Facing one of the toughest group stages of the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Chile have revealed that their midfield kingpin Arturo Vidal will be fit to play against Australia tonight.
Vidal's presence could be pivotal towards Chile's chances of emerging out of Group B. Chile must beat Australia in Cuiaba if they aim to joust 2010 World Cup finalists Netherlands or reigning champions Spain out of the last-sixteen of the World Cup.
The 28-year-old Juventus midfielder's chances of playing against Australia seemed doubtful, following a persistent struggle with an inflammation to his right knee following surgery on a meniscus problem.
However, Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli stated: "This story's over I think. The physio's done a marvellous job, Vidal's diagnosis is clear, there's a high chance he'll play."
In South American qualifying, Chile finished third behind Argentina and Colombia. Nevertheless, Sampaoli's squad beat fellow qualifiers Uruguay 2-0 and Ecuador 2-1 to comfortably see them qualify. Chile were guided through qualifying by the persistent attacking threat of Vidal, Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez.
In November 2013, Sampaoli's side gave England a footballing masterclass at Wembley. Roy Hodgson's dilapidated experimental side looked out of Chile's league. As Sampaoli's men conveyed their superiority at Wembley by beating England 2-0 which made them the first team since reigning World Cup Champions France in 1999 to beat England by two or more goals at Wembley.
On the other hand, Australia breezed through qualifying against the likes of Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Iraq. However, the Socceroos were beaten by Oman 1-0 and Jordan 2-1 which saw Japan top their Round Four qualifying group. Australian top scorers included Joshua Kennedy, Tim Cahill and Brett Holman.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is revelling in the prospect of upsetting anyone in Group B. Ahead of the Chile game, Australia are the lowest ranked team at the finals. Postecoglou told the Telegraph: "Chile feel they can make a big impact in this tournament, they've got an exceptionally strong unit, for us it's a massive challenge."
As the ultimate underdogs in the World Cup, the Aussies will be bringing 15,000 supporters to Cuiaba to cheer them on during their mammoth task of even generating a point in Group B. Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak will lead the Aussies out in Cuiaba and he told the Telegraph: "We know how far it is, it would be great to repay that effort, it'll be a very special moment."
To conclude, Australia have already been condemned to a certain exit from the World Cup and will be hell-bent on nicking a point wherever they can in Group B. Yet, the Chilean's are well aware that they stand a chance of qualifying with a convincing victory over the Aussies and a draw against Netherlands or Spain.
Furthermore, even if Vidal doesn't start tonight, he'll be able to get vital minutes under his belt before Chile's trip to Rio De Janeiro against Vicente del Bosque's Spain. Finally, Australia have never beaten Chile in any competition, drawing one and losing three so far.
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