This was clearly not the draw most Chilean fans were waiting for. Ahead of the draw that was going to decide Chile’s rivals in the upcoming World Cup next year, there were several concerns among the fans: the main ones were to be in a zone far from Brazil, to avoid Spain and if possible, avoid one of Europe’s powerhouses located in Pot 4.
It’s safe to say that after having those things in mind, Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli can’t be pleased with the result.
Chile will face current World champion Spain, current World Cup runner-up Netherlands and Australia, a team that appears to be the weaker link of the group in paper but that has enough talent to cause a major upset. Chile has a lot experience playing against Spain in recent years. These two sides met in South Africa four years ago where Spain won 2-1, and played two other friendly matches where the European side grabbed a last-minute win and draw respectively.
The Netherlands are a big question mark. They clearly have enough talent to make a deep playoff run, but if they don’t have good results in their first two games, they could be under a lot of pressure against La Roja in the final match of the Group. In terms of talent only, however, it’s clear they are a tough opponent.
Australia is clearly the weaker side of the four, but their physical style often creates trouble against more technical teams. Chile should come out on top against them, but they need to avoid complacency for that to happen. In short, it’s a tough draw for the Chilean National Team. They do have some quality players in the squad like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, but an easy place in the Round of 16 isn’t very clear after seeing the draw.