It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Chile, winners of the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, won’t be at next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. In fact, as things stand, it’s looking pretty likely.
La Roja, following their 1-0 defeat against Bolivia on Tuesday night, must now rely on the teams above them in CONMEBOL’s World Cup qualifying group dropping points in order to secure their place at next year’s showpiece tournament.
With just two qualifying matches remaining, Chile find themselves sixth in the group. If they fail to leapfrog any of their fellow World Cup hopefuls before October 11, they won’t make the cut.
Argentina have also endured a dismal qualifying campaign and sit just one point above Chile in fifth place, while Peru have the same number of points as Jorge Sampaoli’s side.
It looks set to go right to the wire, although Chile end their campaign with a tough away match against Brazil in Sao Paulo. Failure to secure maximum points from their penultimate qualifier against Ecuador on October 5 and it’s safe to assume the Chileans won’t be in Russia next summer.
Chile’s players know just how costly Tuesday’s defeat in Le Paz could prove to be.
Alexis Sanchez posts angry message on Instagram
And Alexis Sanchez, who has endured a hugely frustrating couple of weeks after his transfer from Arsenal to Manchester City failed to materialise last week, has now vented his anger on Instagram.
The 28-year-old wrote: “You get tired of being criticised with reason and without reason, you get tired of wanting to be defeated, you get tired of saying to yourself “once more I’ll get up” after crying after a defeat, and you get tired of telling the world and people who are with you, that everything is going well.
“And the worst, that no one ever realises how that makes you feel … I have the [number] 7 of Chile and it is a huge responsibility, that’s why it pays me that journalists and bad people criticise without knowing …”
Why the post has confused some Arsenal fans
However, Arsenal fans aren’t convinced that Alexis is referring exclusively to Chile, and you can see why.
The photo he used was of him walking off the pitch following an Arsenal match - seems a bit strange if he’s only referring to his treatment in Chile, doesn’t it? - and, of course, he’s suffered more than his fair share of defeats with the Gunners over the course of 2017.
Sanchez, at the end of the day, is a winner. A winner who doesn’t react well to defeat.
It’s that winning mentality that has got him to where he is today.