Olympics Preview: Chile

Jean-Pierre Thiesset casts his eye over tournament debutants La Roja Femenina (pictured above at the 2019 World Cup by Getty Images).

Squad News:

The Chile women’s national football team has been known or nicknamed as “La Roja Femenina (The Feminine Red)”.

For Chile, 2019 will remain in the history of the country as the year of the Women’s Football Revolution. After its participated in the FIFA Women World Cup, “La Roja” achieved its best FIFA Women’s World Ranking being of 37th.

Christiane Endler, national team goalkeeper and arguably their most famous player revealed the consequences of that World Cup appearance: “We have seen a lot of changes lately. Women football is more supported and valorized. We enjoy greater visibility, and now people know the players. Several clubs came back from their bias and decided to create training centres for girls”.

In recent international matches, the team has already started to prepare for its next challenge, the Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo. Head coach José Letelier, is optimistic. “I’m happy with the work and the focus of my players. We know that some adjustments are related to learning and progress, but I think we’re on the right track.”

Coach:

Above: José Antonio Letelier Henríquez. Photo: World Football.Net

José Antonio Letelier Henríquez has been head coach of the Chile women’s national football team since 2015.

He played mostly for Chilean teams and in 1988 Colo-Colo sent Letelier and three other young players on loan to Alianza Lima, whose team had perished in the 1987 Alianza Lima plane crash.

Olympics History:

Chile qualified for the first time this year for Olympic Games.

Qualifying:

Chile qualified by beating Cameroon in the Women’s Olympic Qualifying – CAF-CONMEBOL Play-Off in April 2021.

Strengths:

A few experimented players who played in France (Christiane Endler and Francisca Lara), or in Spain (Camilla Saez, Javiera Toro, and Yanada Aedo). A fighting spirit and a desire to progress.

Development Areas:

The Chile team lack of experience at high level with only one participation in World Cup before qualifying for Olympic Games.

Key Players:

Above: Christiane Endler .Photo: Between the Sticks.

Christiane Endler Mutinelli, the national team’s goalkeeper for the played for Paris St. Germain from 2017 until June 2021. On 21 June 2021, PSG rival’s and perennial French women’s’ champions Olympique Lyonnais announced the signing of Endler for the upcoming season. She is widely regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. In both 2019 and 2020, she finished as runner-up in the Women’s Goalkeeper Awards at the FIFA Best Football Awards. She has 81 caps for the Chile Women’s national team.

Francisca Lara, known as Pancha Lara, plays as a midfielder for D1 Arkema (French Women top flight) side Le Havre AC. She has 72 caps for the Chile Women’s national team and has scored 21 goals.

One to watch:

Yastin Jiménez, 20 years-old is an emerging star who plays as a midfielder for Colo-Colo, Chile.

Prediction:

Chile (37th in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings) are in Group E with Japan (11th), Canada (8th) and Great Britain (5th). It will be a huge surprise if they are able to qualify for the quarter-finals from this group with experienced teams even as one of the two best third teams of all teams in the first round.

Group Fixtures:

DateGameLocationTime (Local/UK)
July 21Great Britain – ChileSapporo17:30/9:30
July 24Canada – ChileSapporo17:30/9:30
July 27Japan – ChileMiyagi21:00/13:00

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