in a minute...

THE DREAM

Take down the Euro giants. Four years ago, they were close to upsetting Spain in Pretoria in one of the most difficult games Vicente Del Bosque’s side faced. Last year the sides met again and Chile once again proved their ability: Spain only equalised in stoppage time.

Having also shaken Brazil and Germany in two narrow, undeserved defeats recently, Chile feel tantalisingly close to producing their best ever World Cup showing – they were semi-finalists as hosts in 1962, but haven't won a knockout game since. They have the potential to scalp one or two of their big group names, and could get on a roll. Not bad for a team that had lost its way until Sampaoli was appointed.

THE NIGHTMARE

Narrowly miss out amid a wave of continental bitterness. Chileans have plenty of reasons to feel that the World Cup draw was harsh. As Argentina play Iran, they will be trying to survive against Spain, Netherlands and Australia. And even if they do, Brazil may lurk in the round of 16 – just as they did four years ago in South Africa, and at France 98, the only other time they've got out of the groups since they reached the semis as hosts in 1962 (and guess who knocked them out then?)

It’s all well and good to show that their unique style can upset opponents and win fans, but the ultimate nightmare would be a pumping from their hosts. Manager, players and fans alike all know that Chile’s worst ever international result was a 7-0 whupping in Rio back in 1959.

THE STATS
ADVERTISEMENT

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

CAUSE A BUST-UP: ARTURO VIDAL

A great player with a big mouth. Vidal enjoys the physical game his team embodies, and thanks to his non-stop verbals, is the natural candidate to either receive or throw the first fist.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

GET A WARM WELCOME: JORGE VALDIVIA

The No.10 is likely to face the Netherlands in Sao Paulo – a city where he is an idol. Valdivia has enjoyed two great spells for Palmeiras, and led them to Copa do Brasil glory in 2012.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

BREAK A RECORD: CLAUDIO BRAVO

Since earning his first call-up in 2004, the Chile goalkeeper has been ever-present. Now captain, he needs to play four games to match his nation’s most capped player of all-time, Leonel Sanchez, who bagged 84 starts between 1955 and 1967.

DID YOU KNOW?
Defender Miiko Albornoz was born in Sweden to a Finnish mother and Chilean father – but refused to play for Sweden beyond U21 level.

Tweet this...

Hard-running, hard-working hard men in a hard group, Chile were unlucky to draw two European giants – but they will be nobody's pushovers.