Friendly match between Chile and Serbia will be played on neutral ground in St Gallen, Switzerland, with both sides hoping to record a morale-boosting win following some disappointing showings in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. La Roja are currently on a four-match losing run, whereas their European opponents have lost two on the bounce.
Chile in desperate need of a win
While establishing themselves as a real force to be reckoned with in world football under Marcelo Bielsa, Chile continued with good showings after Claudio Borghi replaced the current Athletic Bilbao boss. La Roja enjoyed a bright start to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, winning four of their first six fixtures, but defeats to Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina saw them slip to sixth place in the standings. Even if their next qualifier is in March 2013, everybody in the national team is determined to make amends for the poor run of results and end the year with a win over Serbia. Given that boss Claudio Borghi is also under pressure at the moment, there is every chance he will field a very strong squad in St Gallen and demand a victory from his side. With players like Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel all in the squad, La Roja look like they can finally end their losing streak.
Mauricio Isla continues to serve his ten-match suspension that only applies to international friendlies, while Humberto Suazo, Mark Gonzalez, Sebastian Pinto and Carlos Munoz have all withdrawn.
Serbia on the downtrend
The arrival of Sinisa Mihajlovic at the helm of the national team was met with great expectations, but his appointment soon proved to be a very poor decision. The former Inter defender proved to be a very stubborn coach, determined to follow up his ideas at any cost, and has already managed to clash with some of the best and persons in the squad, such as Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov. His selection choices have been controversial at best, with Mihajlovic continuing to prefer players who are not only poorer options but also not regular at their respective clubs. This is why nobody was surprised to see Serbia lose to Belgium and FYR Macedonia, and you don’t need to be too bright to know that things will only get worse. The squad that are set to face Chile are one of the weakest in the history of the national team, so don’t expect too much of Serbia in St Gallen.
Benfica star Nemanja Matic has decided not to play for the national team as long as Mihajlovic is the coach, but Filip Djordjevic has finally received a call-up after impressing at Nantes.
Chile may have struggled to win matches in South American Zone of the World Cup qualifiers of late, but they are now set to face a much weaker side that are all over the place at the moment. La Roja are, therefore, hot favourites to win this game, with comfortable victory also a realistic option.
Top pick: Home win 2.25 (5/4) @ SkyBet
Alternative pick 1: Chile with -1 handicap 5.00 (4/1) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Serbia not to score 3.80 (14/5) @ Sportingbet