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Jan 28, 2022 at 12.15am UK
Chile
1 - 2
Argentina
Brereton Diaz (21')
Vegas (26'), Maripan (69'), Pulgar (76'), Sanchez (79'), Montecinos (89')
FT(HT: 1-2)
di Maria (10'), Martinez (34')
Otamendi (39'), De Paul (54'), Paredes (72'), Tagliafico (90+5')

Preview: Chile vs. Argentina - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Chile and Argentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Argentina will be looking to extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to 27 matches when they travel to Calama to face Chile for their World Cup 2022 CONMEBOL qualifier on Friday.

The hosts, meanwhile, will be hoping they can bounce back from defeat last time out with a victory and climb back into the top four.


Match preview

Argentina teammates celebrate scoring their third goal on June 29, 2021© Reuters

Despite playing out a goalless draw at home against South American rivals Brazil in their most recent qualifier, the result was enough for Argentina to book their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

La Albiceleste remain six points behind Brazil at the summit, but a 12-point gap now separates them from fifth-placed Peru, who have played a game more, which means they are guaranteed to finish in the top four.

Lionel Scaloni will have been impressed with his team's defensive resilience at the backend of 2021, as they kept clean sheets in each of their last six matches, winning four games in the process.

Argentina have, however, conceded in their last two meetings against Chile which both finished as 1-1 draws – their most recent clash in the Copa America group stage was the only game Scaloni's men failed to win on their way to lifting the title.

La Albiceleste have had mixed results when playing in Chile, as they have won, drawn and lost two games each in their last six visits. With the hosts seeking to improve on their poor start to their qualification campaign, Argentina cannot take them lightly on Friday if they wish to extend their unbeaten record to 27 games across all competitions.

Chile's Eduardo Vargas celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on June 14, 2021© Reuters

After a disappointing start to their qualification campaign, winning only one of their first 10 matches, Chile bounced back with maximum points from their next three fixtures, with their victory against Venezuela in between home and away wins against Paraguay.

However, La Roja suffered another setback as they were beaten 2-0 at home against Ecuador last time out, missing the chance to climb into the top four.

After the visitors took the lead in the ninth minute through Pervis Estupinan, the dismissal of star midfielder Arturo Vidal four minutes later proved costly for Martin Lasarte's side as they struggled to pose a threat in the final third, and they eventually conceded a second in the 93rd minute thanks to Moises Caicedo.

That result means Chile have dropped to sixth in the standings, but they are only one point behind Colombia in fourth so there is still hope of booking their place in Qatar.

However, their final four fixtures include Friday's opponents Argentina, as well as group leaders Brazil and Uruguay, so they will need to be on top of their game if they are to have any chance of finishing in the top four.

Chile have failed to win any of their last five internationals against Argentina, but the point they claimed in the reverse fixture last year will provide Lasarte's men with some belief of securing a positive result on home soil.

Chile World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Chile form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Argentina World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D


Team News

Lionel Messi in action for Argentina on September 10, 2021© Reuters

Argentina will be without Lionel Messi after the Argentine FA came to an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain for the forward to remain in France, as he has only just recovered from a bout of coronavirus.

Tottenham Hotspur's Cristian Romero and Inter Milan's Joaquin Correa are also unavailable as they continue to recover from hamstring injuries.

With both Messi and Correa absent from Scaloni's 27-man squad, Manchester City transfer target Julian Alvarez could be handed his first start for the national team, with Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria two other likely candidates to form a three-man attack.

Midfielders Rodrigo De Paul, Giovani Lo Celso and Leandro Paredes all started against Brazil last time out and the trio could retain their places, though the likes of Guido Rodriguez, Alexis Mac Allister and Emiliano Buendia – the latter yet to receive his first international cap – will all be hoping to force their way into the first XI.

As for Chile, key midfielder Vidal is suspended, so Charles Aranguiz, Erick Pulgar and Claudio Baeza are the three most likely to start in the middle of the pitch.

Blackburn Rovers star Ben Brereton Diaz, who has netted 20 goals for the Championship outfit this term, will be looking to earn his 10th international cap in attack with Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, who have 248 caps combined.

Lasarte may decide to switch back to a four-man defence on Friday, with Gary Medel and Guillermo Maripan starting at centre-back in between full-backs Mauricio Isla and Eugenio Mena.

Chile possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Isla, Medel, Maripan, Mena; Baeza, Aranguiz, Pulgar; Vargas, Brereton Diaz, Sanchez

Argentina possible starting lineup:
E. Martinez; Molina, Pezzella, Otamendi, Acuna; Lo Celso, Parades, De Paul; Alvarez, L. Martinez, Di Maria


SM words green background

We say: Chile 0-1 Argentina

The pressure will be on Chile to secure all three points on Friday, while Argentina are merely looking to extend their unbeaten record, having already qualified.

A closely-fought contest is set to be played out in Calama, and despite the absence of Messi, the visitors have enough quality in their side to secure a slender win.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Chile vs Argentina

Chile
14.0%
Draw
18.1%
Argentina
67.9%
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Chile's Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on June 4, 2021
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