Current UFWC champions Chile take on Brazil in a World Cup qualifier that doubles up as a UFWC title match this Thursday, 8 October. Chile have home advantage and are on a great run of form, while Brazil are without their talisman and best player Neymar. Can Chile retain the UFWC title, or will Brazil become Unofficial Football World Champions once again?
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli has a virtually full-strength squad to call upon, with Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal and Barcelona goalkeeper and Chile captain Claudio Bravo available again, alongside the likes of Jorge Valdivia, Gary Medel and Alexis Sanchez. Chile have won their last five matches, and, such is the momentum and confidence behind them, they are (slight) favourites to beat the Selecao.
Brazil are of course without national team captain Neymar, who is suspended. Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa is likely to start in Neymar’s absence, behind a revitalised Hulk – who has scored in Brazil’s last two matches. Coach Dunga is also without Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, who has withdrawn from the squad due to injury. Coutinho’s absence has meant a recall for Kaka, now at MLS side Orlando City, but Chelsea’s Oscar, having recovered from his own injury problems, should take the central playmaker role.
Chile have now won 13 UFWC title matches, and are 15th in the all-time rankings. Brazil have won 38 and are ranked 6th. FIFA’s rankings place Chile 9th and Brazil 7th. Brazil were last UFWC champions in June, when a nine-game winning streak was ended by Colombia. During that run, in March, Brazil defeated Chile 1-0.
The next UFWC title match will come around very quickly, with the next round of World Cup qualifiers played on 13 October, when Chile play Peru, and Brazil play Venezuela.
Kick off for Chile vs Brazil is 20:30 local time on 8 October (00:30 on 9 October in the UK) at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago. And you can keep up to date with all things UFWC by following us on Twitter or Facebook.