Chile defender Jose Rojas hopes to repay the support shown by his side's fans in the wake of Friday's mauling by Uruguay when they take on Paraguay in their fourth 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier tomorrow. Chile were thrashed 4-0 by a Luis Suarez-inspired Uruguay and find themselves second-bottom of the South American qualifying group with three points.
That was Chile's second big defeat in three games, having lost 4-1 to Argentina in their opening match, but despite that Rojas insists the mood in the camp is good heading into tomorrow's match in Santiago. He also revealed the squad had been boosted by the reception they received from supporters following Friday's loss, telling reporters: "Losing to Uruguay was tough, but the love of fans at the airport cheered us up. We must win for them."
Rojas is not expecting it to be easy though, adding: "Paraguay are very good at dead balls so we must be careful if we want to pick up the three points." Chile are set to be boosted by the return of Alexis Sanchez after he missed the Uruguay match through injury. The Barcelona forward is in line to replace Carlos Toro in the side.
Paraguay go into the match having picked up four points from their opening three games, leaving them level on points with three other sides - Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Paraguay claimed their first qualifying win after beating Ecuador 2-1 on Friday but coach Francisco Arce knows his side will need to have their wits about them tomorrow if they are to have a chance of making it two wins from two.
Losing to Uruguay was tough, but the love of fans at the airport cheered us up. We must win for them.
He said of Chile: "Their wide men are strong, they manage the ball very well. We must be careful. We have to block their full-backs and attacking midfielder. We hope we can have more possession than in the last game."
Ecuador, who have three points from two games, will attempt to bounce back from their loss to Paraguay when they host Peru. Ecuador's Maximo Banguera, whose team now face a testing run of fixtures that will see them take on Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay after tomorrow's game, told reporters: "We must leave the Paraguay defeat behind and look to the future. We have games against very tough rivals but we have a united squad."
In tomorrow's other two matches, Colombia meet Argentina in Barranquilla, while Venezuela take on Bolivia. Bolivia earned an impressive 1-1 draw with mighty Argentina in Buenos Aires on Friday while on the same night Venezuela, who beat Argentina in their second qualifier, also recorded a 1-1 draw in their match against Colombia.
Venezuela boss Cesar Farias told Balonazos.com: "The point we gained in Colombia helps keep alive our dream of making it into the World Cup for the very first time. We must be patient. We can win by scoring either in the first or the 90th minute."