England have a chance to build on confident wins over Poland and Montenegro with a challenging Wembley fixture against Chile.
The South American visitors, who also secured an automatic qualification spot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, will be looking to upset a Three Lions outfit that have gained noticeable momentum under Roy Hodgson.
Let’s check out fitness news, recent form and players who must impress in the heart of London.
England Fitness Concerns
England have a troubling list of niggling injuries heading into this one.
His Liverpool teammate, Daniel Sturridge, is also struggling with a knock to the foot, and Manchester United’s Michael Carrick is expected to be withdrawn to recover from persistent Achilles trouble.
Recent setbacks to Theo Walcott’s recovery from abdominal surgery, per Jack de Menezes of The Independent, also ensures he doesn’t make the squad. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another to remain on the sidelines, per Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.
Simon Stone of The Independent also suggests Danny Welbeck is unlikely to feature.
|England 2-0 Poland||Oct. 15, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, Euro Group H.||W|
|England 4-1 Montenegro||Oct. 11, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, Euro Group H.||W|
|Ukraine 0-0 England||Sep. 10, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, Euro Group H.||D|
|England 4-0 Moldova||Sep. 6, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, Euro Group H.||W|
|England 3-2 Scotland||Aug. 14, 2013.||Friendly||W|
Chile at Full Strength
Jorge Sampiola has a full squad of stars to work with and won’t have his plans hampered through injury.
Jose Fuenzalida and Carlos Munoz are the only two players added who didn’t join up with the squad for the recent win over Ecuador. Chile's full squad can be viewed in the FA's official report.
|Chile 2-1 Ecuador||Oct. 16, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, South America.||W|
|Colombia 3-3 Chile||Oct. 11, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, South America.||D|
|Spain 2-2 Chile||Sep. 10, 2013.||Friendly||D|
|Chile 3-0 Venezuela||Sep. 7, 2013.||World Cup Qualifying, South America.||W|
|Chile 6-0 Iraq||Aug. 8, 2013.||Friendly||W|
Players Who Need to Impress
Jay Rodriguez, England
Hodgson named three Southampton players in his England squad, per the FA. The most surprising name of them all was Jay Rodriguez, who will need to make an instant impact if he is to challenge for a place in the World Cup squad.
The Saints forward has notched three goals and one assist in 11 appearances for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season, recorded by WhoScored. He is a tricky player who can operate centrally or from the wing and offers a potential match-winner with his clever movement.
Much like teammate Rickie Lambert, the 24-year-old faces the threat of "doing a David Nugent" and fading into one-cap obscurity if he performs badly. To succeed, just as Lambert did, Rodriquez will need to work energetically, use his teammates for support and gobble up any opportunity afforded to him.
Eduardo Vargas, Chile
Napoli forward Eduardo Vargas has been out of European sights this season and is currently on loan at Gremio.
He will look to produce a memorable performance during his brief trip back to the continent. Vargas has five goals in 15 games for the Brazilian side, his most recent coming in the 2-2 draw with Internacional, per WhoScored.
Plenty of interested scouts will be looking for talent during the Wembley encounter. Should the 23-year-old impress, he could find himself on the move again in January.
Both sides are in excellent form and used to winning games. England haven’t lost an international since the 4-2 defeat to Sweden in Nov. 2012, while Chile’s last defeat came in the 1-0 failure against Peru on Feb. 23.
Sampiola’s side move the ball quickly, like to commit defenders and play intense attacking football. Although this can be a great source of strength—especially with the pace of Alexis Sanchez and Vargas in the team—it also has the capacity to be Chile’s most identifiable weakness, as highlighted when they threw away a 3-0 lead to Colombia.
Hodgson will set up positively and will want his players to express themselves. Chile will need to be wary on the counter as the lightening pace of Andros Townsend offers the hosts a direct, incisive outlet who can pop up across the entire pitch.
Who will win this match?
If England maintain possession and keep the ball moving quickly, the Chilean midfield are likely to be pulled out of position. This will further Townsend’s influence and ensure Sampiola’s men have to play an increasingly rigid formation to what we’ve seen in previous matches.
Wayne Rooney will have an important role to play and needs to ensure he drops deep to receive the ball, especially if Gerrard and Carrick miss the game, helping the home side to stack numbers in the midfield.
England have the physical edge and, should they contain an ambitious Chilean offensive, are more than equipped to grab the win.
Final Score: England 2-1 Chile