The importance and of Arturo Vidal to Chile was evident last week as Claudio Borghi named his 25-man squad for the upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifying double header against Bolivia and Venezuela.
Serving a 10 game suspension from the national side, along with Carlos Carmona, Gonzalo Jara, Jean Beausejour and Jorge Valdivia for the part they played in the ‘Chile 5’in November last year, it was expected Vidal would miss the crucial qualifying matches with Chile lying 5th in the qualification table.
However Vidal has been pardoned by the ANFP – Chilean Football Association – allowing him to take his place in Borghi’s squad.
In the last few weeks Arturo has been one of the star players in Serie A, scoring four goals in his last eight games, as Juventus claimed their first Serie A title since relegation to Serie B after the Calciopoli scandal that engulfed the Italian Peninsula in 2006.
Kevin Harbottle. Remember the name (I'll make sure you will). (IMG: deportes.terra.cl)
1. Despite not playing Universidad de Chile still Chile’s top dogs
When Eduardo Vargas left for Napoli it was expected he would be the first of many from Universidad de Chile’s Copa Sudamericana squad to depart for Argentina, Brazil and Europe. In the end he was followed through the departure door by central defender Marcos González plus a handful of squad players as a number of new and exciting players arrived. With Universidad de Chile and fellow play-off finalists Cobreloa not playing this weekend it meant that the pretenders, namely Universidad Católica and Colo Colo, had the chance to show that 2012 is not going to be another dominated by Los Azules juggernaut.
Universidad Católica were first up but produced a limp first half ‘at’ Palestino (the game was played at the Estadio Nacional) despite the presence of sufficient attacking quality. The midfield lacking Francisco Silva’s passing range and authority struggled to locate a good tempo. The second half was much improved as Kevin Harbottle saw more of the ball as Nicolás Trecco was introduced and Felipe Gutiérrez pushed further forward. The question will be if the squad can handle both the Apertura and Copa Liberatadores.
With the Clausura’s top two – Universidad de Chile and Cobreloa – not in action there was a chance for one of the contenders to lay down an early marker as Santiago inhabitants looked to escape the baking heat which had swept the capital.
However Colo Colo were booed off at home to Deportes Iquique – who had new signing Edson Puch impressing on his debut – while Universidad Católica recovered from an insipid first half performance to collect three points. There was better news for Union Española who added to their first round first-leg Coap Libertadores win with maximum points.
The two promoted teams enjoyed mix fortunes back in the Primera.
In the last couple of weeks I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked in keeping everyone up-to-date with all things Chilean football due to work, festivities and illness. Earlier in the week I briefly wrote about the Clausura play-off final and also an in-depth article on Universidad de Chile and Jorge Sampaoli’s success.
And instead of spamming everyone’s timeline on Twitter I thought it would be better to write about all the latest news that may be of interest which has happened recently. Unsurprisingly news has been dominated by the three Santiago ‘giants’ but there is news of returns to Chile for high profile players as well a new TV deal, coaching changes and the start of the Apertura campaign.