How they qualified
After Chile started their qualifying campaign by winning 12 of the first 18 points on offer, including away victories in Bolivia and Venezuela, three consecutive defeats (among them two home fixtures against Colombia and Argentina) spelled the end of Argentinian coach Claudio Borghi’s tenure. His compatriot Jorge Sampaoli was brought in as a replacement, although his reign got off to a poor start with a reverse in Peru. Yet the loss marked a turning point in Chile’s campaign, as they subsequently embarked on their best ever run of results in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying, chalking up five victories and a draw in their next six encounters to qualify for a second successive World Cup for the first time.
Under Sampaoli La Roja developed into an extremely attack-minded team, so much so that their 29-goal haul during qualification was bettered by only one nation. However, they also conceded more often (25 times) than any of the continent’s other automatic qualifiers and drew only once in their 16 qualifying fixtures.
FIFA World Cup finals history
With eight FIFA World Cups™ under their belts, Chile are level with Paraguay in fourth place on the list of South American nations that have appeared at most editions of the showpiece event. Their best performance to date came when finishing third as host nation in 1962. On five other occasions they have failed to progress from the group phase, while at France 1998 and South Africa 2010 they reached the Round of 16, only to exit at the hands of Brazil on both occasions.
The key players
Forwards Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, as well as attacking midfielders Matias Fernandez and Arturo Vidal, are the leading men in a squad packed with talent and boasting viable alternatives in each position. Nor must we forget experienced performers such as Claudio Bravo, Gary Medel and Jorge Valdivia, or exciting rising stars like Jean Beausejour and Marcelo Diaz.
Coach: Jorge Sampaoli
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Chile 1962 (Third place), FIFA U-17 World Cup Japan 1993 (Third place), FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 (Third place), Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000 (Third place)
Former stars: Elias Figueroa, Ivan Zamorano, Marcelo Salas