WORLD CUP HISTORY: Chile have been in the international wilderness since 1998, but are finally back at the World Cup for an eighth appearance. Their best showing was in 1962 as hosts, finishing third. More recently, the nation was shamed following the Roberto Rojas scandal in qualifying for the 1990 tournament. Long story short, the Chilean squad left the pitch after goalkeeper Rojas feigned injury from a firework tossed from the stands in a match against Brazil. Chile were disqualified and subsequently banned from qualifying for USA 1994.
QUALIFICATION: There was no scandal involved in Chile’s campaign to qualify for South Africa. The Chileans were arguably the story of South American qualifying, finishing second behind perennial powerhouses Brazil. Chile scored 32 goals in 18 matches, second only to Brazil.
KEY PLAYER: Humberto Suazo. With an attacking mindset, Chile’s scorers had better score. Suazo is a player renowned for his finishing in South America, but is a relative unknown outside his home continent. Suazo was top scorer in South American qualifying, and that means plenty when going up against the likes of Messi, Luis Fabiano and Kaka.
EXPECTATIONS: Chile have high hopes in Group H. If Spain are the overwhelming favourites to finish first, and they are, then Chile can be considered favourites to finish second. Honduras and Switzerland will provide the opposition, but if qualifying is any gauge, Chile will be another South American force expected to play knockout football at the World Cup.