Vidal: Chile can win Russia 2018
Arturo Vidal has declared that Chile can win the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and expressed his desire to go down as his country’s greatest player of all time. La Roja have what is popularly considered their best-ever team, having won back-to-back Copa America crowns and boasting the likes of Claudio Bravo, Vidal and Alexis Sanchez. They are also bidding to reach three consecutive World Cups for the first time – Chile sit fourth in South American qualifying, behind Ecuador on goal difference and above Argentina by a point.
“First we have to qualify well, leave a good impression,” Vidal told Radio ADN. “Keep growing as a team. And in Russia try to become world champions.
“We’re very demanding with what we want. It’s very difficult to become world champions, but we can. With effort you can achieve a lot. If we unite you can expect something big.”
Vidal’s optimism owes much to the work of Juan Antonio Pizzi. The Argentina-born former Spain striker succeeded Jorge Sampaoli at the reins in January, and guided them to a penalty shoot-out victory over Argentina in the Copa America final in June.
“The adaptation has gone really well,” said Vidal. “I’m very focused on achieving important things, and Juan arrived at a difficult time. We tried to adapt as quickly as possible. There was a good connection and we won a final against the team they said was the best in the world.”
Vidal and Sanchez have broken into the pantheon of Chile’s all-time best players, which also houses the likes of Leonel Sanchez, Elias Figueroa, Carlos Caszely, Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas, and the 29-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder wants to retire as the undisputed top dog.
“My career isn’t over yet, but I want to go down as the most important in history, achieving a lot and carrying Chile’s name well abroad. Then I could tell you I was the best.”
Chile have competed in nine World Cups – a total surpassed by only three South American sides, namely Brazil (20), Argentina (16) and Uruguay (12). La Roja’s best campaign came on home soil in 1962, when they beat Switzerland, Italy, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, before falling 4-2 to a Garrincha-inspired Brazil in a thrilling semi-final.