Jorge Sampaoli announced his first competitive squad for the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifying double header since taking over from Claudio Borghi.
The most notable inclusion is that of Palmeiras’ Jorge Valdivia who returns to the national team for the first time since the ‘bautizazo’ scandal – the four other players involved (Carlos Carmona, Arutro Vidal, Gonzalo Jara and Jean Beausejour) have all since been called up. Valdivia – recently accused of provoking Palmeiras fans after a defeat to Tigre in the Copa Libertadores – did not help his case when he bluntly accused Borghi, still in charge at the time, of lying. All five players involved were originally handed ten games bans from the ANFP.
The squad includes six domestic players, all from Universidad de Chile.
La Roja travel to Peru on March 22 before welcoming Uruguay to Santiago on March 26.
The top four teams automatically qualify for the tournament in Brazil, while the team finishing fifth go into a two-legged play-off with a team from the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). Chile are currently in sixth place level on points with fifth place Uruguay and Venezuela in fourth after a three straight losses.
Many players have talked about Sampaoli’s similarities to Marcelo Bielsa and how Chile need to return to the way they played under el loco having lost part of their identity and the respect that went with it.
There were promising signs in February’s friendly with Egypt especially in the first half, however they will have to make do without Vidal for both games and Marcelo Díaz for the Peru game.
Claudio Bravo, Real Sociedad
Jhonny Herrera, Universidad de Chile
Miguel Pinto, Atlas
Marcos González, Flamengo
Gonzalo Jara, Nottingham Forest
Mauricio Isla, Juventus
Gary Medel, Sevilla
José Rojas, Universidad de Chile
Alberto Acevdeo, Universidad de Chile
Eugenio Mena, Universidad de Chile
Francisco Silva, Osasuna
Carlos Carmona, Atalanta
Felipe Seymour, Genoa
Marcelo Díaz, Basilea
Jean Beausejour, Wigan Athletic
Matías Fernández, Fiorentina
Jorge Valdivia, Palmeiras
Rodrigo Millar, Atlas
Sebastián Martínez, Universidad de Chile
Charles Aránguiz, Universidad de Chile
Ángelo Henríquez, Wigan Athletic
Nicolás Castillo, Universidad Católica
Humberto Suazo, Monterrey
Eduardo Vargas, Gremio
Alexis Sánchez, Barcelona
Fabián Orellana, Granada
Junior Fernandes, Bayer Leverkusen
Sebastián Pinto, Bursaspor