Argentine Jorge Sampaoli coached Chile to two back-to-back Copa America titles in 2015 and again in 2016, in its centenary year.
But Sampaoli had an offer to coach his national team and he accepted readily. He was replaced by another Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi who now readies Chile for their Confederations Cup debut.
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Drawn alongside Germany, Cameroon and Australia in group B, Chile have a wonderful chance to make it to the semi-finals finishing among the top two.
World champions Germany have a relatively fresh squad with most of the stars being rested for the World Cup next year. Consequently, Chile, La Roja or the Red One, can be expected to even top the pool as they have a comparatively more experienced players in the line-up in Russia.
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Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal are among the squad. With the likes of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo of Manchester City, Felipe Gutierrrez of Internacional, Gary Medel of Inter Milan and Marcelo Diaz of Celta Vigofor company, Chile look formidable on paper. Many of them were involved in the twin Copa America triumphs and can get along splendidly as a team.
With Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay for company in their South American campaigns, Chile have had to live in their shadows for long. But having come out of it in 2015 while winning their maiden Copa America title, the Chileans are now talked off on par with their more famous continental rivals.
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Chile have a long and cherished history though. They figured as one of the 13 teams in the inaugural world Cup in 1930. Then in 1962, at the height of the Pele era, Chile hosted the World Cup and finished a very creditable third. They have figured in nine World Cups since 1930.
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Despite a long and hectic season, the players are sure to give a matching performance in the national team colours. Vidal and Sanchez are tireless players and can inspire others immensely. Add the enthusiasm and work rate of the likes of Medeland Edurado Vargas Mauricio Isla, and Chile will be more than a handful to any opponent.
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In any case, Chile have carved out a new order in international football and there is no looking back now.
Goalkeepers: Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen), Claudio Bravo (Manchester City). Defenders: MarceloDiaz (Celta Vigo), Paulo Diaz (San Lorenzo), Felipe Gutierrez (Internacional), Pedro Pablo Hernandez (Celta Vigo), Mauricio Isla (Cagliari), Gary Medel (Inter), Eugenio Mena (Sport Recife). Midfielders: Edson Punch (Necaxa), EnzoRoco (Cruz Azul), Martin Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Francisco Silva (Cruz Azul). Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Eduardo Vargas (Tigres UANL), Nicolas Castillo (Pumas UNAM), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich).
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