There are just 53 days to go before the start of the World Cup and Chile are one of the sides which I am most looking forward to seeing at this summer’s world cup. I haven’t been able to follow their qualifying campaign but lots of good things have been said about Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics. In particular the rather exotic 3-3-1-3 formation he has been deploying.
Over the past few months they have not been able to get the same level of preparation as other teams after having cancelled 4 friendlies. They were due to play Germany in November but this was cancelled as a mark of respect to the late Robert Enke, and they had scheduled a double header with Costa Rica and North Korea in the March international break but these fixtures were cancelled because of the earthquake which struck the week before.
They have been tipped by many as under-rated due to the poor level of coverage that they have received, this will certainly be an advantage to them as they are paired with Spain in their group and will probably be contesting with Switzerland for second place. They are also in the difficult half of the draw (Netherlands, Italy, Brazil and Portugal all on their side of the bracket).
They have recently announced a double header on May 30 against Northern Ireland and Israel and they will also play New Zealand in a training match on the 9 June. This seems to be tipped to be a three 30 minute matches and behind closed doors.
Some players I’ll be looking out for are Gary ‘Pit Bull’ Medel, a defensive midfielder who recently scored both goals for Boca Juniors in the Super Clasico against River Plate. He is not just a destroyer a la Lucas/Mascherano he also knows how to find his way into the box and finish moves off.
Humberto Suazo has been beloved at Real Zaragoza since signing on a 6 month loan in January and appears to have turned their season around with deceptive pace, strength and guile. We can only hope he produces the same in the summer. Zaragoza have won 5 drawn 4 and lost 5 since he signed. Coincidence or quality? Performances at the very top level will tell us all.