Chile gears up for WC qualifier

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> It's crunch time for Chile on Wednesday when they host Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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They made it to the quarterfinals when the tournament was hosted on home soil in 1962. But Chile have done very little on soccer's international stage since then. They finished in tenth and last place in trying to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. And they face missing out a trip to Germany if things don't go their way on Wednesday. "There's nothing said yet until the last minute, but I think the team is doing a good job. (The players are) Very motivated, thinking about Ecuador. And that we really need to win. And we hope for a little help in the results in the other games," said Rodrigo Melendez, Midfielder. As Melendez pointed out, they could thrash Ecuador in Santiago - but still fall short. Uruguay and Colombia are both in a better position. "We have to have faith in us. We have to win, and then see what happens in the other matches," said Rodrigo Pirez, Defender. One of the players that won't feature is Milovan Mirosevic. He plays in Argentina for Racing Club. In the last game - the 1-1 draw in Barranquilla against Colombia on Saturday - he was hugely influential after coming on as a 59th-minute substitute. Few can figure out why he is not going to play. "We'll see who is playing, the important thing is that Chile wins. It's not proper say this or that should play. I think it's important that Chile wins, no matter who plays," said Milovan Mirosevic, Midfielder. It is indeed. But it could all be in vain. Uruguay host group leaders Argentina. Colombia face a trip to the Paraguayan capital. Both Paraguay and Argentina have already qualified, so they're good - but they may also ease up. And there are rumours - nothing more - and without foundation - that Uruguay have made a deal with Argentina to ensure qualification. "The problems of the weird things did not came from this side of the Andes, it was from the former coach of the Uruguayan team. We don't 'dirty' the pitch, the ones that 'stained' things were not people from Chile," said Nelson Acosta, Chilean Coach. Acosta was in charge once before until replaced by Juvenal Olmos. A second dismissal could swiftly follow if things don't go right on Wednesday.(AP)