Chile face a struggle to qualify from a group containing 2010 World Cup finalists Spain and Holland, but given the order of games and the setting of this summer’s tournament, it would be foolish to dismiss the South Americans.
Jorge Sampaoli’s team booked their place in some style during qualifying, registering an impressive 29 goals in 16 games – the second highest tally behind only Argentina in the South American section.
And though they are 4/6 to exit at the group stage, the side that previously impressed under Marcelo Bielsa have an opportunity to surprise at the competition.
It could hinge on the outcome of their first match against Australia, with the South Americans 8/15 favourites for the win, given the low ranking nature of their Antipodean opponents.
Victory here could set Chile up nicely for their second match with holders Spain. Incredibly, the Chileans have faced La Roja on three separate occasions over the past three years.
On each occasion the South Americans have found the net, with the most recent game ending in a 2-2 draw that will provide Chile with a boost, particularly when you consider the talent at their disposal.
Like Spain, the other Roja’s real strength lies in midfield, with veteran star David Pizarro joined by Matias Fernandez and Arturo Vidal, with the latter among the best players plying their trade in Serie A.
And then there is Alexis Sanchez – an attacking player with three years experience of playing in La Liga against some of Spain’s finest defenders.
More than Capable of scoring a goal on his day he could be the man to propel them on against Spain, with Chile 4/1 for a surprise win or 23/10 to claim a draw.
A final group encounter against Holland could then see them top the standings or at the very least claim second spot, with the Dutch wary of suffering another flop following their abject display at Euro 2012.
The two sides have never met, and with the South Americans 2/1 for the win, with the draw at 12/5, a shock could be yet on the cards.
Quoted at 9/2 to top the group, finishing ahead of the Spanish and Dutch looks unlikely, but with Chile aiming to reach the last 16 for a third consecutive time at a World Cup, the 5/2 on a second round exit could prove tempting, with Sampaoli’s team on course to meet hosts and favourites Brazil.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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