Chilean Squad of 30 throws few Surprises

It is that time of the footballing calendar when teams head out and name their probables for the final squad that will head out to the World Cup in South Africa. Placed in a group that gives the South Americans a fair chance of qualifying, Chile will hope that under former Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, they will fair well, at least until the latter rounds of the world cup. Bielsa - An Unhappy 2002 World Cup with Argentina>

Chile were the second team to qualify from the long and tough qualifying campaign in South America. They are placed in a group alongside European Champions, and favourites for the World Title, Spain; dark horses for the group, Switzerland, and possibly a “virtual walk-over” team in Honduras.

Bielsa has gone with a strong lineup, keeping almost a similar squad to that which helped the team qualify for the mega event, however there are a couple of selections that may raise a few eyebrows.

But first, here are the 30-probables:

Goalkeepers

Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad) Miguel Pinto (Universidad de Chile) Luis Marin (Union Espanola)

Defenders

Waldo Ponce (Universidad Catolica) Gary Medel (Boca Juniors) Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen)) Ismael Fuentes (Universidad Catolica) Pablo Contreras (PAOK) Gonzalo Jara (West Bromwich Albion) Roberto Cereceda (Colo Colo) Mauricio Isla (Udinese)

Midfielders

Carlos Carmona (Reggina) Rodrigo Millar (Flamengo) Pedro Morales (Dinamo Zagreb) Marco Estrada (Universidad de Chile) Manuel Iturra (Universidad de Chile) Jaime Valdes (Atalanta) Charles Aranguiz (Colo Colo) Rodriguez Tello (Besiktas) Matias Fernandez (Sporting) Jorge Valdivia (Al Ain) Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo) Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo)

Forwards

Jean Beausejour (Club America) Hector Mancilla (Toluca) Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo) Humberto Suazo (Zaragoza) Fabian Orellana (Xerez) Alexis Sanchez (Udinese) Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow)

The team throws up a number of familiar names as well as a surprise in the form of Jaime Valdes, a 29-year old from Atalanta, in Italy. The Chilean has been phenomenal this season and despite having been left out of all the qualifying games, his 7 goals from midfield, this year, have helped Atalanta’s cause, as well as his, to no end.

The only other surprise is the omission of Christopher Toselli’s name from the team sheet, replaced by Luis Marin instead. Toselli is one of the most talented under-21 players to have come into the picture however Bielsa seems to have looked at the experience of Luis Marin rather than the exuberance of Toselli, when making the decision to pick the third keeper.

Chile look to be the second favourites to get out of the group, behind Spain, which means that they will face either Brazil, Portugal or Ivory Coast, in the Round of 16. Their World Cup journey may well end in the Round of 16 but for now, these 30 hopefuls will be looking to make every bit of their time count as they all vie for a place in the final 23 that will go to South Africa.

Anjali nambissan
Sports Pundit member

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