The last time Chile visited Wembley Marcelo Salas scored two without reply (one of them a real beauty) to shock Glenn Hoddle’s England, and announce themselves as one of the top sides in the world ahead of France ’98. With Chile set to visit Wembley once more on Friday we take a look at three of the South American country’s top players.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
The Juve midfielder has become one of Serie A’s top playersin the last twelve months, employing an all-round box-to-box game up there with the best in the world. England will have to be wary of his bursts from midfield on Friday, and it may well be the case that Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, two of the great box-to-box midfielders of the modern game, face the unenviable task of keeping up with him. Has scored six times in fourteen games for Juventus this season, as the Italian champions chase down Rudi Garcia’s high-flying Roma.
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona)
When Barcelona shelled out a club record fee for Brazilian youngster Neymar this summer, many thought that Alexis Sanchez, himself a former wonderkid of South American football, would be one of the players to miss out. Instead, the Chilean, still only 24-years-old, has exploded into form, with his spectacular decider over Real Madrid proving just how much talent he has at his disposal. With Lionel Messi recently ruled out for eight weeks in an injury-hit first half of the season, Sanchez will be looking to add to his impressive seven goals in fifteen games
The highest profile Chilean plying his trade in England, the “Pitbull” has impressed for Cardiff this season since his summer move from Sevilla. Often deployed in central defence for his country despite his diminutive nature; his tussle with Wayne Rooney, if the England striker plays, promises to be a fierce, no-holds-barred battle. Plus, if the rumours are true, he’s named after England hero Gary Lineker, which is as fine a player as any to name a baby after, even though the Chilean’s disciplinary record clearly hasn’t taken after his namesake. Medel got seven red cards in two seasons in Spain.
image: © markscottjohnson