Chile inspired by torn and mud-stained flag

NELSPRUIT - Chile's players say a torn and mud-stained flag, rescued from the debris of February's massive earthquake in the south of their country, is helping to motivate them at the World Cup.

The Chileans brought the red, white and blue national flag with them to South Africa and have hung it on a flagpole next to their training pitch near Nelspruit, in the east of the country.

"I always pass by it after each practice session and it symbolises a little bit the suffering that our country went through during that time - the earthquake, the tsunamis, the many deaths," centre-back Waldo Ponce said.

"It's an extra motivation for us when we walk out on the pitch. We're trying to bring a little happiness to all those people who suffered so much during the earthquake. The flag is a symbol of what happened in our country."

Chile's captain and keeper Claudio Bravo said the earthquake "is on our minds. It's a very, very important thing for us."

With a magnitude of 8.8, the earthquake was one of the biggest on record. It killed over 500 people and left thousands homeless.

Many Chileans are watching the World Cup in makeshift shelters or in the homes of relatives because their own houses have been flattened.

Chile have started with two wins but still need a point from their last Group H match against European champions Spain in Pretoria on Friday to guarantee a place in the last 16.

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