Chile's golden generation

Chile Flag

Arturo Vidal, one of the stars of Chile and Juventus, believe that his country has never had so many talented players at the same time, with Manchester United starlet Angelo Henriquez the latest to be called up to the national side

We in England know much about the perils of labelling a side a "golden generation". After many years of disappointment, the likes of Gerrard, Beckham and Lampard never brought home the trophy they promised, and the pressure placed upon them when at tournaments may have helped to hinder their attempts.

However Arturo Vidal of Chile obviously feels no pressure to be modest about his country's current talent, happily telling FIFA.com that he believes this generation is the best they've ever had.

The last time we saw Chile on the World stage they thrilled us with their attacking performances at World Cup 2010. Macro Bielsa set them up in what at times looked like a 3-3-1-3 formation, and they qualified from their group only to be defeated by Brazil in the second round.

With the next World Cup on their continent, Chile will be desperate to qualify again, and the absence of hosts Brazil in their qualification group should make the task a little easier. A painful defeat 3-1 at home to Colombia halted a run of three straight wins, but they are still level on points with Uruguay who are in the last automatic qualifying place in the group. With Argentina and Colombia also ahead of them, Chile will probably need to overhaul Ecuador to qualify automatically.

Chile's most famous players are probably Vidal and Sanchez, who play for Juventus and Barcelona respectively, but they have a host of other talent playing all around Europe's top leagues. Many of the players are very adaptable, and rotate quite freely around Chile' formation, giving their attacks plenty of dynamism.

Chile face two vital games in this international break. The first travel away to Ecuador on Friday, where the stadium is based high in the Andes, making acclimatisation a difficult task for visiting sides. Chile then play Argentina at home next Tuesday.

Argentina, as you would expect in the absence of Brazil, currently sit top of the qualifying group, and defeated Chile 4-1 in the return fixture. But Chile do have an excellent chance on their own turf, having beaten Argentina 1-0 there in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

The hope for neutrals would be that Chile do qualify for Brazil, they have an exciting, expansive style, and some wonderful stars. That said, most of the teams in South America can say the same, it might be worth tuning in to a couple of their matches this international break.

image: © markscottjohnson

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