With Jorge Sampaoli having decided to part ways with the Chilean national team and in all likelihood Chilean football in general it provides an opportune time to look back and five of his memorable moments.
Flamengo 0-4 Universidad de Chile
This was the match that announced Jorge Sampaoli and his Universidad de Chile side to the rest of South America. It was a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of Flamengo, a team that featured Ronaldinho, on their home turf. La U’s display was the quintessential Sampaoli team at that time and from that point forward that nothing was going to stop them in their quest to claim the club’s first ever continental title.
Chile 2-0 Uruguay
After a less than spectacular World Cup Qualifying debut as manager of the national team which saw Chile lose 1-0 to arch rivals Peru in that nation’s capital, Jorge Sampaoli got the team back on track with a 2-0 defeat of Uruguay in the Estadio Nacional. The win brought to an end a run of four consecutive losses in the qualifiers, which in part resulted in the sacking of previous manager, Claudio Borghi. The win over a Uruguay team that had thrashed them 4-0 earlier in the campaign, and set the team on the path to qualification for Brazil, a path that saw them remain undefeated for the remainder of the qualifiers. It also restored faith of the country in its national team.
Spain 0-2 Chile
After disposing of Australia in their opening World Cup match of 2014, Chile truly announced themselves at the tournament with a 2-0 victory over defending champions Spain. Joel Sked described the effort as the perfect performance, “One with balance. There was the swift attacks, the running, the pressing, the hunting in packs, the directness, the energy, the attacking, the running, the forward passing, the attacking. But there was also defensive structure, compactness . . . a defensive solidity.”
Chile 0-0 Argentina (4-1 on penalties)
Much like Universidad de Chile’s run to the 2011 Copa Sudamericana title there was a sense of destiny about Chile and the 2015 Copa America and on the fourth of July, Jorge Sampaoli and his team finally delivered what the whole country had been waiting for. The final against Argentina wasn’t the prettiest of affairs but no one in Chile cared and when Alexis Sanchez’ poorly executed panenka found the back of the net a whole nation went into delirium. Jorge Sampaoli will forever be in the hearts and mind of the Chilean nation for finally delivering that long awaited trophy and a golden generation of players finally delivered.
Chile 2-0 Brazil
Having been knocked out of the past two World Cups by Brazil it seems now that one of Sampaoli’s parting gifts as the national team manager was to engineer a 2-0 defeat in their opening qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. Having broken the drought of an international tournament win, Sampaoli brought to an end a fifteen year drought since they last tasted victory over Brazil. It was also fitting that Eduardo Vargas, a player who has thrived when under the tutelage of Sampaoli, would open the scoring before Alexis Sanchez put the game beyond doubt in the dying minutes.