Chile squad announced for Under-20 South American Championship – the three to watch

Coach Mario Salas has had little time to prepare.

Coach Mario Salas has had little time to prepare.

The much-anticipated South American Under-20 Championship kicks off on Wednesday. Followers of the South American leagues are afforded the chance to see if players they have earmarked for a glittering career live up to their billing, while new names can announce themselves as stars.

Many players will have already gained significant league and continental experience, with South American side courageous/desperate in throwing baby-faced talent into the heated atmospheres that the continent throws up.

The tournament is a hidden gem according to Tim Vickery, and with four teams qualifying for this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup it is a tournament looked upon seriously by all competitors.

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Chile Boss Bichi Borghi Feeling The Heat

Under pressure . . .

‘Fuera Borghi’ (Borghi out) was the message scrawled onto Chile’s Juan Pinto Durán training complex in Macul after the 3-1 defeat to Ecuador in the World Cup qualifier. Accompanied by ‘Vergüenza nacional’ (national shame) and ‘Ladrones’ (thieves), the message was clear: changes needed to be made as Borghi’s reputation had hit an all-time low amongst fans.

The messages appeared after that defeat to Ecuador and before the game against Argentina. La Roja went out against Argentina like a team possessed; hunting down the ball when they didn’t have it and rampant when they did. They moved the ball, down the wings, at electrifying speed, bombarding the Argentina rearguard with crosses. Yet their intense first-half pressure did not yield results, instead they trailed two goals to nil; the defence picked apart by what can only be described as a ‘dream’ frontline: Ángel di María, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi.

The game finished 2-1 and Chile dropped out of CONMEBOL’s World Cup play-off place, behind Venezuela and Uruguay on goal difference.

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Chile 1-2 Argentina – La Roja couldn’t turn their explosive start into goals against ruthless La Albiceleste

Pace, width, relentless pressing; Qualities that had been missing in Chile’s fall to Ecuador in the previous match. But against Argentina the Chile of old was evident, right down to the defensive deficiencies that ultimately cost La Roja a crucial point (or three) in the race to qualify for Brazil 2014.

The opening 45 minutes were chaotic and frantic, 100mph and end-to-end; football on amphetamines. Chile attacked, Argentina attacked, Chile attacked, Chile attacked, Argentina attacked and so on. It was one of those games I feared to look away to make notes on the match without missing anything.

Yet, even after such an explosive and positive opening Chile ended the game pointless, undone by their profligacy and Argentina’s ruthlessness. La Roja had chances, good chances, to go in front through Gary Medel, Sebastián Pinto and Mark González, but were hit by two sucker-punches before half-time; a coolly taken Lionel Messi goal and a ferocious individual goal from Gonzalo Higuaín.

Borghi’s side tried to find a way back into the game in the second half but could not break down an obdurate Argentina defence until it was too late.

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Preview – Chile v Argentina

Can Chile upset Messi again?

The Estadio Nacional. Chile v Argentina. 16 October 2012. Four years to the day since Marcelo Bielsa recorded arguably his finest win in charge of La Roja; a 1-0 victory over La Albiceleste giving Chile their first ever competitive win against Argentina. Now the Nacional is the scene of Claudio Borghi’s, Bielsa’s successor, last stand.

A positive result against their rivals and Borghi should be able to hang onto his job until the next round of qualifying matches, with Chile still in a good position to qualify for Brazil. Lose and the Chilean fans will do their damndest to get their wish of Borghi being relieved of his duties.

Fans have already made their feelings known at Chile’s training base in Macul, Santiago; ‘Borghi Out’, ‘Thieves’ and ‘National Shame’ were scrawled onto the training complex while eggs were also thrown.

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Homeless World Cup Success For Chile

‘The Red One’ has teamed up with Chile’s premier English language media group ‘I Love Chile‘ to provide even more news and comment on Chilean football.

While Claudio Borghi and his La Roja team struggle to find form in the World Cup qualifiers, Chile’s street football representatives have achieved glory in Mexico, overcoming the hosts 8-5 in the Homeless World Cup final.

Chile’s women also had a strong performance, finishing the tournament in third place after beating The Netherlands 6-5.

Striker Jorge Garcia was the star for the Chilean men, blasting five of the team’s eight goals. Chile reached the final after beating Brazil in the semi-final.

The Homeless World Cup is an initiative to have a positive impact on the lives of homeless and excluded people from all around the world.

The Mexico edition was the tenth version of the tournament.

This article originally appeared on I Love Chile.

Chile v Argentina Build-up – La Roja’s missing XI

La Seleccion‘The Red One’ has teamed up with Chile’s premier English language media group ‘I Love Chile‘ to provide even more news and comment on Chilean football.

After terrible performances against Ecuador and Colombia, Claudio Borghi is under pressure to keep his job. He is not helped by the fact he joins a full team on the sidelines for the match as Daniel Boyle finds out.

Following the 3-1 loss against Ecuador, Chile need a win to keep their World Cup qualifying campaign on track. Pressure is building on coach Claudio Borghi, who remains suspended after a verbal spray against officials in Venezuela.

Joining him on the sidelines is a full team worth of players, out through either injury or suspensions, including captain Claudio Bravo and vice-captain Humberto Suazo. I Love Chile has named a lineup that won’t be taking the field against Messi and friends.

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Ecuador 3-1 Chile – Borghi’s experimental formation fails in Quito

Even though there is still 8 games to play, last night’s 3-1 demolition – let’s be honest it was a demolition– handed out by Ecuador felt like seeing your prized Ferrari mis-handled in the garage by a mechanic before your own eyes, prompting the feeling that you may never see it in all its glory again, until a new mechanic is brought in to fix it.

There’s a popular feeling that Borghi, spanner in hand, is slowly dismantling a promising side before eventually replacing his spanner for a sledgehammer and obliterating Chile’s Ferrari.

The Chile that people fantasise and reminisce about were nowhere to be seen: the eclectic movements; defenders attacking; attacker defending; the frantic football that left your head in a spin, yet you wanted to see more and more. And more.

People have to remember it is no longer Marcelo Bielsa’s team. It’s Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi’s. But the marriage they didn’t want to end did. Reluctantly, they have had a new partner for a while now and they want it to end. Quick.

Despite taking the lead through a ridiculous own goal, Chile never looked comfortable and were soon pegged back through Felipe Caicedo. The same player made it 2-1 after Pablo Contreras was shown a second yellow for bringing down Ibarra in the box; the penalty was missed but Caicedo netted the rebound. Segundo Castillo completed a score line that could, and should, have been more convincing.

So what exactly happened:

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