After two tense weeks, the Confederations Cup final is nearly here and Max Grieve tells us what to expect from the Chileans.

The story so far 

Chile’s only normal-time win of the tournament so far has come in their first group match against Cameroon, the 2-0 result followed by 1-1 draws with Germany and Australia. After mixed performances against Germany and the Socceroos, Chile ultimately proved their quality in a superb semi-final against Portugal. Captain Claudio Bravo the hero as he saved three straight penalties in the shootout and booked his side’s spot in Monday morning’s final. 

They’ll beat Germany because…

They’re the best team in the world, which is to say that they’re the best at playing like at team. Chile are an anachronism of modern international football – while everyone else trends towards homogenity (just look at the push to Dutch-up Australian football in the mid-2000s), the Chileans have, through Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli and now Juan Antonio Pizzi, developed a distinctive way of playing which has turned them into the most successful international side of the decade. 

Beyond playing effective and aesthetic football, Chile also really, really want to win. Arturo Vidal says that beating Germany would make the Chileans the best team in the world – his logic works, if you ignore the team that the Germans have brought to Russia – and you’d be foolish to bet against the most determined side at this tournament. 

They’ll lose to Germany because…

They’re coming up against a very good German side, which is to say that they’re coming up against a German side. There’s a danger that the Chileans might still be stretched from their semi-final against Portugal – they looked it at full time – which won’t help against a young German team whose legs are greener, younger, more full of energy and younger than their Chilean counterparts. Still, Germany played their semi-final a day later than Chile, so it would be reasonable to expect that they’re more or less on the same playing field.

Will they win the Confederations Cup Final? 

‘We have the ultimate responsibility of winning,’ said Pizzi ahead of the final. ‘We have no doubts in what we do and tomorrow we will give everything to win the title.’ If there’s one thing to know about this Chilean side, it’s that they don’t play to lose. I’d say that means they could win, but I have to make a prediction, so I’d say that means they should win.  

Best moment of the tournament so far

It’s hard to go past Bravo’s heroics in the shootout against Portugal. He deserves his critics for a poor season at Manchester City, but Bravo’s ability has rarely been in question when he plays for La Roja, and he made each save look easier than the last as he denied Ricardo Quaresma, João Moutinho and Nani from the spot to put Chile into the final.

Key Player

Take your pick of Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez or Claudio Bravo – without these three, it’s doubtful that Chile would be in the final of this tournament, or even at this tournament at all. Still, they’re the obvious choice, and I didn’t spend a year on exchange in Chile to tell you what you already knew. Personally, I’ve always really liked Sánchez’s equally industrious strike partner, Eduardo Vargas (formerly of Hoffenheim), and wouldn’t be at all surprised if he managed to get a goal in the final.  

Injuries/suspensions

Nothing of note – the Chileans were dead on their feet at the end of their semi-final against Portugal, but Pizzi will be able to field a full strength lineup against the Germans. 

Prediction

Chile to win by a goal in normal time. 

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