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Chile's World Cup Preview: Roster Grades

La U con el Rangers

Chile

The Keeper

Team captain Claudio Bravo of Real Sociedad is the side’s starting keeper and I would say he is about average for the tournament’s starters in between the posts.  Bravo’s side did have a great deal of WCQ success, but they were not spectacular defensively allowing 22 goals which was only sixth best in the ten team South American group.  Still Bravo is a solid keeper to have in there.

Grade: C + 

The Defense

The Chilean defense lacks star power, but they do have decent overall depth.  Waldo Ponce of the domestic league, Gonzalo Jara of Westbromich Albion, and Gary Medel of the Boca Juniors makeup the critical players on the back line.  Ismael Fuentes and Roberto Cereceda will likely see regular minutes as well and Pablo Conteras and Miguel Riffo should likely make the final roster.

Grade: C +

The Midfield

Arturo Vidal is the midfield unit’s most talented player and the German league starter will be joined on the pitch by a diverse group of worldwide league players including: Carlos Carmona of Reggina as the likey starter at center midfield, Matias Fernandez of Portugal’s Sporting CP possibly in the center as well, and Jean Beausejour of Mexico’s America as the likely starting left winger.  Jorge Valdivia, Hugo Droguett, and Mauricio Isla are all decent options with plenty of caps as well.

Grade: B

The Forwards

Humberto Suazo is the main man in the middle and expect the Zaragoza star to be the club’s finisher this summer.  In fact following his brilliant performance in the WCQ, Suazo is a great sleeper pick to score the most goals in the entire tournament.   Alexis Sanchez of Udinese will likely join Suazo in the starting lineup and Mark Gonzalez recently had a worthy champions league run with Russian side CSKA Moscow.  The three headed monster on attack created headaches for South American teams this recent WCQ.  With only one goal trailing Brazil, Chile deserves some respect in the attack grades.

Grade: A –

Overall

Chile has the most underrated attack in the World Cup and they are certainly a feared fourth seed.  They have plenty of offensive firepower with a trio of playmakers, but the only question is can they buckle down on defense?  They didn’t do spectacularly on defense in the WCQ and they don’t have nearly as much star power on paper as they do on offense, but Chile is certainly a worthy team of second round stuff.  After all they beat Argentina by more than a match to seal a spot in the tournament.

Grade: B

Creative Commons License photo credit: Paul Lowry

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