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 By Tim Vickery

Colombia need a result against Chile as both sides struggle for winning form

Jose Pekerman is under added pressure to get Colombia back on track, beginning Thursday.

Chile and Colombia both came away from last year's World Cup with their heads held high. Chile had reached the second round, just as they did in 2006. Outside 1962, which they hosted, it was Chile's best-ever tournament performance and with a famous victory over Spain, plus a perhaps unfortunate exit to the hosts on penalties, there were grounds for the belief that 2014 had been better than 2010. It's true that there were some warning signs on the horizon -- who will replace the current generation...

 By Tim Vickery

Five players who shone in South America's World Cup qualifiers

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes breaks down the latest action from CONMEBOL as Argentina remained winless and Brazil cruised past Venezuela.

The journey to Russia 2018 is officially underway in South America, and the results so far have been anything but predictable. Here's a look at five players who stood out in the first two rounds of CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifiers:

1. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Just over three months ago, when Chile won their first title, it was Alexis Sanchez who had the honour of sealing the triumph. When the final of the Copa America against Argentina went to a shootout, it was his penalty, cheekily chipped down the...

 By Tim Vickery

Ecuador stun Argentina, Alexis Sanchez inspires Chile against Brazil

Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign got off to a poor start with a shock defeat at home to Ecuador.

Opening defeats for Brazil against Chile and for Argentina at home to Ecuador -- welcome to the most competitive World Cup qualification campaign around.

Since its establishment in 1996, the marathon format in South America, with all 10 nations playing each other home and away, has resulted in a massive rise in standards. With regular competitive games and guaranteed income, the less traditional football nations have been able to grow.

Ecuador had their best ever World Cup in 2006, as did Paraguay...

 By Tim Vickery

Questions loom over Chile, Argentina in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

Arturo Vidal helped Chile win the Copa America. But can his national side back that success up in the World Cup qualifiers?

Ahead of the first stanza of CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, ESPN FC's Tim Vickery takes a look at four key questions from the fixtures...

Chile vs. Brazil

Chile have climbed the mountain. Now can they stay there?

Two months ago, after almost a century of waiting, Chile finally had something to put in their trophy cabinet when they won the Copa America on home soil. Will this spur them on to greater triumphs? Or does it represent a high water mark?

The nearest equivalent comes 14 years...

 By Tim Vickery

Charles Aranguiz's absence a challenging reality for Chile

Charles Aranguiz was a key contributor to Chile's Copa America win and the team missed him in an uneasy win against Paraguay.

Chile's current generation have made history. In the last two World Cups they have made it to the second round -- with the exception of 1962, which they hosted, their best ever performances. And a couple of months ago they finally put an end to the trophy drought, winning the Copa America on home soil.

They can count on a group of players who will be at their peak for a while yet. The Copa, then, might not mark the end of the story. Almost all of the current side should still be good for Russia...

 By Tim Vickery

Under the radar friendly the key moment in Chile's Copa title run

And so the dust has settled on Chile's historic Copa America win. A few days ago the population were charging around in celebration, yelling 'Chi-Chi-Chi, Le-Le-Le' at the tops of the voices. That has now been replaced by a quiet glow of happiness. And with the distance of a few days' perspective, the path to victory becomes clearer.

It now seems evident that there was key moment at the end of March, when Chile lost 1-0 to Brazil in a friendly played in London.

International friendlies can be...