Chile are the dark horses in Group B, after finishing third in their qualifying group, two points behind Colombia and four points behind Argentina. They can do some damage and will be pleased to avoid both Holland and Spain in their opening group game. If that match is a draw and Chile can start off with a win against Australia, a shock could be on the cards as they should only need one more victory to progress.
Holland and Spain should have enough to qualify from the group ahead of the Chileans, who may have finished third in qualifying but lost more games than any of the other top five. In short, if Chile do not win, they have a tendency to lose, and that could see them taking an early flight home, especially as their defence is relatively weak compared with the other South American nations competing.
Four years ago Chile were the talk of the group stage as they played with an exciting and energetic style that pleased many a neutral. Now far more mature, Jorge Sampaoli’s side boasts two of the most talented and sought-after players in Europe in the form of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez. The side has energy and confidence aplenty and a truly world-class player in Vidal.
Defence could be a big problem this summer, especially as Chile come up against some of the best attacking talent in Europe before they can even think about the knock-out rounds. They conceded 25 goals in qualifying, finishing up with a goal-difference of just +4. Chile also lack a penalty box striker and that could see them fall short despite their undeniable talent.
Vidal is a phenomenal midfielder, the complete package in fact, and it is no wonder there is talk of a £50million price-tag on his head. Long linked with Manchester United, Vidal is excellent in defence and prolific in attack, and he will hope to put his mark on this tournament.
One to Watch
Eduardo Vargas is a 24-year-old attacker who enjoyed a good scoring-run in qualifying. Predominantly a right-winger he can also play on the opposite flank or up front when required. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Valencia from parent-club Napoli. During that time he scored five goals and provided four assists and his presence will mean all eyes cannot be on the dangerous Sanchez.
If they get off to a good start against Australia, Chile just might cause a shock. They will almost certainly need to beat either Spain or Holland to get out of the group but that is definitely possible given the talent at their disposal. That said, I have a feeling they will fall just short and head home after the first round.