A Marcelo Salas brace was enough to spoil Michael Owen’s international debut and give Chile a victory the last time they played England at Wembley in February 1998.
Despite the fact that La Roja are no longer blessed with the iconic Salas and Zamorano strike partnership that led them to France ’98, manger Jorge Sampaoli still has an abundance of talent at his disposable.
Sampaoli inherited the side that fellow Argentine Marcelo Bielsa took to the last-16 of the 2010 World Cup and a number of its key members have continued to light up Europe's biggest leagues as well as shine in the Premier League.
Although many will hail Mesut Ozil’s move from the Bernabau to the Emirates as the Premier League’s best summer buy, Gary Medel’s £11.5 million switch from Sevilla to Cardiff has given the Welsh side the spark they need to compete in the top flight.
Not only is the Chilean a robust and combative protector of the back four, he also boasts a pass completion rate that the likes of Xavi and Iniesta would be proud of.
In the Bluebirds victories against Fulham and Swansea, Medel completed 99% of passes at Craven Cottage and 98% in the South Wales derby. A player that can not only win the ball but can also ensure his team keeps possession of it is a treasured commodity for newly-promoted sides and Cardiff’s record signing has been rightly receiving glowing reports either side of the border.
Despite being without his influential midfield partner, the Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal due to a thigh strain, Medel will be joined by the tenacious Basel midfielder Marcelo
Diaz who was a key member of the Swiss sides run to the Europa League semi-finals last season.
Diaz also featured in Basel’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in the Champions league opener at Stamford Bridge this season. Medel and Diaz will be looking to spray passes to the adventurous wing-backs who flank them.
Down the right will be Juventus’ Mauricio Isla, who tirelessly marshals the right wing and on Medel’s left, the familiar figure of Wigan’s Jean Beausejour is likely to feature.
La Roja will be led out by experienced captain Claudio Bravo, the Real Sociedad ‘keeper will be familiar to Manchester United fans after saving Robin van Persie’s penalty in the recent Champions League clash that earned his side a draw.
Sampaoli has a variety of riches in his striking department. Alexis Sanchez, the poster-boy of Chilean football since his move from Udinese to Barcelona in 2011, is enjoying a decent run in the side due to Messi’s injury plagued season and has seven goals in 13 appearances this term which includes notching in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over Real Madrid.
Also staking a claim for a starting role at Wembley is Eduardo Vargas. The Napoli striker who is currently on loan at Brazilian club Gremio scored a brace against Spain in La Roja’s 2-2 draw in a September friendly.
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