Chile vs. Venezuela: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Chile vs. Venezuela: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

For both Chile and Venezuela, tonight's match was a do-or-die clash as each entered the field in dire need of a victory in order to move closer to clinching a berth at next summer's World Cup. 

Fittingly, one side thoroughly outclassed the other, Chile cruising to an all-important 3-0 victory over the Venezuelan squad, putting themselves in a favorable position to snag an invitation to Rio. 

Entering the match, Chile sat in fourth place in CONMEBOL qualifying, and with Venezuela trailing by a mere five points, this triumph was a vital one for Eduardo Vargas, Matias Fernandez and company.

Though Venezuela entered the match aiming to keep their World Cup dreams alive, Chile managed to keep the visitors at bay all night and built up an overwhelming lead by the time the whistle sounded to end the first half. 

After Vargas found the back of the net in the 11th minute, the Chileans kept the guests' scoring opportunities to a minimum and, as a result, the game's outcome seemed to be decided by halftime. 

Vargas, who had buried a low shot in the bottom right corner from within the box, sucked the life out of the Venezuelan side, but it wasn't all that surprising given that the visitors were dealing with a nasty team-wide illness in the hours leading up to the match. 

Via Fox Sports:

According to multiple reports, 20 members of Venezuela’s 24-man squad were reportedly unable to practice due to a severe stomach virus. Farias has less than 24 hours to pray that his players recover from what is an ill-timed outbreak of the worst thing in the world.

"They [the squad] didn’t have a good night and they weren’t able to train well," Farias told reporters after Venezuela’s practice on Wednesday.

Regardless of the extenuating circumstances, Chile put together a complete team effort and that's why the hosts were able to claim a comfortable lead before the match was even one-third over. 

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Defender Marcos Gonzalez put the Chileans two up after finding the back of the net for the first time this season and, from there, coach Jorge Sampaoli's bunch never looked back. 

Arturo Vidal then put the match out of Venezuela's reach in the dying moments of the match and, in doing so, the 26-year-old midfielder lifted his national team to within striking distance of earning a World Cup place. 

Ultimately, Venezuela's back line proved to be the team's achilles heel—three defenders managed to draw yellow cards before halftime, limiting the defense's ability to challenge during the later stages of the match.

For the Venezuelan side, the loss put a serious dent in the nation's chances at punching a ticket to Rio, especially given that their closest rival, Uruguay, have a couple of qualifying matches in hand. 

After such a pivotal match, here's a look at how each of the two teams' starters performed in Santiago. 

Chile

 

POS

NO

Name

Grade

G

1

Claudio Bravo

A-

D

2

Eugenio Mena

B

D

3

Marcos Gonzalez

A

D

4

Mauricio Isla

B-

D

17

Gary Medel

B

M

8

Arturo Vidal

A-

M

20

Charles Aranguiz

C+

M

16

David Pizarro

B

M

21

Marcelo Diaz

B+

F

7

Alexis Sanchez

B

F

10

Jorge Valdivia

B+

M

15

Jean Beausejour

B

F

11

Eduardo Vargas

A-

F

22

Angelo Henriquez

B+

Venezuela

POS

No

Name

Grade

G

1

Daniel Hernandez

C-

D

4

Oswaldo Vizcarrondo

B-

D

6

Gabriel Cichero

C-

G

-

Alex Guanche

C

D

16

Rosales Roberto

C-

D

20

Grenddy Perozo

C

M

11

Cesar Ivan Gonzalez

C-

F

10

Yohandry Orozco

C-

M

13

Luis Seijas

D+

M

15

Agnel Flores

C

M

14

Franklin Lucena

D+

M

18

Juan Arango

C-

F

17

Josef Martinez

C-

F

23

Rondon

C

Kent Horner/Getty Images

 Juan Arango: C-

On a night when Venezuela desperately needed to generate quality offensive chances, Juan Arango let too many opportunities slip away.  

Pete Norton/Getty Images

With three chances in scoring areas, Arango should have at least put at least one of the attempts on target—alas, the 33-year-old missed the goal completely on all three. 

The defeat was far from Arango's fault, but in order for Venezuela to keep up with a more talented Chilean side, he had to challenge the goalkeeper at least.

 

Marcos Gonzalez: A

For starters, the defender played a big role in limiting Venezuela's scoring chances all night, as the Chilean side managed to contain the visitors to just one shot on target. 

In addition, the Flamengo stalwart played the role of hero midway through the first half, netting his side's second goal with a header in the 30th minute. 

Normally, Gonzalez is counted upon for his defensive play, but on this night the veteran defender made his presence felt at both ends of the pitch.

 

What's Next?

Chile have a rather daunting task in less than a week's time when they take on reigning World Cup champion Spain, but seeing as it's not a qualifying match, it shouldn't be viewed as an all-important tilt. 

For now, Chile are in good shape in preparation for Rio, but there's still work to be done in order for this squad (which advanced to the Round of 16 in 2010) to secure a trip to Brazil. 

At the other end of the pitch, the Venezuelans will be desperate when they take on Peru and Paraguay over the course of the next five weeks. 

Simply put, if Venezuela don't find a way to land a couple of upsets, this will be a team that's left hoping for other squads to stumble—which is never a good situation.

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