A View from Oranje’s Opposition: Chile

The Netherlands are safely through to the last sixteen in what is turning out to be a good tournament for BeNeFoot. In their final group game, they take on one of the sides of the tournament so far in Chile to decide who will top the group and potentially avoid Brazil in the next round. To find out more about the Chilean side, we spoke to Chilean football expert and friend of the website Joel Sked, whom you can follow on Twitter here. He also has an excellent website and we thank him for his input.

Chile’s last two World Cup finals campaigns have been cut short in the second round by Brazil, how desperate Jorge Sampaoli’s men to avoid the hosts this time?

There is an attitude in the camp of not concerning themselves with who they face in the second round. But obviously they are wanting to win the group and deep down they would rather not face Brazil. If they do finish second, then beat Brazil they would likely play Colombia. Topping the group presents an easier run to the semi-final but it looks like Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz will be missing from the game.

Gary Medel is one of Chile's key players. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Gary Medel is one of Chile’s key players. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Is there a worry that a lack of height will cost Chile against Netherlands?

I don’t think it is something Sampaoli worries about. If he did he would have taken Marcos Gonzalez. Australia showed the problems that crosses can cause for Chile. With Van Persie out they shouldn’t have to worry about it too much in open play but corners will present some problems. La Roja will just have to make sure they score more!

What are the areas and weaknesses Netherlands can put pressure and capitalise on?

If Netherlands can move the ball quickly when they get possession they will be able to create overloads and there should be a lot of space to attacking into. With Netherlands you have Robben offering pace in behind which should open the game up for Wesley Sneijder but La Roja do get back quick, especially Marcelo Diaz, so he has to be swift in his passing.

With Aranguiz and Vidal expected not to play, how will Chile cover for them and how will it affect their style?

The likely replacements are Felipe Gutierrez and Jorge Valdivia respectively. Aranguiz and Vidal set the tone for Chile’s pressing game. You only had to witness their performances agaisnt Spain to see the amount of running they do, and running which is at a decent pace! Losing those two means there will be a drop off in dynamism. Gutierrez and Valdivia don’t press as much, they are more technical-orientated players so you may find Chile holding onto the ball a but more before springing forward.

How will Sampaoli set out to contain Netherlands’ star player Arjen Robben?

Against Spain Chile showed a different side with an immaculate defensive performance. They sat a bit deeper with Gary Medel performing brilliantly against Diego Costa. I’d expect something similar with the three in the middle staying tight and compact with help from either wing-back. Gonzalo Jara compared facing Robben to facing Messi – you know what they are going to do but trying to stop them doing so is a different matter.



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