Chileans wary of Venezuelans

Updated: 16 July 2011 15:09 IST

Chile are straining every sinew to land a first Copa America crown after the frustration of four losing finals - while on Sunday rivals Venezuela are happy to have emerged from group play.

Chileans wary of Venezuelans

San Juan:

Chile are straining every sinew to land a first Copa America crown after the frustration of four losing finals - while on Sunday rivals Venezuela are happy to have emerged from group play.


The Chileans, led by the stylish Alexis Sanchez, have been playing some fine football at the event and won Group C with something to spare.

But before they can even start dreaming about the trophy match there is the small matter of Sunday's quarter-final against their surprise opponents to deal with.

Chile coach Claudio Borghi is not alone in having been impressed by the skill, as well as the tenacity, of the Vinotinto, whom they face at San Juan in what is almost a home match for his side.

"Everyone's changed the way they look at the Venezuelans... they have progressed a lot," said Borghi, in looking back at the not-so-distant past where Venezuela would be a team to bolster one's goal difference against with three points a virtual formality.

The Chileans have not forgotten that in the last World Cup qualifying round - in which they placed second only to Brazil - the Venezuelans held them to a 2-2 draw in Santiago.

Striker Esteban Paredes says that "we shan't be underestimating them. For me they played better than Brazil in the three group games. I think we are in for a tough but attractive game."

The Venezuelans only ceded top spot in Group B to Brazil on goal difference.

Chilean injury doubts centre upon Gonzalo Jara and Luis Jimenez, as well as Matias Fernandez, still labouring with the leg injury which forced him to limp out of the group game with Mexico and not expected to feature.

Midfielder Jimenez has a slight inflammation of the groin but hopes to make the match while defender Jara is also intending to be fit despite a throat infection.

With Jean Beausejour suspended after his red card against Peru, Carlos Carmona will cover in midfield.

The Venezuelans may be forgiven for thinking they have done all that can be expected of them after reaching the quarters for the second successive time and first on foreign soil.

But striker Grenddy Perozo, whose header rescued a 3-3 draw with Paraguay after a late fightback, says that there is no reason to stop the adventure here.

"Now for Chile. They are a pretty good side but we have managed to get results against them before now so why not this time," Perozo said.

For coach Cesar Farias, the secret is their staying power.

"We may not be great, but this team fights - we are Venezuelans," said Farias after his men rescued a point to push Paraguay into third place and preserve their unbeaten record.

A decade ago the Venezuelans were cast in the cannon fodder role after losing 7-0 to Brazil.

But those days are gone, says Farias.

"We can win, lose or draw - but with respect. We want more," he says.



Topics : Football Alexis Alejandro Sanchez Villarreal Barcelona Venezuela Chile
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