With internationals in full swing, Venezuela defender Jose Velazquez is completely wary of the impact Alexis Sánchez can have for Chile.
The Arsenal star has 31 goals in his 91 international appearances, only two players have ever scored more for the South American nation and just one has won more caps.
However, after winning the Copa América in the summer and starting 2018 World Cup qualification strongly, Chile have lost their last two qualifiers and not won in three. The poor form has seen them drop down to sixth in the South American table, a place which wouldn’t see them progress to the tournament in Russia.
Nonetheless, they’re still rightly seen as a tough opponent.
“(The game) is quite difficult,” Velazquez said as he looked ahead to the match on Tuesday evening. “We are talking about the current champions of South America and they have very good players who can hurt you until the very last second.
“But we need to win.”
Venezuela are currently bottom of the South American group of 10 nations, having lost four of their five matches. They did pick up their first point of the campaign against Peru just a few days ago and have home advantage against La Roja, who badly need the points.
Velazquez is perhaps more confident than you’d imagine but that doesn’t mean he isn’t showing Chile and Alexis the respect they deserve.
“We must be very focused. Chile are a team that can make better use of details up front. People like Alexis Sánchez change a game in one second. So the defensive solidity can tip the balance.”