The Chilean National Football team has qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Chile is one of the original 13 national teams that competed in the inaugural 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. Chile will be playing in their 8th FIFA World Cup in 2010. It will be first time since 1998 that Chile will be playing in the tournament.
This was the result of a controversial incident before the 1990 FIFA World Cup. On 3 September 1989 Brazil were playing against Chile in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier. A Chilean defeat would mean that they would not play in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. In the 67th minute of the game the Chilean goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas claimed that he had been hit by a firecracker (thrown by a Brazilian spectator) on his forehead. Rojas was carried off the pitch and the Chilean team claimed that conditions were too unsafe for the game to continue. The match did not end. Brazil was ahead by 1 – 0. After an official investigation it was found that the firecracker did not make contact with Rojas. FIFA awarded Brazil with a 2 – 0 victory. Rojas was banned for life. Chile was banned from the 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualification. It seems that Chilean football has finally recovered from this incident though.
Chile has also appeared 35 times in the Copa America (since 1916), but have never won the competition. They have finished as runners-up in 1955, 1956, 1979 and 1987 though. They also reached 3rd place in the 1962 FIFA World Cup (which was hosted by them). Chile is currently ranked at #21 on the FIFA rankings. Leonel Sanchez is the most capped player in Chilean Football history. He represented Chile 75 times and scored 23 goals between 1955 and 1967. Marcelo Salas is top scoring Chilean footballer in history, he scored 37 goals in 70 games for his country between 1994 and 2009. It will be interesting to see how Chile will perform in next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Chile will be playing in the following group matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup:
- Chile vs Honduras – 16 June 2010 @ Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – Kickoff at 13:30
- Chile vs Switzerland – 21 June 2010 @ Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth – Kickoff at 16:00
- Chile vs Spain – 25 June 2010 @ Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria – Kickoff at 20:30