Chile Preview – Chile The Hot Bet For Group B
World Cup 2014
Many people’s fancy to go far in Brazil this summer, Chile are a good outside bet to win Group B.
Chile’s record of seven wins from twelve games in the last year is notable because it hasn’t been achieved solely by thrashing mediocre opposition.
Although they put four past Costa Rica and thrashed Iraq, they’ve also acquitted themselves well against tougher opponents, drawing 2-2 with Spain and giving England a football lesson in a 2-0 victory at Wembley. In fact, their only defeats since June 2013 have been one-goal losses to Germany and Brazil.
After six rounds of qualifying, Chile topped the CONMEBOL table, despite having suffered heavy losses to Argentina and Uruguay. But three more defeats knocked them down to fifth and triggered the removal of coach Claudio Borghi.
Borghi’s successor Jorge Sampaoli got off to a bad start with a 1-0 defeat in Peru, but a 2-0 victory over Uruguay got their campaign back on track and five wins from their last six games saw them qualify in third place behind Argentina and Colombia.
Chile’s squad was weakened by the withdrawal of Matias Fernandez with an ankle injury. Fernandez was an important part of Sampaoli’s attacking strategy, and his absence will put extra pressure on Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas.
Sampaoli will also be concerned about the fitness of Arturo Vidal. The Juventus player, regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world, underwent knee surgery earlier this month, and hopes to be fit for their opening game.
Still, one of the strengths of the Chile squad is the depth of midfield talent, and if Vidal is missing, there are capable deputies, such as Charles Aranguiz and Felipe Gutierrez who starred against England in Vidal’s absence.
Assuming that Chile will have no trouble in disposing of Australia,
their most important fixture won’t be their second against Spain, but their final match against the Netherlands.
The Spanish play a similar style and that game could turn into a bit of a stalemate, so Sampaoli will focus on beating the Dutch, who can be expected to wilt under the heat and the pressure of Chile’s relentless pressing and passing.
Under their new manager, Chile have returned to the methods introduced by Marcelo Bielsa. They press high up the pitch when they don’t have the ball and attack with mesmerising short-passing, pace and positional fluidity when they win it back.
This style can leave the defence exposed, and is most likely to come unstuck against other South American teams, but can be highly effective against European sides.
Chile have to win the group if they are to avoid Brazil in the second round, and I think they can pull that off by drawing with Spain and beating the Netherlands.
Back them in the World Cup Group B – Winner market at 4/1 and at 9/4 in the Holland v Chile Match Betting market.