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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Chile v Bolivia

Chile will hope to go one step further towards cementing their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup when they take on Bolivia on Wednesday.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men moved into fourth in the COMNEBOL qualification group with a 2-1 win over Paraguay last Saturday.

Striker Eduardo Vargas and midfielder Arturo Vidal grabbed the goals in a vital victory in Asuncion, and Sampaoli will be hoping his side can continue to be clinical in front of goal against Xabier Azkargorta’s side in Santiago.
Chile have scored 18 goals in their campaign so far, the third most in the South American qualification pool, with Vargas, Matias Fernandez and Vidal contributing eight of those strikes.
The onus will once again be on that trio – as well as Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez – to deliver the goods against a Bolivia outfit that still has an outside chance of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Brazil despite an underwhelming campaign.
Azkargorta’s side have yet to win outside La Paz but have still earned a couple of respectable results, thrashing Uruguay 4-1 in October last year and managing a 1-1 draw with leaders Argentina in March.
Still, Chile eased to as 2-0 success in the last meeting between the two teams – Vidal and Charles Aranguiz netting the goals – and they will be hopeful of replicating that showing as they look to book their place at a second consecutive World Cup for only the second time in their history.
Bolivia have not reached the finals of the tournament since 1994, but despite their currently lowly position in the group, they should head into the game in good spirits following a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Venezuela on Friday.
Midfielder Jhasmany Campos scored four minutes from the end of normal time to ensure a share of the spoils, but the goalscoring onus will likely be placed on veteran striker and top scorer Carlos Saucedo, who has found the net three times in four qualifiers.
Sat six points adrift of an intercontinental play-off spot with just four games to play, Bolivia need to win to stand any realistic chance of qualification.
However it is Chile, with their greater quality and stronger recent form, who go into the contest as favourites.
Tue 11 June, 2013
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