Chile have been urged to “show the world that nothing is impossible for a Chilean” by the survivors of the mining disaster of four years ago. And it has clearly struck a chord with the players, with Chile having progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup.
The 33 miners who appear in the video were trapped underground for a total of 69 days, while the world watched on, hoping for a miracle.
Despite an original belief that there was little chance of survival, all the men prevailed the incident. Filmed on the site of the accident, Mario Sepulveda, one of the most known miners, announces to the world that they fear nobody.
“Spain is tough? Netherlands is tough?”
“We don’t fear the ‘death group. We don’t care about death, because we defeated death before.”
It is something that has clearly inspired Chile. After being placed in a tough group, Chile’s chances of making it out of this stage were made slim, having to beat either the Netherlands or Spain to have a chance of progressing.
Chile kicked off their World Cup against Australia, who they were expected to beat, and did in a game that ended with a 3-1 victory, following goals from Jorge Valdivia, Alexis Sanchez and Jean Beausejour.
However, few predicted the 2-0 victory over current holders, Spain. Eduardo Vargas put Chile ahead after 20 minutes and Charles Aranguiz doubled their lead just before half-time.
Spain had opportunities in the second half, through Diego Costa and Sergio Busquets, but failed to take their chances.
Prior to the tournament, Spain were tipped as likely to hold on to the title, having claimed victory in their past three major international tournaments. However, a defiant Chile side have made sure the champions failed to make it out of the group stage, while confirming their own place in the last-16.
Having booked their place in the next round with a game in hand, Chile will now turn their attention to their final group game against group leaders, the Netherlands.
They will face either Brazil, Mexico or Croatia in the next phase, but a victory over the Netherlands could see them avoid a last-16 clash with the tournament hosts.