Thursday, 3 June 2010

Chile - Final Squad/ Will Chupete make it?

The deadline has passed. Only 23 players can make the cut for each team. Who's in, who's out? Let's start with Chile.

No major surprises with the squad but the focus is now on one man, Humberto 'Chupete' Suazo and, more importantly, his dodgy hamstring. There is a touch of the tabloid obsession with Beckham's metatarsal before the 2002 World Cup in the Chilean media at the moment. Front page news over here. According to Santiago's daily freebie, La Hora (think the Metro in London), the tear is 2.5mm. He's not going to be able to kick a ball for 2-3 weeks so he's almost certainly out of the first game with Honduras on June 16 and must be a doubt for the second against the Swiss on June 21.

Is he a risk worth taking? For me no. No mattter how good a player is you have to pick the players who are fit and raring to go. A World Cup is no place to ease yourself back to full fitness and there aren't too many stories of players, who pick up an injury on the eve of the tournament, making a rapid recovery and playing a leading role. Beckham flattered to deceive in 2002. But Marcelo Bielsa clearly thinks otherwise. He's in. Los hinchas are keeping everything crossed.

And if Suazo didn't have enough bad news already, last week he was being linked with a transfer to Sunderland. That injury just might last a bit longer than anticipated.

The other man to watch in the Chilean ranks is 21-year-old striker/ winger, Alexis Sanchez, currently of Udinese but now attracting the attention of the big boys. Latest reports indicate Old Trafford could be his next home. A bag-o-tricks to rival ex-Reds show pony, Ronaldo. He's in good form too, scoring 3 goals in the recent wins over Zambia and Israel. If La Roja decides the best form of defence is attack attack attack, then 'El Nino Maravilla' (The Boy Wonder) is going to be heavily involved. It seems like the best plan - only Brazil scored more goals than Chile in the South American qualifying stages.

Between the sticks:

Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Miguel Pinto (Universidad de Chile), Luis Marin (Union Espanola)

Kicking lumps:

Pablo Contreras (PAOK/Greece), Ismael Fuentes (Universidad Catolica), Mauricio Isla (Udinese), Gary Medel (Boca Juniors), Gonzalo Jara (West Bromwich Albion), Waldo Ponce (Universidad Catolica), Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen)

Mincing about:

Carlos Carmona (Reggina), Marco Estrada (Universidad de Chile), Matias Fernandez (Sporting Lisbon), Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo), Rodrigo Millar (Colo Colo), Rodrigo Tello (Besiktas), Jorge Valdivia (Al-Ain)

Grabbing the glory:

Jean Beausejour (America), Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow), Fabian Orellana (Xerez), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo), Alexis Sanchez (Udinese), Humberto Suazo (Real Zaragoza)

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