Estadio Regional de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile
November 14th; 23:00 GMT
Chile have an unbeaten streak in international friendlies to protect as they face off against Venezuela, who have not won in their last four matches, at the Estadio Regional de Antofagasta in Antofagasta Chile.
Team News and Tactics
With this being an international friendly, Chile may give players, like Jorge Valdivia, a reintroduction into the starting XI or give a young player, like Igor Lichnovsky, a chance to make his debut for the senior national team. Regardless of the line-up or the formation, Chile will still play like they always have, with a sense of risk, energy, tenacity, creativity, and multi-functionality. With their high pressing game and their tenacious work rate, Chile look to dominate their opposition physically, when they do not have the ball. This pressing allows them to win the ball closer to their own goal, making it easier to score goals. When they have control of possession, though, they have much more of an ability to be patient, building attacks from the back and probing the opposition defense, looking to hit runners going in on goal.
Claudio Bravo, the keeper for Barcelona, will likely start this match. If they operate in a kind of 4-3-1-2, then the back four may consist of Mauricio Isla at right back, Gary Medel and Gonzalo Jara at center back, and Eugenio Mena at left-back. At the base of midfield sits Marcelo Diaz, who operates at the focal point of their build-up from the back. In front of him, if Chile go with one of their stronger midfield set-ups will be the all-arounders Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal. Both have a wide variety of skills that allow them to dynamically specialize to suit the team’s needs at that moment in time. For a side with such a frenetic style, causing players to find themselves all over the pitch, this multi-functionality is essential. In the front trio, Chile may play Jorge Valdivia in a withdrawn central role, allowing Chile to better link the rest of the team with the two wide forwards, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas.
Possible Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Bravo; Isla, Medel, Jara, Mena; Diaz; Vidal, Aranguiz; Valdivia; Sanchez, Vargas
Venezuela are in no way a power of South American football. In fact, they are one of the few South American nations to have never played in a World Cup. As stated above, they have not won in their last four matches. However, they did draw to Japan, which could help Venezuela’s confidence. With that confidence and the lack of expectations of them in this match, Venezuela could relish the opportunity to pull off an upset, albeit in a meaningless international friendly.
Dani Hernandez will probably continue in goal for Venezuela. Alexander Gonzalez may get the nod at right back. Oswaldo Vizcarrondo and Grenddy Perozo could operate as the two center backs, with Gabriel Cichero at left back. In a potential 4-4-2 formation, the four in the second level could consist of Rafael Acosta as the right midfielder, Luis Seijas and Juan Arango playing central roles, with Arango being the main source of attacking quality in the side, and Alejando Guerra on the left. Up front, with Salomon Rondon out, due to suspension, Venezuela might pair Mario Rondon with Nicolas Fedor.
Possible Starting Line-up (4-4-2): Hernandez; Gonzalez, Vizcarrondo, Perozo, Cichero; Acosta, Seijas, Arango, Guerra; Rondon, Fedor
- Of the 25 matches they have played against Venezuela, Chile are 18-5-2
- Venezuela did win a rather important match the last time they beat Chile, winning 2-1 during Copa America 2011
- That match saw Gary Medel and Tomas Rincon sent off towards the end of the match
- Venezuela’s only other victory over Chile can in 2001, during a World Cup qualifying match
- Juan Arango scored in that match to put Venezuela up 2-0
Player to Watch
While Alexis Sanchez is the most in form player for Chile, with his performances for Arsenal coming close to carrying the side to the points they have earned, the progression of Arturo Vidal back to the old Vidal after surgery remains a crucial element for Chile, if they wish to contend for the 2015 Copa America, one played on their home soil. While he has played for Juventus, he has yet to get back to that level that put him in the conversation as the best midfielder in the world. While there is plenty of time before the tournament to assess Vidal, showing that he has fully come back from injury would be a huge plus for the Chileans. Not only would it provide them with a player of immense quality, but it would also allow them to plan the rest of their squad, and tinker here and there, given the lack of uncertainty about what Vidal can provide. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if this match sees Vidal take another step back to being the player he was.
Chile 2-0 Venezuela
While Venezuela played well against Japan, Chile represent a much greater and different challenge. With their pressing and energy, combined with Venezuela’s lack of quality on the ball, time in possession represents quite a risky period for Venezuela. If they go into a defensive shell, in an attempt to stay compact and decrease the risk of turnovers, they may isolate their strikers, making them ineffective. Granted, Chile’s style does leave them vulnerable to counter-attacks, if the press is bypassed effectively. However, Chile will likely pose too many questions for the Venezuelans to adequately answer.