SANTIAGO – The Chilean national soccer team has started preparations for this week’s World Cup qualifier with Argentina, a contest they may have to face without stars Alexis Sanchez and Gary Medel.
Both were present for practice, but the Arsenal striker worked out separately under the guidance of a physiotherapist, while midfielder Medel remained on the sideline pending the results of medical tests.
Sanchez re-injured his right ankle on Saturday in the late stages of the Gunners’ 3-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion. The same day, Inter Milan’s Medel left the field with muscle spasms during his side’s 2-2 away draw with Torino FC.
Several other international players who play for foreign clubs, including Arturo Vidal, Fabian Orellana, and Claudio Bravo, were still en route to Santiago as training began on Monday.
Due to a suspension, Vidal is excluded from Thursday’s contest with Argentina, though he will be available for next week’s visit to Venezuela.
Chile, with 20 points from 12 matches, currently occupy the fourth and final South American berth for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Chileans sit one point above Argentina and are tied on points with third-place Ecuador, who lead on goal differential.