The third team out in group F is Chile, another newcomer on the biggest of the international stages.
La Roja, as the team is called, put in a good shift to qualify for the World Cup in France. They’ve been close to qualifying several times before, before finally managing to break through last year. Together with Brazil, Chile is the only team to have never missed a Copa America Femenina. They started off their qualification journey with a draw against Paraguay and Colombia, they then went on to win against Uruguay and Peru before experiencing their only loss in the tournament to eventual winners Brazil. They drew with Colombia again before then going to pull off an impressive 4-0 over Argentina, their big rivals.
In the Chile team, one of the most outstanding players is Christiane Endler, the goalkeeper and captain of the squad. Endler represents PSG in France, and with her size as well as her reflexes and overall skills, she’s a top goalkeeper and a leader on and off the pitch who can deliver in the big games.
“It has changed a lot over the last couple of years and that is really satisfying for me. It means the work we are doing now is getting the results we want, and we are maybe opening doors for new generations of women, who might have it a bit easier to achieve in sport in Chile,” Endler said to FIFA.
On the midfield and up the front Yanara Aedo is a big presence and with her three goals in seven games during the qualification, she’s established herself as a source of goals. Camila Saez is a defender, but that doesn’t hold her back from scoring goals and she contributed with as many goals as forward Maria Rojas during the qualification. Another name to remember is veteran Francisca Lara, who links up very well with Karen Araya on the midfield to contribute to Chile’s attack.
It’s not easy being a female football player in Chile, and fullback Fernanda Pinilla told ESPNW about some of the inequalities the players continuously face.
“Football here is a sport for men,” Pinilla said. “We live almost as rebels due to this mentality in Chile that there are certain things that men do and certain things that women do. I’ve never been on the end of verbal or physical abuse for playing football, but the institutions here have certainly discriminated against us.
there are certain things that men do and certain things that women do
“I don’t have the same training conditions as a male player, which for me amounts to discrimination. The worst equipment and most inconvenient training times are reserved for women. A lot of women’s teams don’t have a medical team working with them, looking after them. These are all forms of discrimination against female players in Chile.”
The coach of the national team is Jose Letelier, who’s been heading the team since 2015. He is a former goalkeeper himself and won the Copa Libertadores title back in 1991 with Colo-Colo. After his playing career was over, he took over the reins at his former club’s women’s side in 2010, and together they won 10 straight domestic titles and the Copa Libertadores Femenina in 2012.
Chile has been playing a few friendlies since they qualified for the tournament last year, but the results have not really been going their way and in their last few games leading up to their departure for France in these days, they’ve played (and lost) against Germany, Netherlands, Jamaica and drawn with Scotland and Colombia.
There we have a bit more information about Chile! It’s going to be difficult for this team, new on the world stage, to stand up against powerhouses like the USA and Sweden, but you never know! Do you think this team, known to pull off good results in tough games, can do it? Let us know below!