Colombia vs Chile preview, Team news, Players to watch and more | International friendlies
With club action having taken a break, the attention of football lovers would turn to the international scene as national teams slug it out for glory in matches with varying degrees of importance.
While their counterparts in Europe, North America, and Asia engage in competitive action, players from Africa and South America are free from competitive fixtures and the window offers an opportunity for exhibition games to be organized to perfect team bonding and gel new players into the squad.
With competitive action not taking place for either side until the CONMEBOL section for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers begins on March 2020, both teams would use this fixture as a warm-up game in preparation for the qualification series next year.
Chile come into the fixture off the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to Honduras in a friendly fixture in September but had a goalless stalemate with Argentina before that.
They had however lost to La Albiceleste in the third-place play-off at the last Copa America and defeated Colombia on penalties in the quarterfinal stage of the same tournament.
For their part, Colombia followed their Copa America elimination with two stalemates in friendlies last year; first pulling off an impressive 2-2 draw with the defending South American champions Brazil, before playing out to a goalless affair against Venezuela.
Real Madrid star James Rodriguez was left off Colombia's 23-man squad for the friendlies against Chile and Algeria, with reports emanating that he elected to remain back at the Bernabeu to fight for his place.
Also absent is record goalscorer Radamel Falcao, which is understandable, given that he recently transferred to Galatasaray coupled with his injury history.
However, regulars like Davinson Sanchez, Duvan Zapata, Yerry Mina, and Jefferson Lerma would be available for selection by coach Carlos Queiroz.
Reinaldo Rueda named a very strong side to prosecute Chile's friendlies against Colombia and Guinea, with usual suspects like Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, Erick Pulgar, Maurizio Isla and captain Claudio Bravo.
Date: Saturday, October 12, 2019
Time: 5:00 pm (WAT), 4:00 pm (GMT), 9:30 pm (IST)
Venue: Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante, Spain
Players to watch
Colombia: Duvan Zapata
In the absence of more established and recognizable players like James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, the mantle of goalscoring would fall upon the boots of Duvan Zapata.
However, judging by his antecedents of late, the 28-year-old is more than capable of stepping to the plate.
Having started with 23 goals and seven assists to help Atalanta qualify for their first-ever Champions League campaign last season, Zapata has continued from where he left off and currently leads the race for the Serie A Capocannoniere with six goals and two assists from just seven league games.
Chile: Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez endured a hellish 18-month spell with Manchester United and brought it to an end with a loan transfer to Inter Milan.
He has started life well at San Siro and on his first start for Antonio Conte's men, he scored a goal before receiving his marching order for two bookable offences.
However, for all of his struggles at the club level, Sanchez has always been a different beast in national colours and he can be counted upon to give his all while defending the pride of Chile.