Chile Down on Troops for Argentina Clash
After terrible performances against Ecuador and Colombia, Claudio Borghi is under pressure to keep his job. He is not helped by the fact he joins a full team on the sidelines for the match.
SANTIAGO — Following the 3-1 loss against Ecuador, Chile need a win to keep their World Cup qualifying campaign on track. Pressure is building on coach Claudio Borghi, who remains suspended after a verbal spray against officials in Venezuela.
Joining him on the sidelines is a full team worth of players, out through either injury or suspensions, including captain Claudio Bravo and vice-captain Humberto Suazo. I Love Chile has named a lineup that won’t be taking the field against Messi and friends.
Chile - Claudio Bravo (c), José Rojas, Pablo Contreras, Osvaldo González, Waldo Ponce; Eugenio Mena, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aránguiz, Jorge Valdivia; Humberto Suazo, Mauricio Pinilla. Coach – Claudio Borghi.
Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad) - A critical loss to injury. The loss of the captain and goalkeeper is always a heavy blow to the team. While many have called for the selection of Johnny Herrera, his war of words with Borghi will not help his case. Bravo, alongside the suspended Contreras are Chile’s most experienced active players and are better off on the field.
José Rojas (Universidad de Chile) - The azules captain joined Mena and Aránguiz on the injured list. All three got their chance in the national team after five players were suspended for ten matches.
Pablo Contreras (Olympiakos) - The veteran defender became Chile’s most capped active player in the Ecuador clash. Despite all the experience, he received his second suspension of the qualifying campaign.
Osvaldo González (Universidad de Chile) - González was the only player based in Chile to join the starting lineup against Ecuador. A second yellow card for the campaign will see him sit out the next clash.
Waldo Ponce (Universidad de Chile) - “La U” signed Ponce on a loan deal from Cruz Azul. The defender was still recovering from his injury sustained against Paraguay in 2011. After one appearance in the Copa Chile, Ponce will return to surgery and miss the rest of the season.
Eugenio Mena and Charles Aránguiz (Universidad de Chile) – Like Rojas, both players were on the injured list before the squad was announced.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus) - After talking about Chile’s current squad being the “greatest generation of players”, Vidal took over the captaincy once Matías Fernández left the field. Not quite the example to follow, he was given a red card for an elbow to the face of his marker. Vidal will be sorely missed in the midfield. His return from suspension was key in victories over Bolivia and Venezuela.
Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras) - Apart from his well documented criticisms of coach Borghi, “El Mago” is now out until the end of the year with injury. Valdivia is the only player of the five suspended players not to receive a call-up to the national squad.
Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) - The veteran attacker, Chile’s lead goalscorer on the road to South Africa in 2010, has been struggling to hit the back of the net for the national team. While there is talk of an impending retirement from La Roja, an injury put the vice-captain out for these qualifiers.
Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari) - A disappointing cameo against Colombia saw Pinilla receive a yellow card in his short time on the field. The absence of Suazo would have made “Pinigol” a likely starter against Ecuador, but injury kept him out of the squad.
Claudio Borghi (Coach) - While pressure grows on “El Bichi”, there is little he can do once the siren sounds. Borghi was suspended after abusing match officials in the victory over Venezuela. Once again, assistant Jaime Vera will take over the duties.
Chilean legend Ivan Zamorano came out in support of Borghi today, saying on Argentina’s Radio Rivadavia, “Chileans are very extreme, we go from believing that we were world champions to saying we were a disaster. You have to be cautious and optimistic, and I am.” He also remarked that the team had “lost its compass” and some players were playing below their level.
Who do you think would win between the sidelined team and the team that will take the field on Tuesday? Let us know in the comments.