SANTIAGO – Chile national coach Reinaldo Rueda said on Tuesday that the squad failed to qualify for the World Cup under predecessor Juan Antonio Pizzi because the starters were worn out from the Confederations Cup.
“If Chile had planned strategically and if it hadn’t gone to the Confederations (Cup) with their starting line-up, I might not be here,” Rueda said in a press conference.
Pizzi was fired after Chile failed to make the cut for the 2018 World Cup.
Rueda said that it would have been more advisable for Chile to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup with an Under-23 team, as other national sides did, and not with its main players.
“If Chile had gone with another line-up, the players wouldn’t have been worn out and the team would now be going to the World Cup. The exhaustion took its toll,” Rueda said, adding that exhaustion was decisive in the matches against Paraguay and Bolivia, which virtually eliminated Chile from the 2018 World Cup.
Nevertheless, Rueda said that Pizzi was not entirely to blame because the players were the ones who had asked to play in the Confederations Cup, which Chile was close to winning for the first time.
“Pizzi wanted several players to stay home and rest, but they wanted to go and win. That ended it for the team,” the coach said.
Chile finished in second place in the Confederations Cup after losing to Germany 1-0.
Rueda recently toured Europe and Mexico to speak to Chilean soccer players on foreign teams.
The tour’s goal was to personally get to know them before releasing a list of players invited to the friendlies against Sweden and Denmark at the end of March, in which he will make his debut with the national team.