The Colombian national team is already in Chilean territory and will play its second match of the 2026 World Cup qualification this Tuesday. The tricolor traveled with the entire group and will have the 26 players available to Néstor Lorenzo, which means three of them will see the game from the stands, as happened to Carlos Cuesta, Jhon Córdoba and Richard Ríos last Thursday in Barranquilla.
Those who won’t have the full group will be the locals, who continue to keep their fingers crossed for Alexis Sánchez’s recovery, while they have officially ruled out attacking midfielder Marcelino Núñez.
Back in Santiago, the Chilean medical team confirmed that it was a second-degree sprain, making Núñez ineligible for Tuesday’s game against Colombia and, to top it off, keeping him off the field for at least a month.
The 23-year-old player, who emerged from the Universidad Católica quarry, has been called up by coach Eduardo Berizzo and will travel to England in the next few hours to be examined by the medical service of his club playing in the second division of this country.
The truth is that the way Núñez left the field at the end of the game already suggested that his presence in the duel against Colombia would be very difficult.
Gary Medel, La Roja’s representative, mentioned in the mixed zone that his teammate was very affected by the incident. “(Marcelino) is very sad, his ankle is quite swollen, we will wait for the tests,” said the Chile team captain shortly after the 3-1 defeat against Uruguay.
The decisive test came a few minutes later when Marcelino Núñez left the Centenario Stadium on crutches, unable to even put his left leg on the ground.
Commitment to victory in Chile
This painful loss is like a bucket of cold water for Eduardo Berizzo’s coaching staff, who absolutely have to win if they want to convince the Chilean fans of their project.
After his fall in Uruguay, Berizzo tried to calm the situation by saying that both players would be available for the game against Colombia. “After the exams, (Alexis) needed a well-considered break, which is why he is not here. After that, it’s an option for Tuesday. It is not a sporting situation but a clinical one (…) This continues, Alexis will be available now, Arturo (Vidal) will be more available,” he explained.
Berizzo blamed the defeat in Montevideo on poor performances in their own field, which he assures they will have to remedy for Tuesday’s game. “Looking ahead to Tuesday, use the ball with fewer losses and have better attacking situations. “Take control of the ball and create more attacks than today,” he said.
The urgency to win is centered on the fact that Chile has failed to qualify for two World Cups in a row and fans’ patience is already on the verge of breaking down. “Renewal happens when you find people who have the capacity for that replacement. We are in this transition. “It doesn’t happen without games, without opportunities… We have to be patient with the young people who make it into the adult team,” he concluded.