The 2014 World Cup runners-up became the first team other than hosts Russia to qualify for next year’s tournament in March. Chile are guaranteed automatic qualification with a win, but anything else could see them fighting for the fourth-place play-off spot—or worse. Read on for a preview of Wednesday’s climactic CONMEBOL qualification curtain call, complete with fixture details and live-stream information. Although it was some seven months ago that Brazil booked their place in next year’s World Cup finals, it’s not in Tite’s style to allow his players to take their foot off the pedal, and recent results have shown.
Click here’ Chile’s upcoming hosts have suffered three losses in qualifying—three fewer than any other CONMEBOL team—and La Roja’s record of three defeats in their past four outings doesn’t look nearly as intimidating. However, what’s essential is that Chile ended a recent three-loss streak with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Friday, and hero Alexis Sanchez will again be vital to their hopes of toppling Brazil as he was in Santiago, via Goal: Brazil find themselves in the advantageous position of not only being able to rest easy heading into their last qualifier—having already secured a World Cup place—but also having the ability to knock out a fierce rival.
It’s unsurprising Tite hasn’t permitted his players a moment of relaxation given the team was in some disarray when he took over in June 2016, with complacency perhaps one of their greater weaknesses. While the Selecao have their fair share of superstars such as Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, the manager has made an effort to rotate his squad, and FourFourTwo‘s Jack Lang highlighted one method by which his men are kept on their toes. Tite’s team have already qualified for the World Cup in Russia, and so may rest players or not play at the same intensity as the visitors who won’t be leaving anything to chance given that only a win will 100% guarantee qualification.
Fans in Brazil might even welcome a Chile win, as it would mean much less of a chance that arch-rivals Argentina qualify. However, talk of the team losing on purpose was of course quickly dismissed. Chile won the last time the teams met in 2015 and relish the big occasion, as demonstrated by their Copa America wins in 2015 and 2016, as well as their run to the Confederations Cup final in the summer.
In Brazil they face one of the best teams in iworld football at this moment in time. It’s a game that could go either way, so we’re backng. It remains to be seen whether this will be an open clash between two sides known for their attacking flair or a nervy encounter, given that Chile have anything on the line. 1-1 looks a good bet at Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men will find it hard to keep the hosts flamboyant frontline quiet, especially in Brazil. You can back Neymar to add to his 52 international goals and open the scoring.