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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Odd statue of Arsenal and Chile star Alexis Sanchez is unveiled

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez's statue display is repainted after the Colo Colo badge was vandalised.

Alexis Sanchez had a disappointing evening on Thursday as Chile lost to Argentina in a World Cup qualifier, but he had far more to cheer about on Saturday.

The Arsenal forward visited his home city of Tocopilla to unveil a statue, created by Marco Vergara, that has been erected in his honour.

It's not your usual statue, however, with Sanchez in full Chile kit and looking more like a life-sized cartoon -- complete with Hollywood Walk of Fame-esque handprints and footprints.

Alexis Sanchez's temper tantrum fuels Chile transfer jokes

Argentina pushed Chile out of the top five in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty kick.

 Arsenal fans have poked fun at Alexis Sanchez's latest temper tantrum by saying he could be ready to switch national teams.

Sanchez's angry outbursts after Arsenal losses this season have fuelled speculation he wants to leave the club this summer after getting fed up with their struggles. So after seeing a similar tantrum when his beloved Chile lost 1-0 to Argentina in a World Cup qualifier, social media analysts were quick to point out what it all means.

 By Sam Kelly

Argentina beat Chile but have plenty to improve after poor performance

Argentina pushed Chile out of the top five in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty kick.
Messi celeb vs Chile 170323
Lionel Messi was about the only Argentina player to threaten.

BUENOS AIRES -- The most important thing, as Edgardo Bauza said in the days before the game, was for Argentina to get the win. And get the win they did. In an incredibly tight World Cup qualifying group, a 1-0 victory over Chile on Thursday night means Argentina move a little closer to Russia regardless of how they did it.

Beyond the result, it was also a chance for the country's fans to see whether this team are coming together, and whether Bauza is stamping his mark on them. However, the answers...

 By Sam Kelly

Can Argentina overcome their distractions to get vital win vs. Chile?

Alejandro Moreno calls on Argentina's star players to deliver strong performances to overcome Chile in World Cup Qualifying.
ESPN Deportes' Ricardo Ortiz and ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno dissect Argentina's struggles in World Cup Qualifying.

Another international date means another chance for Argentina to confront familiar obstacles. Thursday's opponents in Buenos Aires are Chile, who have done much to become the Albiceleste's bogey team in recent years but are not the only thing standing in their way; Argentina must also face pressure from public expectation, increased media attention due to the players' boycott, and the mental block that affected the side at times during the second half of 2016.

Argentina's start to life under Edgardo...

Chile will try to end Argentina's recent recovery in World Cup qualifiers

Lionel Messi's absences have hurt Argentina in this World Cup qualifying cycle.

Chile will try to end Argentina's recent recovery in 2018 World Cup qualifying when the teams meet Thursday night in Buenos Aires.

Argentina have won just once in their last five qualifiers, having defeated Colombia 3-0 at home in the most recent round in November.

Chile, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last five games, with a win over Iceland in China in January as well as victories against Peru and Uruguay.

FiveThirtyEight's Soccer Power Index (SPI) gives host Argentina a 62 percent chance of a victory.

Argentina have struggled in the competition without Lionel Messi, who has played in just...

 By Tim Vickery

The state of play in South America's World Cup qualifiers

Alejandro Moreno and Alexis Nunes predict which teams will prevail ahead of a juicy slate of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers.
Gab Marcotti explains why FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has its benefits, but not everyone agrees.

There are no real prizes for coming first. Or second for that matter. World Cup qualification in South America is all about crossing the line and making it through to Russia.

The first four teams qualify automatically for next year's tournament, with the side finishing fifth having to play off against opponents from Oceania. And as the competition moves into the final third, only Brazil are really sitting pretty.

Those six consecutive wins under new coach Tite have carried Brazil to 27 points. In...