The 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (South America) has crossed the midway stage, and things are getting interesting, with teams battling it out to finish in the top half (first four) of the table. Though there are some cracking matches like Brazil vs Argentina, the one featuring Colombia's clash with Chile at Estadio Metropolitano on Thursday will be a close contest.
This South America qualifiers clash has already gathered a huge interest, with both teams looking to outdo the other in the contest.
Only four top teams from South America can book automatic berth for the World Cup, and the race is already very tight. Brazil and Uruguay top the table with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Two points separate the third, fourth, fifth and sixth teams, which makes this match interesting. Colombia lie fourth while Chile are just behind them with 16 points.
Colombia looked good in their last two games, against Paraguay, which they won, and managed a draw against the formidable Uruguay. Such results will inspire them to deliver in this crucial stage after having lost to other big teams like Brazil and Argentina earlier in the qualifiers.
Chile, on the other hand, started the qualifiers in an amazing manner, defeating Brazil and Peru in their first two games. After which, they have lacked consistency, losing to Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay, among others. Chile cannot afford another loss.
These two teams already met in the qualifiers last year, where they had to share points after the game finished in a 1-1 draw. The match was entertaining, but both teams need to make sure that they are clinical in front of the goal in the Thursday encounter.
If Colombia have James Rodriguez and the experienced Radamel Falcao, who is making a comeback after a long time, Chile have figures like Arturo Vidal. However, the hosts will miss the services of Arsenal man Alexis Sanchez, who is suffering from muscle strain.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman was all praise for James' skills, and he will want the player to steer the team to victory on Thursday.
"When we talk about James, we're taking about a player who has many virtues, in the final third there's no one who compares to him, and he's got a powerful left-foot shot, he's versatile and flexible — and a fundamental player within the Colombia setup and within the harmony which enjoys with his team mates whether he plays on the right, on the left or through the middle," Pekerman said.
Where to Watch Live
Colombia vs Chile is scheduled for an 4 pm local time (9 pm BST, 2:30 am IST next day) start.
Live Streaming and TV information.
India: TV: Sony Six/HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Colombia: Caracol TV.
Chile: TV: Fox Sports Chile
USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.