A reliable and versatile defender able to line up centrally or on the right of coach Marcelo Bielsa’s favoured three-man backline, Waldo Ponce poses an aerial threat in the opposition box and also takes a mean set piece.
Now a virtually certain starter under ‘El Loco’ Bielsa, Ponce’s development was aided by a brief spell in Germany’s Bundesliga at Wolfsburg, who he joined from Universidad de Chile in 2003 at the age of just 20. Though he returned to his first club just six months later, Ponce had matured as a player and person and in 2008 enjoyed another foreign sojourn at Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield, where he won the 2009 Clausura. But after losing his grip on a starting berth at Velez, he moved back to his homeland and Universidad Catolica in January 2010.
Ponce appeared in 13 of Chile's 18 qualifiers on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, grabbing a vital goal in the 4-2 win over Colombia in Medellin that sealed La Roja's passage to the finals. “We’ve got a tough group but it’s not insurmountable,” said Ponce, who is likely to start Chile’s Group H opener against Honduras in Nelspruit.
“There are no strong or weak opponents: we have to try and beat them all and go as far as we can. We won’t be intimidated just because we’re in the same group as Spain.”