The Chilean National Team arrived in Venezuela on Monday after departing their training facilities in Cucuta, Colombia. With a match that could effectively eliminate Chile from contention for making it to Japan/Korea 2002 just a day away, coach Nelson Acosta has still not set his starting lineup.
The only position in question is at the one of the two holding midfielder's spots. Claudio Maldonado is set to start, but who will lineup up with him in the central midfield is not certain. The two players fighting for the opportunity are Fernando Cornejo and Jose Luis Sierra. The two have split the first-team practice time since Chile's loss to Bolivia, a game in which Cornejo started.
A pair of changes to the starting 11 have been decided on, however, one in the midfield and one in the defense. Javier Margas will reclaim his starting role at center back, pushing Pedro Reyes to the bench. Reyes was not very successful at bottling up the Bolivian attack last week.
Francisco Rojas will get the nod at the right midfielder's spot in front of Moises Villarroel, who also had a lackluster performance against Bolivia. Rojas can be a sparkplug on the midfield flank, and he provides good service to the forwards. He was with the team in France in 1998, starting all three first-round games but missing the second round due to suspension.
Acosta is not expected to make any other changes to his first team. Fabian Estay will start at the attacking midfield role again, keeping David Pizarro on the bench. Sebestain Rozental, likewise, held onto his starting spot ahead of Hector Tapia. Ivan Zamorano will, of course, take the other forward's spot, with Rodrigo Tello in the left midfield, Ricardo Rojas in the left defense, Ronald Fuentes in the right defense, and Nelson Tapia in the goal.