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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Chile prepare for Ecuador and Argentina – Off-field issues dominate the build up . . . again

Claudio Borghi has come under fire from all angles (img: apurogol.net)

It has been a while since we discussed Chile on here, but when we do there are usually off-field matters to talk about first, taking focus away from crucial World Cup qualifying matches. And once again it is no different as La Roja prepares for the upcoming double header; away to Ecuador on Friday and Tuesday’s home match with Argentina.

Only this time Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi has had to contend with more than one problem. Firstly, he won’t be on the sidelines in Ecuador or Santiago. A four-match FIFA ban – reduced from five – means that assistant Jamie Vera will take charge from the touchline.

Borghi was given a suspension due to a confrontation with the Colombian officials in Chile’s 2-0 away victory against Venezuela that saw the coach sent to the stands. It was reported that Borghi used ‘racist’ language. A claim Borghi has vehemently denied; Borghi is very likely to be telling the truth, shown by FIFA’s reduced sentence and recent documents that shed light on the incident. Borghi’s only offence seems to be using overly aggressive language towards the fourth official.

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Bolivia 0-2 Chile – La Roja scrap to a win before another scandal appears days before they face Venezuela

Aranguiz celebrates the opener

Chile scrapped their way past a Bolivian side, who can feel pained not to have picked up at least a point, thanks to goals late in each half by Charles Aránguiz and Arturo Vidal, in what was the fifth qualifying match for Brazil 2014.

The outcome was exactly what La Roja were looking for after the two comprehensive away defeats previously to Argentina and Uruguay and lifts them into second place behind Argentina in the qualifying standings. However the means in achieving the victory were not what football fans across the globe have come to expect from Chile.

A more clinical opponent in a match officiated by a competent referee could easily have resulted in Chile’s third defeat of the World Cup qualifying, leaving an uphill task for Claudio ‘Bichi’ Borghi’s side. But with Arturo Vidal back in the heart of the midfield La Roja huffed and puffed, scrapped and fought and eventually won through thanks in no part to the determination affirmed by the two goals scored from midfield.

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Chile Squad Announced (last week) – Vidal returns to La Roja

Vidal; Back in La Roja.

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.

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Chile Announce Squad to Face Uruguay and Paraguay

Recalled

Claudio Borghi sprang a pleasant surprise for Chilean football fans by recalling Alexis Sanchez to La Roja’s squad for the crucial (they’re all crucial to be fair) World Cup qualifying double header with the Copa America finalists, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The Barcelona attacker missed the first pair of matches against Argentina and Peru due to a hamstring injury picked up against Real Sociedad in early September. Event though there is concern from Barcelona, amongst others, about his fitness Borghi had no qualms over calling him up to the 25 man sqauad.

Sanchez adds to the already bulging attacking talent at Bichi’s disposal. Attacking talent that persuaded the Chilean coach to go to Buenos Aires with three forwards and a ‘No 10’, only to suffer a 4-1 defeat before plundering four goals themselves in a devastating attacking performance against Peru in Santiago.

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