SUWON – A postponed match against Japan, controversy about racist gestures and injured key-player Alexis Sánchez. And when it was time to play, a 0-0 draw against South Korea. The Asia trip of the Chilean national squad will be remembered as anything but a success.
First there was the earthquake that shook Japan, the opponent planned for last Friday, that made the authorities decide to postpone the game against La Roja. Then there was Alexis Sánchez, who had not been selected to play for the national squad, so he could take some rest in his home in Manchester, where he plays for Manchester United. He suddenly appeared in Santiago, while his teammates were in Asia and without having contacted the head coach, Reinaldo Rueda.
And at last but not least, there were the racist gestures of Chilean players, who were seen on photo´s and video´s mocking the people of South-Korea. There was Chilean midfielder Diego Valdes, who narrowed his eyes while taking a photo with a Korean fan:
Chilean midfielder Diego Valdes made a 'racist' gesture when taking picture with a South Korean fan. (Sportal Korea) pic.twitter.com/uUfrVgbskh
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) September 10, 2018
And Chilean players screaming ´Abre los ojos, weon´ which can be translated into ´Open your eyes, guys´, to passing people.
RACISM AGAIN | Chilean players shouted "Abre Los Ojos Weon(Open Your Eyes, Dudes)" in South Korean street yesterday. pic.twitter.com/DMIG6bhSv6
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) September 11, 2018
But when it came to doing what they were supposed to do, which was after all playing a decent game of football, the Chilean squad left the field, and the continent, with a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Chile – South-Korea: 0-0
With stars like Arturo Vidal (FC Barcelona), Gary Medel (Beşiktaş) and Mauricio Isla (Fenerbahçe) in the starting line-up, and South-Kora (trained by former Portugal coach Paolo Bento) with Tottenham-star Son Heung-min, the match started without any major opportunities.
Due to the strength of both Medel and Vidal on the midfield the game was controlled by the Chileans, where the Koreans with their speed had some outbreaks that caused danger in front of the Chilean goal. The highlight of the first half was a shot fired by the Chilean winger Sagal, that got stopped by the Korean goal keeper Kim.
In the second half, La Roja started furiously, which a lot of pression on the Korean side, resulting in a shot fired by Arturo Vidal, that landed on top of the goal. In the 63rd minute the Chilean midfielder had an open chance to score, offered by a quick pass from the right by Isla, but his strike went over the crossbar, just as the shot coming from Diego Valdés, when he received the ball from a Korean defender. The biggest danger from the Korean side was an explosive shot released by Son, that got saved by goal keeper Arias.
Watch the summary of the match here:
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.