World Cup history
Best Result: 1962, semi-finals
Chile's participation at the World Cup began at the inaugural tournament, held in nearby Uruguay in 1930. La Roja enjoyed the perfect start, beating Mexico 3-0 and France 1-0. But a 3-1 loss to Argentina in the final group match ended Chile's campaign.
Chile's return to the World Cup would be 20 years in the making and it again finished in the group stage in Brazil in 1950. The Great Chilean earthquake in 1960, rated the world's highest recorded at 9.5 on the Richter scale, threatened the country's hopes of staging the 1962 World Cup. The show went on and the La Roja did the country proud, reaching the semi-finals before falling to Brazil 4-2 before a crowd of over 76,000.
Four subsequent visits to the World Cup (1966, '74, '82 and '98) have failed to excite, with a second round exit at France 1998 the best of the campaigns. South Africa 2010 marks Chile's return to the World Cup after a 12-year absence.
Road to the World Cup
Second in CONMEBOL qualifiers
Desperate to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998, Chile turned towards a proven coach in Marcelo Bielsa to guide them through the South America qualifiers. There was to be no dream start to Bielsa's time in charge, however, La Roja winning just one of their first four games.
Chile's fortunes turned around dramatically playing at altitude in La Paz, two Gary Medel goals locking up a 2-0 win over Bolivia. Success against Venezuela and Colombia followed before Brazil then Ecuador halted Chile's momentum. On August 15, 2008, everything was on the line when Chile hosted Argentina. A Fabian Orellana goal sent the country into a frenzy, the ensuing 1-0 win the first over their neighbour since 1973. Wins in Peru and Paraguay were to come before a thrilling 4-2 triumph over Colombia sealed Chile's ticket to South Africa.
Humberto Suazo- If Chile are to achieve anything at all in South Africa, this lethal marksman is sure to be at the forefront. Suazo collected 10 goals in the qualifiers, around a third of Chile's total goal tally.
Alexis Sanchez- So good he made his international debut at the tender age of 17, Sanchez is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in world football. The attacking midfielder, now playing with Udinese in Serie A, already has eight internationals goals to his name in 26 appearances. They don't call him the 'Wonder Boy' for nothing.
Stranger than fiction
Chile were prevented from taking part in the 1994 World Cup following one of the most bizarre incidents seen at international level. Down 1-0 in a 1990 World Cup qualifying match against Brazil, bloodied Chilean goalkeeper Roberto Rojas hit the ground claiming he'd been floored by a smoke bomb thrown by a fan. Chile demanded the game be called off. Fifa later ruled the 'blood' oozing from Rojas came from a capsule he had broken over himself. He was banned for life (but many years later was granted an amnesty).