Chile-Venezuela preview


Claudio Borghi isn’t doing a bad job following Marcelo Bielsa’s footprints, a very hard thing to do. Bielsa was an attack-minded, crazy but brilliant tactician, and Chile’s football indentity.

Claudio Borghi, another eccentric Argentine, wasn’t first choice, but he is doing about as well as anyone could. While keeping an attacking formation, with 3 in the back, and a high level of success, he has made three major changes to Bielsa’s XI:

1. 3-4-1-2 (Borghi) v. 3-3-1-3 (Bielsa)

2. More emphasis on counter-attack: Instead of opening the team up to the counter, Borghi’s side can sit deep, win the ball, and sucker-punch. An advantage against good teams, to go with the natural flow of the formation.

3. No extra defender: If Bielsa’s Chile met a team with three forwards, they would put four defenders in. Borghi takes the risk, and wins a two-man advantage in midfield. If the opponent plays with three at the back, Sanchez will drop back, keeping the advantage. How does it work? Brilliantly, as evidenced by the game against Uruguay.


What a rise by Venezuela! Traditional underdogs in South America, the baseball loving country is a near soccer power these days. Making the Copa quarters at home in ’07 started a rise to power which continued in impressive fashion with a 7th place (just two points of WC playoff) performance in World Cup qualifying, and a good youth team. It continued here, as Venezuela nearly won their group after a thrilling late comeback against Paraguay.

With an extra World Cup place for South American teams in 2014, it’s all optimism in Venezuela.


Oswaldo Vizcarrondo: As I said last time, could be player of the tournament so far.

Chile’s playmaker: Jimenez or Valdivia are both good options to fill the key role in a 3-4-1-2.

Alexis Sanchez: Showed great tactical savvy against Uruguay, despite nothing going for him. Since he’s a striker an average game will mean Man of the Match.

Thomas Rincon: Any attacking forays by Venezuela will start here. Most Chilean attacks will end here.


1.  Vizcarrondo: His name can’t be mentioned enough in the lead-up to this clash.

2. Two counter-attacking teams will play- every mistake counts: And Chile will attack more.

3. Beausejour suspended: Chile’s best midfielder won’t play.

4. They’ve already played Brazil: Matching a team of higher quality than Chile helps with confidence and experience.


1. Borghi will take care of the midfield, Sanchez will take care of the attack: The first one is certain. Read the beginning of the article again if you’re not sure. If Sanchez does his bit, don’t bet against Chile.

2. Every mistake counts- but for Venezuela more than Chile: Chile are clear favorites, have huge talent, and will create more chances. If both teams make one mistake, Chile will win.

3. Alexis Sanchez

4. Current form: Chile won a hard group with ease. Best team of the Copa so far.



Easiest knockout game to pick, even without Beausejour. Venezuela can hold Chile to 0 or 1 goals if they defend throughout, but I think Chile’s offense will have a good game.



Comments are closed.