Chile eye qualification by beating Brazil

SALVADOR, Brazil - Chile can reach their first World Cup since 1998 if they win in Brazil for the first time in their qualifier in Salvador on Wednesday.

The Brazilians, who will be depleted by the suspensions of key players Kaka, Luis Fabiano, captain Lucio and Ramires and the absence of the injured Robinho, have already qualified for South Africa after a crushing 3-1 win in Argentina on Saturday.

Luis Fabiano's absence could mean a first competitive start since last year for Adriano, whose career went off the rails in April when he quit Inter Milan in Italy to return home, but he has revived his fortunes at Flamengo.

Chile blew a chance for their own celebration at home at the weekend when they were held 2-2 by Venezuela, having to wait longer for the near-certainty of a berth in the finals for the first time since France '98.

Whenever the Chileans, second in the 10-nation South American group three points behind Brazil do qualify, it will be a triumph for their Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, who has given the team new belief and brought the best out of them.


Bielsa, who will face a team who are most comfortable playing on the break, is expected to stick largely to his attacking convictions.

"What we are not going to do is look for a cautious position (on the field)," Bielsa said after the Venezuela match.

"Our hope is to share the initiative with a team like Brazil, which is not something easy (but) worse is to hand over pitch and ball and wait."

Bielsa mindful of the 3-0 loss to Dunga's side in Santiago last year, will however probably strengthen his defence by playing four across the back, welcoming central defender Waldo Ponce back from suspension.

Former Argentina coach Bielsa is also likely to start with Jorge Valdivia in the middle behind strikers Alexis Sanchez and Humberto Suazo with Mauricio Isla dropped.

If Chile only manage a draw, Bielsa's team can still qualify if Colombia and Ecuador, who are seven points behind the Chileans with three matches to go, do not win away to Uruguay and Bolivia respectively.

The top four at the end of qualifying in October will go to the 2010 finals in South Africa while the fifth will play off over two legs with the CONCACAF's fourth-placed team for a another berth.