15 November, 20:00 BST
England host Chile in a highly anticipated friendly tonight as both the sides gear up for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. England and Chile have already qualified for the mega event next year, and this match provides a good opportunity for both the managers to test their squad depth.
Chile will be facing England at Wembley after a gap of 15 years. On their last visit the away side won by two goals as their all-time top scorer Marcelo Salas scored a wonderful brace. Both these sides are separated by much in the FIFA rankings and this should make for an even contest.
Team News and Tactics
The Three Lions secured direct qualification for the World Cup in Brazil after winning Group H in their qualification campaign. England remained undefeated throughout the campaign, but Ukraine gave them a good run of their money. Roy Hodgson’s men were expected to win this group by much bigger margin, instead their direct qualification was only secured with a win over Poland in their last game. While the undefeated run in their last 10 matches has been a positive, but Roy Hodgson knows that his side need to answer a lot of questions before they can be compete with sides like Spain and Germany.
Roy Hodgson has a lot of injury concern to contain with ahead of this fixture. Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick, Kyle Walker, Steven Gerrard and Rickie Lambert are all out of contention for this game due to injuries. Gerrard is expected to be fit for the match against Germany, but his absence in this game will provide an opportunity for Hodgson to try out other combinations. It is clear that England are yet to find their best combination at the center of the park.
England are coming into this game on the back of a 2-0 win over Poland at home in their last qualification fixture. Rooney and Gerrard scored the goals for the Three Lions as they confirmed their place at the top of the table. Hodgson is expected to make a few changes to the side that was fielded against Poland, partially forced due to injuries.
Joe Hart, who has come under a lot of criticism in recent time, is expected to be dropped to the bench as Fraser Forster earns his place in the side. Hodgson has indicated that Forster will be given his opportunity in one of the two upcoming games. Baines should retain his place at the left back ahead of Ashley Cole who hasn’t been at his best this season. The return of Glen Johnson to the right back slot is expected to be the only other change in the back four.
Lampard will lead out the side in absence of Gerrard, and he is likely to be partnered by Jack Wilshere in the pivot ahead of the defence. Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana is in line to win his first international cap after producing some wonderful performances in the league this season. He is likely to start on the left, alongside Wayne Rooney and Andros Townsend. There are concerns about the fitness of Daniel Sturridge as well, which means Rooney could start upfront as the striker instead of playing in the hole behind the front man. This could provide an opportunity for either of Jay Rodriguez or Ross Barkley to start in the side. While the other options that Hodgson has is to play Henderson in the pivot alongside Lampard and start Wilshere in a more attacking role behind Rooney.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Forster (GK); Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Lampard, Henderson; Lallana, Wilshere, Townsend; Rooney
Chile qualified for the World Cup in Brazil after coming third behind Argentina and Colombia in CONMEBOL qualification group. It was a fairly satisfactory campaign for La Roja as they managed to finish ahead of the likes of Ecuador and Uruguay. After enduring a fairly disappointing start where they lost six of their opening 10 matches, Chile fought back and won five of their last six games. Jorge Sampaoli’s side are on a nine match unbeaten run currently and are looking to maintain this momentum ahead of the World Cup.
Chile are coming into this game on the back of a 2-1 win over Ecuador, which confirmed their third spot in the group. Sanchez and Medel scored for the home side to give an early two goal lead in the first half.
Jorge Sampaoli will miss Arturo Vidal for this game due to a calf strain. The Juventus midfielder is perhaps the most key player in Sampaoli’s side and he will be a big miss. Sampaoli has mostly used the 4-3-3 formation throughout the qualification campaign and he is expected to field a strong side against England. The only other injury concern at the moment is that of Jorge Valdivia, who will face a late fitness test.
Isla, Jara, Gonzalez and Mena will form the back four with Claudio Bravo in goal. Sampaoli used Medel in the center of the defence in the last game, but Vidal’s absence and Medel’s impressive run of form means the Cardiff midfielder will be center of Chile’s plans of stopping England’s attacker. Medel will protect the back four in the midfield and he will be partnered by Matias Fernandez and Carlos Carmona.
Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez, who scored in this last game for Chile, will once again be the key in attack. Sanchez will come up against Baines and it will be a mouth-watering contest. Gremio forward Eduardo Vargas will lead the line. The 23-year-old has been in good form this season and has already scored five goals in 11 starts for the Brazilian side. Wigan’s Jean Beausejour will start on the left and will look to supply Vargas from the wings.
Expected starting line-up (4-3-3): Bravo (GK); Isla, Jara, Gonzalez, Mena; Fernandez, Medel, Carmona; Sanchez, Vargas, Beausejour
Players to watch out for: Wayne Rooney (England); Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
Prediction: England 1-1 Chile