Going into this 2010 World Cup, Chile (who are competing in their first World Cup since 1998) have found themselves in a group that they could legitimately advance from for only the third time in their history.
The group that Chile are in is Group H, which has Chile's first three World Cup opponents in Honduras, Switzerland, and Spain.
With the World Cup now less than three weeks away, here is my preview of Chile's Group H matches.
Honduras vs. Chile
Date: June 16, 2010
Venue: Mbombela Stadium (Nelspruit)
A matchup that will be contested by two Spanish-speaking nations in the Western Hemisphere, Honduras and Chile will be a matchup that also will be the first World Cup match for both sides since 1982 and 1998 respectively.
In this match, I feel that Honduras will be a side that will be putting more emphasis on their next group stage match against Spain (who were their colonizers from 1524 until 1821).
Meanwhile, Chile will be more focused on winning this match, as they need something to warm them up for their match with Switzerland on June 21.
With that in mind, I see Chile pulling out a 3-1 victory, as both sides will need wins in their second Group G matchup in order to advance.
Chile vs. Switzerland
Date: June 21, 2010
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Port Elizabeth)
The matchup that will ultimately decide who will advance alongside Spain in Group H, Chile and Switzerland will battle in a great matchday two clash in Group H.
Overall, these are two sides have a strong emphasis on defense, but I see this as a match that will be determined in the end on the counterattack.
With that in mind, I see Switzerland behind 2-1 going into stoppage time, but will get a timely goal to secure a 2-2 draw, with Chile needing anything but a loss against Spain in order to advance into the Round of 16.
Chile vs. Spain
Date: June 25, 2010
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Pretoria)
In the final match in Group H, we will have a battle between a former colony and mother country taking place in South Africa's capital, as Chile and Spain square off.
In this match, I see many of Spain's starters on the bench as Spain are looking more forward to their Round of 16 matchup in just three days time down in Johannesburg to worry about.
But despite the best efforts from Chile, as they remain on the offensive throughout the entire match, the Spanish counterattack will be able to score twice.
Despite a late goal at the beginning of stoppage time, Spain will finish first overall in Group H with nine points with a 2-1 win.
But for Chile, they will advance onto the round of 16 in Cape Town on June 29 against the runner-up in Group G (which will most likely be either the Ivory Coast or Portugal).
Finally, it will be interesting to see what will happen to Chile in this World Cup as one of the dark horses, and hopefully my prediction will come true as Chile look to make a deep run in this World Cup.
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