Chile have been one of the teams to watch at the 2014 World Cup finals and have deservedly booked their place in the round of 16.
The South American side kicked off their campaign in Brazil with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Australia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, and in the next fixture got the better of Spain 2-0 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
While winning against the Socceroos was hardly a surprise, the way Jorge Sampaoli’s side played against Spain and beat them in every department stunned everyone.
Two first-half goals proved enough for Chile to stamp their mark on a faltering Spain side, who crashed out of the World Cup following that defeat.
Next up for Chile on Monday were the Netherlands, and ahead of that encounter in Sao Paulo, midfielder Arturo Vidal claimed that his side can go all the way to the final if they maintain their performance against Spain.
‘If we play the same way all tournament as we did against Spain, we can make it all the way to final’, he told reporters.
Vidal is not a stranger to winning silverware: he is an integral part of the Juventus side who have clinched Serie A for the past three seasons.
Since moving to the Italian giants from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2011, the 27-year-old has taken his game to a whole new level and is now considered by many as the best box-to-box midfielder in the world. So much so that Vidal has been linked with a move to Manchester United and is rated at £50 million.
However, Vidal’s claims that Chile can reach the final of the World Cup are probably a bit too much to digest, especially after the way they failed to pick up even a point against the Netherlands, who kicked off their campaign with a 5-1 annihilation of Spain.
Louis van Gaal’s Oranje were not pretty to watch against Chile, but tactically they were superb.
A five-man defence saw the energetic South American players struggle to find space and time on the ball. In the second half, the Netherlands played a 4-3-3, were more adventurous and eventually picked up a 2-0 win, thanks to two late goals.
It is this flexibility and pragmatic approach that Chile will have to combat if they want to go all the way to the final. Next up for them is Brazil, who will be even more bent on winning at any cost than the Dutch.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side have not been exactly great to watch, but they are certainly a team who know how to win matches without playing exceptionally well.
In their opening game against Croatia, Brazil fell behind after just 11 minutes but still won the contest 3-1.
The Selecao failed to win against Mexico and conceded an equaliser against Cameroon on Monday, but ultiimately clinched the match 4-1.
Brazil have progressed to the round of 16 as Group A winners and will face Group B runners-up Chile for a place in the quarter-finals at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte on June 28.
Four years, the two sides met at the same stage. On that occasion, Brazil emerged triumphant. This time they are likely to be successful too.