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 By Tim Vickery

China Cup title hints at promising future, sustained success for Chile

Players of Chile celebrate after winning 2017 Gree China Cup International Football Championship final match against Iceland at Guangxi Sports Center Stadium in Nanning, south China's Guangxi province on January 15, 2017.
With their golden generation aging, Chile's youngsters showed promise while winning the 2017 China Cup.

The past few years have been a golden time in the history of the Chilean national team. At last they have something to put in their trophy cabinet, winning both the 2015 Copa America and last year's Copa America Centenario.  Before that the World Cups of 2010 and '14 were their top moments, with the exception of 1962 World Cup which they hosted and finished third at.

There are two explanations for this spell of success.

One is the idea of play introduced by Marcelo Bielsa, the Argentine...

 By Tim Vickery

48-team World Cup could negatively affect South American qualifying

Gab Marcotti and Shaka Hislop join Outside the Lines and have their say at FIFA expanding the World Cup to 48 teams.
Gab Marcotti joins Outside the Lines to discuss the reasons behind moving the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in 2026.
Shaka Hislop expresses his disapproval at FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

On the website of CONMEBOL, the South American Confederation, there is an article entitled: "From 13 teams in Uruguay 1930 to 48 in the 2026 World Cup."

It is a neat way of reminding everyone of one of the great trump cards of the South American game: its fabulous tradition. This is the continent where the World Cup began and which has won nine versions of the tournament, divided between Brazil (five wins) and Uruguay and Argentina (two apiece).

The big three has provided Barcelona with the "MSN"...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Argentina, Netherlands, Japan and Ghana in danger of missing World Cup

With 12 months to go before we know the 31 teams who will join hosts Russia at the 2018 World Cup, we take a look at some of the major nations and familiar names who appear to have a battle on their hands to make the finals.

Argentina and Chile

Argentina's 3-0 defeat in Brazil last week left them facing a huge crisis in their qualification bid. However, victory at home to Colombia on Tuesday averted this for now, as at least that win left them fifth and that offers a playoff against the winners of...

 By Tom Adams

Arsenal anxious as Alexis Sanchez signals intentions with Chile

The ESPN FC crew discuss rumours around Mesut Ozil and Manchester United.

Arsenal's Premier League campaign takes them up and down the country from Sunderland to Southampton this season but it is no exaggeration to say the viability of their title challenge could be decided 7,250 miles away in Santiago on Tuesday night.

Chile take on Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier which has become arguably more important to Arsenal than the weekend's upcoming meeting with Manchester United.

It is in this game that Alexis Sanchez could take the field for his country just days after suffering...

Back in form, Falcao set for Colombia return

Thirty-three miserable months after the injury that tore Falcao from his perch as one of the world's most feared strikers, a light finally blinks at the end of the tunnel.

Eight goals in ten games following a return to the French league with Monaco, including four strikes in his last two games, has helped brush a calamitous spell in the English Premier League into the past. El Tigre's form may growl rather than roar these days, but in his native Colombia these flickers of form have caused more than...

Could Arsenal cope without Alexis Sanchez? This season may be different

Alison Bender and Don Hutchison discuss how important it is for Arsenal to keep Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

For all of Arsenal's squad depth at the moment, Alexis Sanchez seems like one player they can't afford to be without.

So Arsene Wenger must be a nervous man as he waits to find out the full extent of the calf injury the Chile forward suffered in training on Monday during international duty. While the Chilean FA are still hopeful the muscle strain is only minor, it's worth considering the potential effect a long-term absence for Sanchez could have on Arsenal's campaign.

Sanchez has been the club's...