29/02/2024

Preview: Chile vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups

Hace 3 meses

Preview: Chile vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Chile and Paraguay, including predictions, team news and possible

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Chile and Paraguay, including predictions, team news and possible

Sat level on four points in the South American group, Chile and Paraguay will return to World Cup qualifying on Friday when they do battle in Santiago.

The visitors leapfrogged their hosts with a 1-0 victory over Bolivia last time out in October but only lead Chile on goal difference after four rounds of fixtures.


Match preview

Chile coach Eduardo Berizzo reacts on October 13, 2023© Reuters

In their aim to return to the world stage after falling short in qualification for the last two World Cups, Chile have experienced a mixed start to the latest campaign but head into the November round of games with just four points on the board from their first four outings.

Their bid began in September with a trip to Uruguay, and Eduardo Berizzo's side came away empty-handed in a 3-1 defeat, before taking their first point from a creditable goalless draw with Colombia.

La Roja would then return to action with optimism last month as meetings with Peru and Venezuela awaited, and while they did put up a first win against the former, triumphing 2-0 on home soil thanks to second-half goals from Diego Valdes and Marcelino Nunez, they were unable to make it back-to-back three-point hauls in their last outing.

Indeed, Berizzo's team fell well short in their trip to Venezuela, eventually succumbing to a 3-0 defeat as Yeferson Soteldo, Salomon Rondon and Darwin Machis all found the net for the hosts, with the last two coming after Nunez was sent off early in the second half.

Such a result saw Chile drop to eighth spot in the South American group, but still level with Friday's visitors, two points off fifth spot and three points behind second-placed Uruguay, they can quickly improve their standing at this early stage if they are able to return to winning ways this week before travelling to Ecuador next Tuesday.

Paraguay's Miguel Almiron and teammates look dejected after Argentina's Nicolas Otamendi scores their first goal on October 13, 2023© Reuters

Paraguay, meanwhile, head into Friday's contest in a slightly different trajectory, having leapfrogged the hosts last month with their first win of the qualifying campaign after a slow start.

Aiming to reach their first World Cup since 2010, Paraguay did not come firing out the blocks in their opening South American games, and despite only conceding two goals in the first three outings, they only managed to put a single point on the board having failed to score on each occasion.

That point came from a stalemate with Peru in their curtain-raiser, before La Albirroja suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats at the hands of Venezuela and Argentina, having only conceded against the former in injury time while only narrowly falling short against the world champions to remain stuck on a single point.

Daniel Garnero's side were then able to put a first notch in their wins column at the fourth time of asking last time out, though, as they hosted Bolivia in mid-October and came away with three crucial points with Antonio Sanabria netted the only goal of the game 21 minutes from time.

Thanks to that first win, Paraguay have quickly climbed within touching distance of the top five in the South American qualifying group, and with confidence on the back of that result having still only conceded two goals this campaign, they will aim to further strengthen their position in the early stages with a victory to move three points clear of the hosts on Friday.

Chile World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L


Chile form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L


Paraguay World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W


Paraguay form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W


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Team News

Chile's Marcelino Nunez celebrates with teammates on October 13, 2023© Reuters

While midfielder Marcelino Nunez has been called up to the Chile squad, he will be unavailable on Friday, with the Norwich City man suspended following his red card in their defeat to Venezuela, while experienced midfielders Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz are absent from the squad for their two upcoming qualifying games.

In their absence, Erick Pulgar should return and join Rodrigo Echeverria and Victor Mendez in the engine room from the outset, while 160-capped Gary Medel will again play at the heart of a back four, likely alongside Paulo Diaz.

At the other end of the pitch, talismanic forward Alexis Sanchez should continue to lead the line, having netted 51 goals in his 158 international caps, while Villarreal's Ben Brereton Diaz will offer further attacking threat from the left wing.

While Paraguay may have hoped to come into Friday's qualifier with an unchanged starting XI from their win over Bolivia last time out, they are unable to call on key winger Miguel Almiron, who recently picked up an injury for Newcastle United.

Veteran forward Oscar Cardozo has been called up, but Antonio Sanabria should get the nod to lead the line after netting the winner against Bolivia, while Alejandro Romero will take on further responsibility in a supporting trio in Almiron's absence.

Richard Sanchez should return alongside Mathias Villasanti in the engine room, while Fabian Balbuena will fight to come back into the middle of the defence after Omar Alderete was preferred alongside captain Gustavo Gomez last month.


Chile possible starting lineup:
Cortes; Loyola, Diaz, Medel, Suazo; Pulgar, Echeverria, Mendez; Davila, Sanchez, Brereton Diaz

Paraguay possible starting lineup:
Carlos; Espinoza, Alderete, Gomez, Alonso; Villasanti, Sanchez; Villalba, Romero, Avalos; Sanabria


SM words green background

We say: Chile 2-0 Paraguay

Despite their disappointing defeat to Venezuela in the last round of games, Chile do boast more quality throughout their squad than the visitors, particularly with Almiron sidelined, and La Roja should fancy themselves to return to winning ways on home soil on Friday.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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