Chile moves its home ground this Thursday to face the Argentine team, already qualified for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, in the 2260 meters high of the city of Calama. The trans-Andean team is looking for a victory that will allow it to rise in the positions of the South American Qualifiers and aspire with more chances to a ticket for the highest soccer event; For the locals it will be a crucial match, in which Lionel Messi will be absent.
The duel, corresponding to date 15, is disputed at the Desert Foxes Stadium, from 21.15, Argentina time and it is televised by TyC Sports and Public TV. In addition, it has the arbitration of Anderson Troncoso, from Brazil.
With four games to conclude the tournament that gives the passage to the next World Cup, Chile needs to add three to get out of the sixth place it currently occupies with 16 units, outside the classification zone. While, Argentina arrives already classified. It is currently in second place, with 29 points, behind Brazil who will also be in Qatar.
The emergencies led the Chileans to change Santiago and travel 1900 kilometers north, in the middle of the Atacama desert, to the small mining city of Calama, near important copper deposits and at an altitude of 2,260 meters, a geographical condition in which Argentina adds more failures than triumphs.
The last duel between Argentina and Chile
With a population of just over 180,000 inhabitants, Calama has a rich soccer history thanks to its team: Cobreloa, which in just 45 years of life was a two-time Copa Libertadores finalist, in 1981 and 1982, and won eight local titles. Currently going through a bad streak in the Chilean second division.
Calama will not receive one of the greatest figures in world football, Lionel Messi, who was left out of Lionel Scaloni’s call after recovering from Covid-19 and who has not been regular in football at French PSG. In their last game, the Parisians defeated Reims 4-0 and Messi was a substitute, although he came on in the second half, after a month of inactivity.
On the Chilean side, the midfielder Arturo Vidal will not be either, suspended in principle for three games after the kick he hit an Ecuadorian player on the last qualifying date. But, at a request from the player himself, FIFA reduced the sanction to two games. “Not having Vidal and with the rival without Messi, we must win the same,” said Uruguayan Martín Lasarte, Chile’s coach.
The Red and the Albiceleste have had to face casualties due to the pandemic and even more so with the appearance of the omicron variant, but also due to injuries, which led Lasarte and Scaloni to make emergency calls. Chile lost three players due to covid-19: winger Mauricio Isla, central defender Francisco Sierralta and striker Jean Meneses. Lasarte called José Pedro Fuenzalida at the wheel as an emergency.
Argentina, current champion of America, suffers from the absence of the midfielder Guido Rodriguez, also due to coronavirus, for which Scaloni called Nehuén Pérez an emergency. Due to injury they are left out of the striker Joaquin Correa and the center Christian Romero, with which the technical director called Maximiliano Meza.
After the match, Chile will travel to 3,600 meters above sea level in La Paz to play Bolivia, while Argentina will host Colombia in Córdoba, both matches will be played on Tuesday.