10 years after Canada 2007, Chile aims for world football summit

Chile’s midfielder Arturo Vidal (L-8) and teammates celebrate as Chile goes into the finals of the 2017 Confederations Cup semi-final football match after beating Portugal in a penelty shoot out at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 28, 2017. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Chilean football has been on a steady progression since 2007 when they finished third at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Most members of the team, which beat Nigeria 4-0 in the quarterfinals in Montreal, have gone on to win the Copa America twice and will today challenge world champions, Germany for the Confederations Cup title.

In the current squad in Russia are Mauricio Isla, Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Gary Medel, Michael Silva, Eduardo Vargas, Jean Beausejour, Pablo Hernandez, Claudio Bravo, Francisco Silva, Pablo Diaz, Eugenio Mena, Edson Valencia. They will confront a German team that is using the Confederations Cup to rejig its squad.

Both teams are looking to more trophies to enhance their recent successes.Chile needed penalties to defeat Portugal but will take a huge mental boost from that semi-final. Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo—who saved no fewer than three spot kicks in that shootout—have been the key men, and they possess the intensity and experience necessary to secure another triumph in Russia.

On their part, Germany’s new-look squad will be buoyed by their 4-1 rout of Mexico to reach the showpiece match, but it may prove a bridge too far for the European side. Their defensive frailties have been exposed throughout the tournament, and Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men will almost certainly be ready to exploit that.

On one hand Chile’s experience could prove so crucial in this final. They showed great will to win their penalty shootout against Portugal and have come from behind so many times in this tournament. On the other hand, Germany’s fearless youngsters have nothing to lose and have just hammered Mexico 4-1.

Germany’s manager, Joachim Loew opted not to bring his World Cup winning stars to the Confederations Cup, but his young stars booked their place in today’s final in St Petersburg after a devastating opening spell in Sochi.

After Germany drew 1-1 with Chile in the group stages last Thursday, Loew had said his team are hungry enough to beat the Copa America champions if they meet in the final.“Chile are the most powerful opponent in this tournament, we know them pretty well and we expect them to go for it in the final,” said Loew. “They will go flat out for victory, we know,” pointed out Loew.

Loew also stated that he did not expect the side to make it to the final. “A lot of work has gone into our wins. We couldn’t pre-empt this (reaching the final) as some players had little experience. But we’ve become a team over the last few weeks. There’s fun in the dressing room, but they aren’t over the top,” stated Loew. “They (the boys) know there is work ahead and they are ambitious enough to beat Chile,” he added.

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