FIFA Rankings: Is Chile the Best Soccer Team in South America? [VOTE]
What an incredible year it's been for the Chilean National Team.
With their 4-3 victory over Peru on Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, Chile extended their undefeated streak to 10 games. Chile's last loss came back in march when they fell to Brazil, 1-0 in an international friendly in London, England. Since then, Jorge Sampaoli's team has nine wins, one draw and zero defeats.
It was an amazing summer for Chile as they won their first ever Copa America defeating Argentina in the finals.
Chile is hot (no pun intended): They're winning tournaments, they're healthy, and they're extremely balanced. Having said all that, it might be time for FIFA to recognize them as the No. 1 team in CONMEBOL. At the moment, Chile is ranked No. 9 in the world and No. 4 in South America.
The injury bug certainly hasn't affected Chile the same way it has other notable South American squads. Argentina is currently playing without Lionel Messi, who is injured, and his return remains to be seen. Argentina has failed to win each of their last three games, against Mexico, Ecuador and Paraguay. While Argentina is recognized as the top team in the world, the injury to Messi and this slump could change this very soon.
Brazil and Colombia, who are both ranked ahead of Chile, are dealing with their issues as well. James Rodriguez is still out with a thigh injury, and the team isn't the same without him. Colombia was blown out in their last game against Uruguay, 3-0. They have now won just one of their last five games. Colombia will take on Chile in their game on the road. Neymar was also suspended for the first two games of the qualifiers because of his behavior at the Copa America.
Even Uruguay is without their best forward, Luis Suarez. Suarez is still serving his nine match suspension and just two more games remain for him.
Chile is healthy, young, energetic and ready to go. Claudio Bravo, arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, is back from his calf injury as well. The biggest thing that separates Chile from the rest of CONMEBOL is balance. Chile has no glaring weakness whatsoever on their starting lineup. Mauricio Isla, Gonzalo Jara and Gary Medel create a great defensive unit while Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas are scoring at huge rates.
Sanchez and Vargas lead the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with three goals each in the first two games.
We also can't count out Chile's middle field. Arturo Vidal and Jorge Valdivia are passing the ball great and controlling the time of possession.
The highest Chile has ever ranked is No. 6, which was in 1996. They won't be able to jump Germany in the new world rankings, but they should be placed in the top five because of this amazing year. With so much promise and a strong roster, one could definitely make the case Chile should at least be No. 1 in CONMEBOL.
Follow Damon Salvadore on Twitter @DamonSalvadore1
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