Chilean Player Presentation: Defenders

2. Ismael Fuentes **

Date of Birth: 4 August, 1981 Height: 182 cm Weight: 79 kg Foot: Right Caps: 28 Goals: 1 Club: Universidad Católica

Ismael Fuentes is a local player that has a tendency to always be called up to play for the National team. He is definitely not bad, especially not in man-marking. He is tough to play against. Ismael played 8 games in the qualifying round and scoring one goal against Colombia. He may not be a starting player but he is close to being, so we will probably see him in the pitch at some time or other. He recently came back from a 5-year professional trip to Mexico, where he played for Jaguares and Atlas.

3. Waldo Ponce ***

Date of Birth: 4 December, 1982 Height: 183 cm Weight: 77 kg Foot: Right Caps: 25 Goals: 2 Club: Universidad Católica

A personal favorite, Ponce is a modern defender who can play anywhere in the defensive field. He is fast, has good passing skills and scores often at set pieces. Ponce played along Jara, most games as defender in the qualifying round, as many as 13 and scored one of his two goals in “La Roja” against Colombia. Ponce is a starting player, and will hopefully bring much happiness to us fans as he stops the other team’s attackers.

4. Mauricio Isla ***

Date of Birth: 12 June, 1988 Height: 176 cm Weight: 72 kg Foot: Right Caps: 12 Goals: 0 Club: Udinese (Italy)

Isla is the future of Chile, along with the rest of the players that won the bronze medal in the Under 20 World Cup in Canada in 2007. Italian club Udinese saw him and “wanted him at all costs”. Isla can play as either a defensive midfielder or as a defender, where he does both in his club. To prove his high level, Isla played 28 games as a starting player in the Serie A this season. In the qualifying round he only played 5 games and got sent off one time in the draw against Uruguay.

5. Pablo Contreras ***

Date of Birth: 11 September, 1978 Height: 181 cm Weight: 78 kg Foot: Right Caps: 51 Goals: 1 Club: PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece)

Pablo Contreras, one of Chile’s veterans is a full back playing as a regular starter in Greek Champions PAOK. Pablo has a lot of routine from high level football from his many years of European club football after he left Colo-Colo in 2000. Although he only played 5 games in the qualifying round, Bielsa will probably use him as a starting player in the three-man defense. The main reason for his absence is a 20-game suspension he was given after a brawl in Venezuela after a defeat in Copa America. What speak for him are his 51 caps for Chile, which most of all players in today’s team.

17. Gary Medel ***+

Date of Birth: 3 August, 1987 Height: 172 cm Weight: 71 kg Foot: Right Caps: 24 Goals: 3 Club: Boca Juniors (Argentina)

The Chilean “Pitbull” has despite his young age definitely made a mark of himself across Latin America. Medel is along Ponce a personal favorite, and they make a great team together. If Medel plays good in the World Cup, there will be many European clubs after him. He has been playing in Argentinean club Boca Juniors, who has had an awful season, but Medel being their best player. He played 28 games as a starter and scoring 7 goals. Just as Isla, Medel can play as a defender and as a defensive midfielder, because he is literally EVERYWHERE where the ball is. In the qualifying round, Medel played 12 games and scored twice in the 2-0 away win against Bolivia in difficult high altitude capital La Paz. Watch this goal. The “Pitbull” is going to South Africa to leave a mark, just watch.

18. Gonzalo Jara ***

Date of Birth: 29 August, 1985 Height: 178 cm Weight: 77 kg Foot: Right Caps: 34 Goals: 3 Club: West Bromwich Albion (England)

Gonzalo Jara is according to FIFA, a classy, elegant footballer known for his impressive aerial ability and calm reading of the game. During his debut season at hard playing W.B.A in English Championship league Jara played 20 games from start and scoring one goal until he unfortunately got injured. He did not play football in a period of three months until he made a comeback in the International friendly against Mexico which Chile lost 0-1. He also played in the wins against Israel and Zambia. In the qualifying round, Jara played an impressive 13 games and score twice, against Venezuela and Colombia. He will most likely be a starting player in the World Cup. Next season he will play in the highest quality English Premier League since his team W.B.A finished in 2nd place in the Coca-Cola Championship.

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