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Spain loss puts Chile in Brazil`s World Cup path

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-25 18:15:06

PRETORIA: Chile`s first World Cup triumphs since 1962 have booked the South American side into the last 16, but a 2-1 loss Friday to European champions Spain has left them in mighty Brazil`s path.


And even Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa admits that is a scary prospect.


"It`s always a side to be afraid of," Bielsa said. "The Brazil team we`re seeing at this World Cup, they still have all the creative attributes of football typical to Brazil as well as a certain amount of aggressiveness."


The Chileans led Group H until the final whistle against Spain, but that defeat dropped Bielsa`s side to second in the group and into a Monday match at Johannesburg`s Ellis Park against the five-time champions.


Bielsa was in charge of Argentina`s 2002 squad that exited in the first round and said that despite getting through now, his success with Chile does not make up for that failure.


"These are two different things," he said. "Back then, that situation was different and it can`t be resolved with subsequent performances."


Some have criticized Brazil for not playing as beautiful a style as past versions of the dynasty, but Bielsa said they have plenty of playmakers and caution is no weakness at a World Cup now lacking Italy and France.


"Being cautious is a virtue and being daring has to be seen as not always good," Bielsa said.


"Brazilian wingers have more to do with the historic Brazil team. Midfielders are very important. Forwards the same. Also the defenders.


"We could draw a parallel with the historic Brazilian sides. That caution is a Brazilian side that is adapting to current times."


The Chileans have not moved past the second round since hosting in 1962 but must face Brazil without three starters after midfielder Marco Estrada was red carded and defenders Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce picked up second yellow cards.


"I don`t think we had any bad intentions," Bielsa said. "We simnply were too late to get to the ball. Perhaps we used force excessively but I don`t think we did."


Bielsa blamed Spanish speed for denying tackles that turned instead into fouls.
"It was tough defensively. We were rather pretentious in trying to regain ball possession," he said. "We do try to get the ball back as soon as we can and we didn`t get to the ball in time. We couldn`t anticipate the moves with precision."


Despite being foiled by Spain, Chile will employ the same strategy and tactics against a fleet-footed Brazilian side rather than back off.
"I don`t see this as a new trait one should acquire," Bielsa said.


BDST: 1634hrs, June 26, 2010
SA

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