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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Boca Juniors 2-0 Universidad de Chile – Boca throw of the defensive shackles to shock La U

It was billed as one of the games of the year. Argentine champions versus all-conquering Chilean champions. Pragmatism versus exciting fluidity. Defensive organisation versus exhilarating attacks. But what transpired was Boca Juniors showing world football that there is more to their game than organisation and counter-attacks.

And once more Universidad de Chile is left with it all to do in the second-leg of their Copa Libertadores semi-final tie. In the previous round they scraped past Paraguay’s Libertad on penalties while the tie before that saw El Chuncho overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit with a 6-0 victory in Santiago.

But this time it is different. This time they trail 2-0 to Boca. A Boca side who have conceded just 20 goals in their previous 36 league matches. A Boca team who give off the aura of perennial winners.

It was expected that Boca would defend deep and attack the spaces La U left behind with swift counter-attacks. Yet Julio César Falconi and his side took a risk – with Juan Román Riquelme in tow – pressing La U high which led to both goals; scored by Santiago ‘El Tanque’ Silva and Juan Sánchez Miño. Counter-attacking weapon Clemente Rodríguez missed out at left-back and was replaced by Sánchez Miño while Pablo Mouche started up front . . . and had the game of his live.

La U, lining up in their usual 3-4-3 variant, was visibly shaken to the point they failed to emerge from their slumber, constantly losing possession and lacking in any defensive organisation. The latter a problem that is becoming all too frequent for Jorge Sampaoli.

Continue reading

Universidad de Chile 2-1 Peñarol – Rodríguez’s late strike puts La U in the driving seat to qualify for the knock-out stages

Mati Rodriguez's double floors Penarol

Universidad de Chile left it late to jump back into second place in Group 8 of the Copa Libertadores, overcoming Peñarol 2-1 and ending the 2011 finalists’ campaign in the process.

La U went ahead early in the first half and looked in a confident position even when José Rojas squandered a penalty. However it appeared as if the missed chance from 12 yards would cost them as the Uruguayans equalised after the break but Matías Rodríguez popped up in injury time to score another crucial goal which leaves Los Azules only one point behind group leaders Atlético Nacional.

With little under three minutes on the clock Junior Fernándes powered down the cross and fired a low cross which was spilled by Fabián Carini and bundled in by Rodríguez.

Continue reading

Off-field Issues Disturb Build-up to Crucial Qualifiers. Standard.

Problems for Borghi again . . .

As good as they are at playing high-intensity, exciting football, Chile are just as adept at shooting themselves in the foot; well the players certainly are. Once again Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi has had to contend with off-field problems only days before a crucial World Cup qualifying double-header against Uruguay and Paraguay.

The squad that will be looking to add to the three points gained from the first pair of fixtures is much changed from the one that was announced at the end of October after five players were excluded from selection.

Jorge Valdivia, Arturo Vidal, Jean Beausejour, Carlos Carmona and Gonzalo Jara were sent away from La Roja squad having arrived back 45 minutes late from the christening of one of Valdivia’s sons. There were rumours that some had alcohol on their breath but ‘Bichi’ only announced that the players were ‘not in a proper state’.

Continue reading