International Friendly Preview: Chile v Costa Rica
By Football News
Having each secured a FIFA World Cup spot, Costa Rica and Chile will begin their 2014 schedules with Wednesday's friendly clash in Coquimbo.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli and his Costa Rica counterpart Jorge Luis Pinto have named experimental squads for the fixture with a host of stellar names - particularly those from European clubs - not involved.
The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel will not play for the hosts, while Pinto is without Bryan Ruiz, Bryan Oviedo and Keylor Navas as the date does not fall on one officially allocated by FIFA.
As many as seven players could make their debut for Chile including Swedish-born left-back Miiko Albornoz, who has switched international allegiances despite 11 caps for Sweden Under-21s.
O'Higgins defensive midfielder Braulio Leal, with just six caps to his name, is hoping to take advantage of his inclusion, having been sent off late in Chile's 2-2 friendly draw with World Cup hosts Brazil in April last year.
He said: "Personally it is a major challenge, with a great desire to prove myself in training.
"We are here to. And that's the slogan that we all have after being included in this squad.
"We know that it is a major selection and there will be eyes on us. We obviously have to take this opportunity.
"While there is a consolidated team, there is always the chance of being in a World Cup.
"If there was no possibility, we would not be here playing in this game."
Chile lost just twice throughout 2013, but were especially impressive on home soil, winning all seven of their fixtures.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, struggled on their travels as they finished second in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying - picking up just three of their 18 points on the road.
They will be heartened by a good head-to-head record against Chile though, having won five of their previous 10 meetings.