It’s been a very torrid last 12 months for Chile. The country’s golden generation is gradually fading out and there appear to be no ready-made replacements.
In 2021, La Roja played 17 matches in all competitions but won just five. And despite starting off 2022 with a narrow win over El Salvador, Chile were handed a reality check against Argentina three days later.
Martín Lasarte’s side has been very inconsistent and their poor results have caused the team to lag behind in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
However, La Roja returned to winning ways on Tuesday when they recorded a hard-fought 3-2 win against Bolivia. A double from Alexis Sanchez and another from Marcelino Nunez sealed a very important victory for the visitors.
Sanchez steals the show against Bolivia
It’s been long since Sanchez delivered a man-of-the-match performance for either club or country, but the 33-year-old stole the show against Bolivia.
He rolled back the years by producing an impressive performance on the night. The Inter Milan star opened the scoring with an incredible free-kick.
He then scored Chile’s third goal to put the game to bed. Sanchez is currently in the twilight of his career and his spell with the national team is coming to an end.
However, he remains one of the country’s best-ever players and he could give them one last hurrah before hanging his boots. On the evidence of how he tore Bolivia apart, he may just have two or three more years to give.
Chile relaunch World Cup hopes
Chile’s win over Bolivia has relaunched their hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, but the truth is that their chances still remain slim.
La Roja are currently sixth in the qualifying table with two matches remaining. They are two points behind Peru and a point further from fourth-placed Uruguay.
“First of all, the obligation that the party had. We had to win, but reality also indicates that winning gives you confidence, it gives you energy,” Lasarte said after the win over Bolivia, as quoted by ESPN.
“I feel that the team arrived without many very important players, but many players adapted, worked well in the previous days and we came with a lot of confidence, I am very happy about that. The group solidified, armored itself, and we came here with the conviction that we had to take three points, which luckily happened."
Chile have their destiny in their own hands and their remaining qualifying matches will be crucial. La Roja will face Brazil next and if they’re able to get a favorable result, a home game against rivals Uruguay will then be the ultimate decider.
As it stands, though, Lasarte’s side has played themselves into contention and now they need to see it through despite their very slim chances of qualification.
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