Arturo Vidal believes Chile will stake a claim of being the best international side around if they lift the Confederations Cup on Sunday.
Vidal and his team-mates are aiming to continue a golden era for La Roja, who had never won a major honour until they beat Argentina on penalties in the final of the 2015 Copa America.
With current boss Juan Antonio Pizzi at the helm, having succeeded Jorge Sampaoli, they repeated the feat at the Copa America Centenario last year.
Another shootout victory this week over Portugal set up a meeting with world champions Germany in St Petersburg and Vidal said claims by Alexis Sanchez and Mauricio Isla that Chile were aiming for a position at the top of the elite was not idle talk.
“I do agree with Mauricio and Alexis because we are not just saying it, we’ve shown it against every single national team we’ve played against,” the Bayern Munich midfielder told a pre-match news conference at Krestovsky Stadium.
“We beat Argentina, who is one of the best national teams, two years in a row and Portugal, who are the European Champions, three days ago. And if we win tomorrow [Sunday] I think we would be the best national team in the world.
“I don’t think any of us have the possibility of a defeat in our minds. We’re optimistic for winning any challenge ahead and we are just looking forward to giving our best. I don’t think about defeat.”
Such a stance echoed the stir Vidal caused when he claimed the Under-20 World Cup side he played in alongside the likes of Sanchez, Isla and Gary Medel could win the real thing after a third-place finish in 2007.
Vamos chile carajoooo!!!pic.twitter.com/ByqxlGjY0I
— Arturo Vidal (@kingarturo23) June 30, 2017
“I remember clearly when I spoke those words and everybody was slightly scared by what we were saying,” he recalled.
“We had Alexis, Mauricio, Gary and others. Our effort has helped us to reach this final in the Confederations Cup.
“This is the waiting room for the World Cup and if we win against Germany it sends a clear message to the other teams that we are going [to the World Cup] to win it, even though we still need to qualify.”
Head coach Pizzi was understandably more reserved than his midfield driving force as he prepares for a rematch with Joachim Low’s youthful and exciting side, after the teams shared a 1-1 draw in Kazan during the group stages.
“I don’t pay attention to things in that way,” said the former Valencia boss. “We try to be the best versions of ourselves, that’s the best thing you can strive to do – to beat ourselves, so to speak.
“After that, competition always defines who is best or worst by who wins and who loses. I’ve always believed in looking at the games and defining the best as those that win.
“We are a team who can play on an equal footing with any squad.”
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