The Opposition Files: Chile

With Brazil set to take on Jorge Sampaoli's side at the Rogers Centre in Toronto next month, GBGT takes a closer look at La Roja

 Nickname: La Roja ( The Red)
 Capital: Santiago
 Stadium: Estadio Nacional
 Top Goalscorer: Marcelo Salas (37)
 Most Caps: Leonel Sanchez (84)

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

The Argentinian earned plaudits from around the world for the high-tempo, heavy pressing, attacking style that led Universidad de Chile on a 36-game unbeaten run which saw them claim three league titles and the 2011 Copa Sudamericana, the club’s first international title. A devout disciple of his compatriot and former Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, Sampaoli was appointed Chile boss in December of 2012 and has thus far proved a worthy successor to the man who made La Roja the neutral’s favourite at World Cup 2010.

Captain: Claudio Bravo

The Real Sociedad goalkeeper made the move to Spain from Colo Colo in 2004 and has since written himself into the Basque club’s history, with September’s Champions League clash against Shakhtar seeing him make his 200th appearance for the club. The 30-year-old, whose consistent good form has seen him linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months, has 75 caps for his country and represented La Roja at World Cup 2010, only injury ended his run of 27 consecutive World Cup qualifiers at the tail end of 2012.

One to watch: Jorge Valdivia

The Palmeiras playmaker has been in superb form since Sampoli’s appointment, well and truly drawing a line underneath the period that saw him exiled from the squad after a missed curfew led to a clash with former coach Claudio Borghi. A danger from set pieces, his flair, technique and eye for a pass make him a player befitting on the no.10 shirt. A perennial entertainer, he operates between the lines of midfield and attack to work space for Edu Vargas and Alexis Sanchez ahead of him. His return to form has been key to Chile’s recent resurgence.

How they qualified

The post-Bielsa era didn’t get off to the best of starts for La Roja and saw Borghi dismissed as coach in December, with Chile lying sixth in South American qualification after suffering six defeats in their first ten qualifiers. Their fortunes quickly changed following Sampaoli’s arrival, however, with the side tasting defeat just once in the 12 matches he’s been on the bench. They secured their place at the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador on the final day of CONMEBOL qualification, taking their goal tally to 15 in their last six qualifiers.

Brazil meet Chile in the Gillette International Soccer Series at the Rodgers Center in Tonronto, Canada on November 19.