Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Chile face an anxious wait to see if midfielders Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz will be fit for their crucial Group B decider against the Netherlands.
Chile likely need to win the match in Sao Paulo on Monday to avoid a last 16 clash with hosts and favourites Brazil.
But neither Juventus star Vidal nor Internacional’s Aranguiz trained with their teammates on Friday, two days after their stunning 2-0 defeat of Spain that sent the reigning champions crashing out of the tournament.
Both players had to come off injured against the double reigning European champions and underwent physiotherapy on Friday while their teammates trained.
Added to that, both players are on a yellow card and should they be booked against the Dutch, would miss the last 16 tie.
But such is the belief in the squad that even Vidal himself is confident his teammates could handle his absence.
“This squad is showing how great it is and that’s why I’m not thinking about that yellow card, nor that I could be suspended. I just hope to play and be in the group, that’s the mentality of this group,” Vidal told El Mercurio newspaper.
Midfielder Carlos Carmona, who could be promoted to the starting line-up should either Vidal or Aranguiz be ruled out, insists those who could come in will do just as good a job.
“Eventual suspensions are something normal in these tournaments, but we have players who can replace anyone in such an eventuality,” said the 27-year-old Atalanta player.
The last two times Chile have reached the last eight at a World Cup, in 1998 and 2002, they were eliminated by Brazil.
The only other time they reached that far was when finishing third in 1962 as hosts.
But that time too they were eliminated by Brazil in the semi-finals.
Avoiding the Selecao in the knockout rounds this time would seem imperative.