PRETORIA - Chile's leading striker
Humberto Suazo might not start Friday's final Group H match
against Spain, coach Marcelo Bielsa hinted on Thursday.
Suazo has been sidelined for most of the last three months,
first with a shoulder injury and then with a pulled hamstring.
He has played only 90 minutes of competitive football in
that time - 45 minutes in a pre-tournament friendly and 45
minutes in Chile's second World Cup group match against
He looked out of form against the Swiss and was substituted
at half time. In recent days he has not always figured in
Bielsa's starting 11 in training sessions.
Bielsa declined to say whether Suazo would start in Pretoria
but gave a typically cryptic answer to a question at his
pre-match news conference, suggesting that Suazo was still not
"The difficulties that he has are related to the fact that
for some time he has not played in official matches," the coach
"This is something that can be resolved by playing and also
by training, but fundamentally by playing proper matches. So
it's a difficult situation to resolve. We can't change a
training session for an official match."
Bielsa said he would stick to his usual three-pronged attack
with two wingers and a striker.
"It could be Suazo, it could be Paredes, it could be
Valdivia, who all interpret that role in different ways," he
Jorge Valdivia played as a striker in Chile's opening
victory against Honduras but with playmaker Matias Fernandez
suspended, Valdivia is likely to drop back to play behind the
forwards against Spain.
That leaves Esteban Paredes as the most likely replacement
for Suazo, who scored 10 of Chile's 32 goals in the qualifying
campaign, more than any other player in South America. Paredes
came on in the second half against the Swiss and looked sharp.
Chile need only a draw against Spain, who must win to be
sure of reaching the knockout stages of the competition.
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