Copa America: Chile squad preview

Our Copa America previews continue with a closer look at Chile.

Pedigrí



Chile’s fast-paced and free-flowing attack delighted football fans at the 2010 World Cup. The writing had been on the wall for sometime that la Roja were gearing up for a memorable trip to South Africa. Chile finished just a point shy of Brazil at the conclusion of the 18 game qualification series that included an historical win over Argentina in Santiago. The mastermind behind la Roja’s revival Marcelo Bielsa has since departed and fans of el Equipo de Todos wait to see what results his replacement Claudio Borghi can conjure. A first ever Copa América title would be as good a place as any for Borghi to start.



Momento de gloria



Chile achieved their fourth runners-up finish at the 1987 edition of the Copa América. On route to the final in Buenos Aires’ Estadio Monumental la Roja chalked up a 4-0 drubbing of Brazil in the group stage. A brace apiece from Juan Carlos Letelier and Ivo Basay did the damage that night in Córdoba and condemned the Brazilians to their worst ever Copa América showing. Despite Letelier and Basay outshining other strike partnerships such as Careca and Romario plus Claudio Caniggia and Diego Maradona it was still not enough for Chile to overcome Uruguay in the final.



El director técnico



After playing his football for a decade in Chile the Argentine born Claudio Borghi took joint nationality of his adopted country. Before hanging up his boots Borghi was one the best exponents of the Rabona pass the game has ever seen. Early in his coaching career he landed the top job with Chilean giants Colo Colo and over saw a glorious chapter in their history. El Bichi returned to the land of his birth and upset the odds by leading Argentinos Juniors to the Primera División title. Borghi then made the same switch across Buenos Aires that Diego Maradona had done many moons ago as he joined Boca Juniors. After things went sour for him at la Bombonera the coach was freed up to return to Chile and take charge of the national team. Borghi’s approach is to favour possession football as opposed to Bielsa’s quick transitions up the pitch. Borghi also employs to two out and out strikers where Bielsa only found room for one.



El capitán



One thing that hasn’t change since the arrival of Borghi is Chile’s captain with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo still trusted with the armband. Bravo stuck with Real Sociedad despite their relegation to Spain’s second tier to play a key role in the club’s return to the top flight. Along the way Bravo upheld that fine tradition of goalscoring South American goalkeepers when he popped home a free-kick at the expense of Gimnàstic de Tarragona.



El crack



Alexis Sanchez appears to be the most sought after of all the big money transfer targets being mooted to move in time for next season. Credit must go to Serie A outfit Udinese for the manner in which they have nurtured el Niño Maravilla. After snapping him up as a 16-year-old the Italians loaned him first to Colo Colo and then to River Plate to allow him to develop his game in familiar surroundings. When Sanchez finally did arrive at Udinese he hit the ground running and three seasons later he is among the hottest properties in Europe. His combination of pace and close control have defenders waking up in cold sweat.



El ídolo



Along with Sanchez another of the players Claudio Borghi had on his hands while he was the boss at Colo Colo was Matías Fernández. Matigol was named South American Footballer of the Year in 2006 off the back of his performances for Colo Colo and it seemed a fruitful career in Europe awaited. However, Fernández found his opportunities limited after joining Villarreal and has since moved onto to Sporting in Portugal. Despite a spluttering club career Fernández’s three goals in la Roja’s three Copa América warm-up matches has his nation convinced that the dynamic playmaker is back to his best. Deadly from set-pieces.



El futuro



Udinese decided snap up Chilean defender Mauricio Isla at the same time as bringing Sanchez over from South America. Isla has proven to be an important piece of the jigsaw for the Italain club with his versatile game allowing him to slot in anywhere across the backline. The 23-year-old and Sanchez are best mates and any club wanting to get ahead in the bidding for the attacker would be well advised to slip in a offer for the defender as well.



Los marginados



Former Liverpool winger Mark González misses out along with Mauricio Pinilla and Felipe Seymour on account of injury. Meanwhile, Borghi wielded the axe on both Fabián Orellana and promising young striker Diego Rubio.



Rumores de transferencia



Arturo Vidal to Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City, Diego Rubio to Manchester United.



La botinera



Mark González will have to settle for missing out on the Copa América by spending a bit of quality time with his wife Maura Rivera. The couple are the Posh & Becks of Chile. As well as tuning into Mark’s games Maura spends her time presenting on television and campaigning for animal rights.



Síguelo en Twitter



@AlexisS7 - Barcelona se congela, Man City ofrece :/



La opinión experta



La Roja arrives in Argentina with high hopes surrounding the team back home. A recent newspaper poll conducted here had over 35% of the people who voted thinking Chile will at least be in the final. This Copa América is the first big test for our new head coach Claudio Borghi and if he wants to kill all the talk about the great job carried out by his predecessor he needs to prove his own worth. I have no doubt that Borghi was the best coach available to take over after Marcelo Bielsa’s departure because of his knowledge of our squad. He won four titles with Colo Colo and that success was based on many of the players he now has with the national team. The draw has been kind to Chile and sees us playing Peruvian and Mexican teams that have been diminished by injuries and indiscipline. The match with Uruguay will be tough but I think even if we finish first or second in the group we are likely to face Colombia or Paraguay to give us a shot at the semi-finals. The danger will appear for Chile in the last four where we seem set to meet Brazil, the team that have put us out of so many tournaments in the past. Here’s the starting line-up Borghi is looking like using: Bravo, Ponce, Contreras, Jara, Isla, Medel, Vidal, Beausejour, Fernández, Sánchez, Suazo.



Pablo Lonza - La Rompieron Radio



El objetivo



Head coach Claudio Borghi is fed up by all the adulation that is heaped upon Marcelo Bielsa. He will look to emerge from el Loco’s shadow by showing he is just as capable of grooming this group of talented youngsters for glory. A trip to the semi-finals will satisfy the fans back home, even more so if there’s plenty of goals to celebrate.



La predicción



Chile will make light work of progressing from Group C and have all the ability needed to make it down to the last four. On their last two appearances at the World Cup la Roja have been sent home by Brazil and it will be the same team that waves them off back over the Andes again. Chile to lose the third-place play-off in a Group C rematch against Uruguay.



¿Por qué ser fanático?



With only a thin strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains to play with Chile defies the odds by time and time again bringing great talent to the surface. The nation’s exhaustive search for talent recent led to the first ever FIFA sanctioned match to take place on Easter Island. Under the gaze of the iconic rock faces the Islanders were beaten 4-0 by Colo Colo.



¿Un club en League Two?



A steady stream of young and exciting talent decked out in red makes Chile’s connection to Crewe Alexandra impossible to ignore. La Roja’s very own Alex could soon be gracing the same Premier League grounds which have become home to many out of the Crewe Academy.



La fiesta



Pour out the pisco and pass around the empanadas before hotfooting to the cueca all the way down la Plaza de Armas.



¡Qué curioso!



Chile were staring down the barrel at missing out at the 1990 World Cup as they trailed Brazil in the Maracanã by a goal to nil when la Roja’s goalkeeper decided to take matters into his own hands. Roberto Rojas reacted to a flair thrown from the crowd landing a few feet away from him by hurling himself onto the ground. Rojas may have fooled the referee into calling off the fixture but he had not outsmarted the television cameras that clearly showed the missle never touched him. As a result of the incident Chile were banned from competing for a place at the 1994 World Cup and Rojas was given a lifetime ban from the game. In 2001 Rojas’ request for a pardon from FIFA was granted. Good old Sepp!



La Selección



Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad, SPA), Miguel Pinto (Atlas, MEX), Paulo Garcés (Universidad Católica, CHI).



Defenders: Gonzalo Jara (West Bromwich Albion, ENG), Pablo Contreras (Paok, GRE), Waldo Ponce (Cruz Azul, MEX), Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen, GER), Mauricio Isla (Udinese, ITA), Gary Medel (Sevilla, SPA).



Midfielders: Marco Estrada (Montpellier, FRA), Rodrigo Millar (Colo Colo, CHI), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta, ITA), Francisco Silva (Universidad Católica, CHI), Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo, BRA), Matías Fernández (Sporting de Lisboa, POR), Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras, BRA), Luis Jiménez (Cesena, ITA), Jean Beausejour (Birmingham, ENG), Felipe Gutiérrez (Universidad Católica, CHI).



Forwards: Alexis Sánchez (Udinese, ITA), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo, CHI), Humberto Suazo (Monterrey, MEX), Carlos Muñoz (Santiago Wanderers, CHI).



Acción



v Mexico 04/07/2011 21:45 San Juan

v Uruguay 08/07/2011 19:15 Mendoza

v Perú 12/07/2011 19:15 La Plata



Estadísticas



FIFA ranking: 27

Odds to win: 11/1

Copa America record: P165 W55 D28 L82 F254 A296

Copa America best: Four-times runners-up


Copa America 2011 squad previews

More teams will follow in this daily series. Plus, for more on Copa America 2011, listen to The South American Football Show.



News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003