Chile host Brazil in the first South American qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. Managers of both teams have given team updates ahead of the encounter, with many key players absent or doubtful due to injuries and suspension.
The first of the CONMEBOL qualifiers will be held in Santiago, Chile, but superstars Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal remain huge doubts for the clash after failing to shake off minor injuries.
Brazil are without the services of superstar Neymar, who didn’t make it to the squad due to his two match suspension.
Dunga is poised to select Hulk as the striker in the absence of the FC Barcelona star, with former Real Madrid superstar Kaka making a comeback in the team following the withdrawal of Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho is not the only Liverpool FC player to miss out on the qualifiers, with summer recruit Roberto Firmino also absent due to a back injury.
Right now I see Arturo’s participation highly doubtful – Jorge Sampaoli
Chile are sweating over the fitness of their Copa America stars Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal. The duo haven’t been able to join full training since meeting up with the squad earlier this week. However, manager Jorge Sampaoli is hopeful over Vidal making it for the match against Brazil.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by ESPN, Sampaoli said:
“Neither Vidal nor Alexis are confirmed for the Brazil game.
“Neither player has been in full training since joining the squad this week.
“Right now I see Arturo’s participation highly doubtful, especially for the first game.
“The next few hours will be vital to determine if he can play.
“Alexis has the same risk as Arturo.”
However, the return to fitness of team captain Claudio Bravo is sure to lift the spirit of the Chileans. The FC Barcelona goalkeeper featured in this weekend’s loss to Sevilla in the league, having been sidelined since the start of the season with a calf injury.