Kobe (Japan) (AFP) – Chile coach Eduardo Berizzo says reports that they are set to replace Ecuador at the World Cup have “absolutely no impact” on his players despite a 2-0 defeat Friday to Qatar-bound Tunisia.
Reports this week said Ecuador are set to be kicked out of the November-December showpiece for fielding an ineligible player during qualification, with a ruling from FIFA expected soon.
FIFA has been investigating claims that defender Byron Castillo, who played in eight of Ecuador’s 18 qualifiers, was actually born in Colombia.
If FIFA rule against Ecuador it could open the door for Chile to play at the World Cup.
“Of course we’re watching carefully to see what FIFA’s decision is but nothing has been officially decided and I can’t make any comment,” the Argentine Berizzo said after his team were beaten by Tunisia in a friendly in Kobe, Japan.
“It has absolutely no impact on the atmosphere in the team and the work we are doing every day here. We look at it as something completely separate.”
This was Chile’s second defeat this week, having lost by the same scoreline to South Korea in Daejeon on Monday.
Chile are now in Japan playing in the four-team Kirin Cup tournament along with Tunisia, Japan and Ghana — all teams who qualified for the World Cup.
Berizzo urged his players to be ready for whatever decision FIFA makes.
“I’ve seen that all the players are fighting for their places, so these games have been very important for us,” he said.
“From now on, the players will go back to their clubs and I want them to keep up the level and the intensity that they’ve been playing with.”
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