Football

Chile can be the surprise package at the World Cup

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A fiercely proud nation expects big things this summer. They believe it's their time to come to the fore and give a good account of themselves. Chile have come to Brazil full of confidence and ready to battle for their nation.

Many people have deemed Chile a sufficient enough threat to make them outside contenders for the trophy itself, and while this may seem like hopeful speculation to most there are grounds for this support.

Even bookmakers have agreed and set the price for a Chilean triumph as short as 40/1, making them as likely winners as Portugal, and this is even considering they are in a group with the current world champions Spain and the beaten finalists of 2010 Holland.

So far they have done what is required; a 3-1 victory against Australia means they are second in the group behind Holland and a favourable result against Spain will give real hope to a last 16 place at their expense.

However if things don't go their way they will have to put in a mighty impressive performance in Sao Paulo against Holland and based on Fridays results it will be a big ask, but anything is possible in tournament football.

A lot will be expected of the golden trio of Vargas, Vidal and Sanchez but Chile are a side that are solid and have a extremely good understanding of team play. Their brand of quick passing and aggressive tactics put teams under a lot of pressure and in the South American heat this can play into their hands.

It showed against Australia where their first two dangerous attacks culminated in two goals, and at that point they could have kicked on and really imposed themselves upon the Aussies but they allowed themselves to get pegged back. They wont get as many chances against the other two teams in their group so they must learn to not switch off.

The current crop of talent to come out of Chile is widely recognised as the best in many years, even more so than in the days of the legendary Marcelo Salas.

Players like Vidal, Sanchez and Bravo are all playing for top European sides and especially this season they have been particularly prominent. Arturo Vidal is being followed by many top sides around Europe and considering he already plays for Juventus he is on his way to the top no question. He's elegant in possession, has a very expansive passing range which he couples with a typical South American temper. He controls the middle of the park like a dictator.

Their main goal threats though are Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez, the latter being of Barcelona no less. His sublime dribbling and good finishing instincts for a winger are his key attributes and he has been a full international since the age of 17. He's only 16 caps away from the record held by Leonel Sanchez (no relation) and 14 goals short of Salas' national record.

Vargas maybe slightly less well known but is still a key cog and will be eager to prove himself having only scored five goals this season as opposed to Sanchez's 15.

People may look towards Chile's lack of height overall as a potential weakness which is entirely true, they are one of the smaller teams in the tournament and that may be exploited at the latter stages should they make it far.

Their defence isn't devoid of players who can do a job though, the likes of Isla and Euginio Mena are useful attacking outlets from the back and will be key players in both attack and defence.

That's not forgetting about the talent in the middle of the park either, goalscorer in the 3-1 victory Valdivia and Marcelo Diaz were both good enough to keep Matias Fernandez of Fiorentina out the side. In keeping with South American tradition they have a talented goalkeeper in Bravo in their ranks who like most keepers from the continent are excellent shot stoppers and very athletic, as well as great organisers of their back lines. He is considered influential enough to be named captain.

Overall I think much will depend on how their game with Spain will go, if they avoid defeat then I will back them to make it out the group. If they don't I find it hard to see them getting anything against Holland, whatever happens in those games you can bet anything they wont lie down and make it easy for them.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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