Until recently, Las Rojitas had yet to cause a stir on the South American women's football scene, having failed to make it past the group stage of any regional event. But the award of hosting rights to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2008 has stirred the Chilean football association into action, ushering in a new era for the country's finest female players.
Since taking the national team reins, Chile's new Spanish-born coach Marta Tejedor has focused on restructuring women's football in the country from top to bottom. And with this year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in mind, Tejedor has also put a strict training programme in place. The first step was to educate her charges on the importance of physical fitness, with the next step focusing on improving the players' technical ability and tactical awareness. Once those stages were well underway, Tejedor's focus turned to giving her side some competitive action - a goal achieved at March's U-20 Sudamericano on home soil. And the coach's efforts appear to be bearing fruit: La Rojitas reached the final stage of the tournament on the back of solid and disciplined displays.
The national team continue to make steady progress, Tejedor putting her 25-player squad through an intensive training and preparatory programme designed to hone their competitive edge and desire for self-improvement. "The girls have worked really well, showing both dedication and commitment. The World Cup was the aim when I came here, and what we're doing now is geared towards that. I'm sure that Chile will go on to be a force in women's football," said the Spanish supremo.
Chile have never previously appeared at this competition.
Nathalie Quezada (quick striker with an eye for goal), Daniela Pardo (midfield driving force and team captain), Romina Parraguirre (goalkeeper blessed with sharp reflexes), Juanita Pena (commanding centre-back with superb aerial ability).
Chile qualified automatically for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup as host nation.
The numbers game
0 - The number of times Chile have taken part at this event in the past.