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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Chile can put issues to one side for World Cup qualifier

Chile's Arturo Vidal during the Confederations Cup
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Conmebol World Cup qualifier
11.30pm Thursday

South American football can be a wacky world at the best of times, but this week has been a crazy one for Chile by any standards. 

As most British fans are aware, Chile's all-time top scorer Alexis Sanchez is in the middle of a mega-money tug-of-war between Arsenal and Manchester City, and he requested a day off from the national squad earlier this week to sort out his future.


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Another Chile superstar, Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal, has also been hitting the headlines after police were called to a casino where he was partying with friends on Monday night. 

Although he was not involved in anything untoward, an emotional Vidal was forced to release a statement saying: "I'm saddened. [The reports have] brought me problems. It's super-uncomfortable."

Despite the off-field issues both players should start against Paraguay. 

Better news for Chile came from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who ruled Fifa were correct to change Chile's 0-0 draw with Bolivia to a 3-0 win after it emerged their opponents fielded an ineligible player, which is bad news for Argentina who remain fifth with four games to go.

The top four in the Conmebol standings qualify automatically for Russia 2018, while the fifth-placed side face a playoff with either New Zealand or the Solomon Islands.  

Paraguay desperately need a win to reignite their chances of making it to the World Cup - they are eighth, four points behind the playoff place. 

But their form going into this crunch clash is woeful. Paraguay have lost their last four games, including a 3-0 defeat to Brazil and a 5-0 hammering in a friendly against France. 

A tally of just four goals scored in seven away Conmebol qualifiers does not bode well for Paraguay against a side who have won five of their seven home games, while only Brazil and Uruguay have scored more than Chile during the qualifying campaign. 

Recommendation
Chile to win to nil
1pt 5-4 BoyleSports, Hills

Paraguay desperately need a win to reignite their chances of making it to the World Cup - they are eighth, four points behind the playoff place
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