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Rarity, Sanchez, Peruvian supporter: 5 things to know about Chile... who dreams of bringing down the Blues in Marseille

Tuesday evening at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, it will be only the 6th clash in history between France and Chile.

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Rarity, Sanchez, Peruvian supporter: 5 things to know about Chile... who dreams of bringing down the Blues in Marseille

Tuesday evening at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, it will be only the 6th clash in history between France and Chile. It will be the first since another friendly match on August 10, 2011 in Montpellier (1-1). The Blues have only played Chile once in an official competition: in the 1930 World Cup, the very first. Bad memory: Chile had precipitated the elimination of the Tricolores in the group stage (1-0).

SEE ALSO – The goals and the summary of France-Germany in a friendly match on March 23 (0-2)

The victory last Friday in Albania (0-3) does not erase Chile's recent and disappointing results. La “Roja” (“red” in Spanish) got off to a bad start in its qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup. It lost against Uruguay (3-1), Venezuela (3-0) and Ecuador ( 1-0) last year. Coach Eduardo Berizzo resigned after a draw against Paraguay on November 17 (0-0). Chile is 42nd in the FIFA rankings, its worst position since 2008. The era of its two consecutive Copa America crowns (2015, 2016) seems a long way off.

The South American selections are preparing, like their European counterparts, for a big deadline this summer. The Copa America 2024 (June 20-July 16) will take place at the same time as the Euro. Often there, Chile reached the semi-finals in 2019 and the quarters in 2021. This year, it inherited a tough group including world champion Argentina, Peru and Canada.

There are four centenarians who still wear the red tunic of Chile: Eduardo Vargas (106 caps), Mauricio Isla (132), Claudio Bravo (145) and Alexis Sanchez (160). The latter, a former OM striker, will equal record holder Gary Medel (161), absent but who could nevertheless return for the Copa America. Sanchez, 35 years old and a substitute at Inter Milan, is also the top scorer in the history of the Chilean selection (51 goals), ahead of Vargas (41).

Appointed coach after the resignation of Eduardo Berizzo in November, Argentine coach Ricardo Gareca begins a new story with Chile. He has already had a happy one with Peru, between 2015 and 2022. A success to the point that, this weekend, Gareca was surprised by two Peruvian supporters when leaving his hotel in Marseille.

“Thank you very much for the feats you have accomplished for my country. You have made the dream of each of us come true,” the supporter said, before wishing her the best at the head of Chile. Gareca brought Peru to the 2019 Copa America final, its first final since 1975, and qualified the “Blanquirroja” for the 2018 World Cup, its first World Cup since 1982.

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