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Uruguay v Chile: Cracking World Cup qualifier combined XI

Holly Thackeray | November 17, 2015

Coral’s sublime South American XI featuring Uruguay and Chile

The 2018 World Cup qualifiers in South America are providing punters with a series of headline clashes this international break, and the next exciting installment pits defensively stubborn Uruguay against recent Copa America champions Chile.

So, Coral writers cracked their heads together to come up with a superb starting XI, which was pretty tough considering all the terrific and versatile talent available. Read on to find out who made the final cut…

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Chile)

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Fernando Muslera has received rave reviews in the past for post-protecting performances in Turkey with Galatasaray, but it is Bravo’s brilliance at the highest level for Barcelona that gets the nod here. The sensational stopper is La Roja’s skipper for a reason.

Right back: Mauricio Isla (Chile)

It would be unfair to judge Juventus-owned defender Isla by his calamitous loan stint with QPR last season. The flying full back is a consistent performer for his country, providing vital width often as a wing back. Isla also nabbed the winner last time these two teams met and is 9/1 to notch again anytime.

Centre back: Diego Godin (Uruguay)

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There could be no combined XI worth it’s salt without defensive giant Godin, who gobbles up opposition chances with aplomb for both Uruguay and Atletico Madrid on a regular basis, and is the glue that holds his side together. This centre half stalwart is 13/5 to help La Celeste shut out Chile and win to nil.

Centre back: Gonzalo Jara (Chile)

Adaptable Mainz man Jara may be quite the contentious inclusion in this combined team, after an ill-advised poke on Edinson Cavani got the opposition striker sent off last time out. Yet, with Uruguay’s immensely talented Jose Gimenez injured and Sunderland’s Sebastian Coates far from convincing, experienced Jara is the best option.

Left back: Martin Caceres (Uruguay)

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He may not be having much luck with club Juventus, but centre back-by-trade Caceres has been recently regularly deployed on the left defensive flank for his nation, helping keep four clean sheets from the past five fixtures out wide.

Right wing: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Arsenal sensation Sanchez (21/10 to notch anytime) usually plays as part of a front pair for Chile, but is so adaptable he can operate anywhere in attack. We prefer the gung-ho Gunners goal threat providing thrust out wide, with his formidable mix of flair and feisty workrate.

Defensive midfield: Gary Medel (Chile)

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Of course Inter Milan enforcer Medel slots into La Roja’s rearguard as a centre half more often than not, where the former Cardiff City star’s tenacious tackling is used to great effect. Yet this terrier is also known for providing midfield steel, and was by far the best option in this area, so we’ve pushed him forward again to help shore up the centre of the park.

Central midfield: Arturo Vidal (Chile)

Little needs to be said about our selection of this box-to-box dynamo, who has served as the inspirational lynchpin in Chile’s recent successes. Now at Bayern Munich, the superstar continues to contribute at both ends of the pitch.

Left wing: Eduardo Vargas (Chile)

Soccer - Copa America - Semi-final - Chile v Peru - Estadio Nacional
Just like Sanchez, Vargas often plays further forward as a foil, but is also effective on either wing. Although the former Napoli man has struggles at club level, he regularly brings the goods for his country and is currently La Celeste’s most lethal in qualifying alongside Sanchez.

Centre forward: Diego Rolan (Uruguay)

Another versatile forward here, Rolan is exciting enough to include in our XI, though nominally a striker he can also add exuberance from the wing. Still a developing talent tipped for greatness, we reckon Rolan has a higher ceiling than Hull City’s Abel Hernandez, who is currently beating him into the Uruguay XI up top. Middlesbrough menace Christian Stuani also just misses out.

Forward: Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

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The PSG poacher often gets shunted from his preferred centre forward position to a wide role for both club and country but, to get the best of his talents, we firmly believe this experienced attacker should lead the line. Luis Suarez is still suspended, so the pressure falls on Uruguay’s fourth all-time top scorer, who is 9/2 to net the opener.

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