Preview: Chile vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups
:Headline: Preview: Chile vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's World Cup Qualifying - South America clash between Chile and Paraguay, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Struggling Chile welcome Paraguay to the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo for their 2022 World Cup qualifier on Monday.
The hosts have won only one of their 10 qualification matches so far, while the visitors have drawn six games during the same period, more than any other South American side.
Chile's winless run was extended to seven matches across all competition when they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Peru on Friday.
Goals either side of half time from Christian Cueva and Sergio Pena condemned The Red One to their fifth defeat in Qualifying, and that result has seen them slip to eighth in the South American standings, seven points behind Colombia in fifth who currently occupy the inter-confederation playoff spot.
Chile are now at serious risk of failing to qualify for their second successive World Cup tournament, after missing out on the tournament in Russia four years ago.
Head coach Martin Lasarte, who took charge of the national side in February, is under pressure to turn their fortunes around, having won only two of his 12 games at the helm.
The Red One head into Monday's clash having lost each of their last three meetings against Paraguay, including a 2-0 defeat at this summer's Copa America.
Chile cannot afford to drop many more points during the second half of their qualification campaign or else their dreams of playing in Qatar will soon be over.
Paraguay, meanwhile, are still in with an outside chance of qualifying for their first World Cup finals since 2010, as they sit just four points behind Uruguay in fourth place.
A stalemate against Argentina on Friday, their sixth draw in 10 qualifiers so far this campaign, means they have accumulated five points from their last three games.
With an encounter against Bolivia sandwiched in between two qualifiers against Chile, head coach Eduardo Berizzo will be confident that his side can put together a decent run of form as they aim to climb up the South American standings.
Draws, however, need to be converted into victories if they are to really stand a chance of finishing in the top four. In four of Paraguay's six draws in Qualifying, they were leading at some stage in the game, so Berizzo needs to find a way for his side to see out matches and hold on to all three points.
Los Guaranies have a solid record against Chile in recent years, winning four of their last seven meetings and scoring at least twice on six occasions.
Securing all three points on Monday could see Paraguay climb above Colombia into fifth place, if they fail to beat runaway leaders Brazil.
Chile World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
Chile form (all competitions):
Paraguay World Cup Qualifying - South America form:
Paraguay form (all competitions):
Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal will miss out once again due to injury, so Charles Aranguiz and Erick Pulgar are set to remain in the middle of the pitch on Monday after both players started against Peru.
Experienced quartet Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel and Alexis Sanchez – who have an incredible 544 caps between them – all started on Friday and will be in contention to play again against Paraguay.
Ben Brereton Diaz, who has scored 10 goals in 12 Championship appearances for Blackburn Rovers so far this season, will be hoping to keep his place in attack alongside Sanchez, while Jean Meneses and Marcelino Nunez are set to provide support for the two central strikers from wide areas.
As for Paraguay, Berizzo may decide to switch from a back five used against Argentina to a four-man defence, which was adopted in their last game against Chile at the Copa America.
Omar Alderete could be the defender who drops out of the first XI, with either Richard Sanchez or Angel Cardozo Lucena brought in to start in central midfield.
Newcastle United's Miguel Almiron may start in a more advanced midfield role in behind lone striker Antonio Sanabria, who has scored just one goal in 21 international appearances.
Chile possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Isla, Maripan, Medel, Vegas; Nunez, Aranguiz, Pulgar, Meneses; Brereton Diaz, Sanchez
Paraguay possible starting lineup:
Silva; Rojas, Gomes, Alonso, Arzamendia; Moral, Villasanti, Gimenez, A. Romero; Almiron; Sanabria
We say: Chile 1-2 Paraguay
Paraguay have kept a clean sheet in their last two meetings against Chile, however we feel that the form of Brereton Diaz could see the hosts find the net on Monday.
Having said that, Lasarte's men may still find it difficult to overcome Los Guaranies, who we feel will come away from the Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo with a narrow victory.
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