Published on May 26th, 2014 | by John Lyons1
Paredes returns in Chilean World Cup soap opera
Jorge Sampaoli seems determined to turn naming Chile’s final 23-man World Cup squad into a soap opera or television reality show.
The latest – and most bizarre – twist in the plot came when Sampaoli decided to recall Colo Colo striker Esteban Paredes – a player he had previously axed the week before.
After initially naming his provisional 30-man squad, the Chilean boss could have kept them all in camp until the June 2 cut-off point when he has to choose his final 23.
However, he quickly cut Paredes, Gustavo Canales and Enzo Andía. Then Matías Fernández left, albeit because of an ankle injury, to cut the squad to 26.
Later it was the turn of O´Higgins pair Paulo Garcés and Pedro Pablo Hernández, who was affected by a niggly injury, to bite the dust one after the other as Sampaoli wielded his axe yet again.
It meant just one player needed to go to make it 23, but, instead, Sampaoli has recalled Paredes, who was top scorer in the Clausura and scored for Colo Colo yesterday in their 2-1 Copa Chile win against Rangers in Coquimbo.
Who will be next to be evicted from the Chile World Cup house is open to question, but it can´t be doing anything for the players´ nerves. And Paredes has been to hell and back over the last week.
Perhaps the whole thing is a publicity stunt dreamt up by the Chilean Football Association, the ANFP.
Maybe the last episode will see the general public voting to decide who should be the final players discarded from the squad.
*Chile Under-21s had two men sent off and squandered a 3-1 lead against China to continue their disappointing Toulon Tournament.
Universidad de Chile´s Sebastián Martinez scored twice and Colo Colo´s Juan Delgado got the other for La Rojita.
However, Nicolás Castillo and Andrés Robles were both sent off for dissent as Chile let slip the chance to bag their first win.
Chile round off their Group A programme against Mexico tomorrow.
*Barnechea are on the brink of winning promotion to the Primera Division after a 1-0 play-off final first leg win at San Luis de Quillota.
Gonzalo Martín de Porras produced a superb finish to score the only goal just before half-time.
The second leg takes place at San Carlos de Apoquindo on Wednesday (7pm).