Chile Live Up To Billing

16 06 2010

So much has been spoken about Chile in the build up this World Cup – the most exciting side at the tournament by most accounts – so it was good to see those words somewhat vindicated with their attacking display against Honduras.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side did not line up in his famous 3-3-1-3 formation because with Honduras playing only one up front Bielsa needed just the one spare central defender. Instead he switched to what approximated to a 4-1-2-3 formation as indicated by the FIFA average position diagram below:

The five forward players impressed with their movement and were often joined by both full-backs pushing forward in unison meaning Carmona, the holding midfielder, regularly had seven players in advance of him when on the ball in the centre circle. Beausejour’s goal is a great example of exactly this with the full-back Isla pushing on about to supply the assist:

The players marked red indicate the options in advance of the man with the ball (marked blue), the black arrow indicating the run of Isla

With better decision making by the exciting Alexi Sanchez, and late on the selfish Mark Gonzalez, the score could easily have been 4-0 and more accurately reflected the vibrancy of the Chilean display. The diagram chosen to illustrate the point is from the key moment in the match – the goal itself. However, even late on in the game, with the side 1-0 up and in theory protecting their three points, there were times in the final moments where Chile committed men forward – 8 men for a free-kick 35 yards out in the 88th minute when the taker was clearly going to shoot, 5 men in the 93rd minute when most teams would have run the ball into the corner. Frankly, it was inspirational stuff.


The low-scoring World Cup continues but Chile’s performance was a lot more like it and proved the simple truth – if you commit men forward and have width high up the field you will create chances. They promise to be one of the brightest outfits at the 2010 World Cup.




2 responses

16 06 2010

Very true. They committed men forward more than the ‘big boys’ have. Refreshing. Not sure about the diving header when the ball was inches off the ground though.

17 06 2010

That was a great save by Valladares though too. Unfortunately for Chile, the Spain-Switzerland result leaves them quite vulnerable – probably need to beat the Swiss next to go through.

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