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International Friendly Preview: England v Chile

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Nov 2013

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England will be hoping history does not repeat itself as Chile visit Wembley for the first time in 15 years on Friday.

The South Americans produced a stellar performance on their last trip to London in 1998, winning 2-0 thanks to two goals from Marcelo Salas in a match that also saw an 18-year-old Michael Owen make his debut for the hosts.

The tie is set up to be a close encounter, with just two places separating the sides in the FIFA world rankings and both assured of a place at next year’s World Cup.

England made sure of their ticket to Brazil by edging out Ukraine by one point in Group H of the European qualifying process, while Chile finished third behind Argentina and Colombia in the South American standings.

The hosts are on an unbeaten run of 10 matches, while Chile could achieve that feat by avoiding defeat at Wembley.

Hodgson has suffered a series of setbacks in the build-up to this match and next Tuesday’s encounter with Germany, with Steven Gerrard (hip) and Kyle Walker following Manchester United duo Michael Carrick (Achilles) and Danny Welbeck (knee) out of the squad.

Chile, meanwhile, could be without midfielder Arturo Vidal, who picked up a thigh injury in Juventus’ 3-0 victory over Napoli on Sunday.

Hodgson admits that, while Chile may be an unknown quantity to many on English shores, they are not to be underestimated.

“They are a very good team and will offer a major surprise to people who don’t know a lot about them or South American football,” he told the Football Association’s official website.

“Germany won’t surprise anyone, in the same way as Spain, Italy or France don’t, because we see their players all the time, whereas Chile is a South American side and we don’t follow their qualifiers or their individuals to the same extent.

“But we’ve looked at them, we’ve studied them and have been unbelievable impressed by Chile, we think they are a very, very good side.”

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